I work in a team of 4 developers. The other 3 developers all work from home outside normal working hours occasionally. One of them does it all the time. A few days ago I saw his commit activity from 7pm-12am. The day after, he messaged me at 7am asking me to sync up (I wake up at 8am). He worked all day on Christmas.

A couple of months ago they were on a different project (I wasn't on it) and apparently they were forced to work weekends.

On Friday evening the project manager sent out an email asking for some work to be done, and he setup a meeting tuesday to go over it. Since there are no working hours between the email and the meeting tuesday (monday is a holiday), it sounds to me that he's implicitly asking us to work over this weekend.

To me, this is insane. I have a life outside work, and hobbies I take seriously. The last thing I want to do when I get home is get back in front of a computer.

With that being said, I do love my job, and I'm pretty good at it. I can't see myself working as anything else. But I hate the idea of working outside working hours. Work life balance is very important to me.

I've never gotten a negative feedback about my working hours, but I feel that I look bad in comparison to them. Our company is understaffed at the moment but that's management's fault for laying off a bunch of people last year (because we had a bad year but that turned around quickly -- we now have more work than we can handle), and scaring away a bunch of others. On top of that, there will be no bonuses this year.

How to deal with this?


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    Your question will need a clearer goal than "how to deal with this". Not all jobs involve overtime, and in many organisations you can push back against the idea, but you'd have to tell us what exactly you are hoping to acomplish. – Erik Jan 14 '18 at 19:56
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    If you don't want to work overtime, don't work overtime. It doesn't sound like not working overtime has had any negative repercussions for you, so I don't really see the problem here. There might be a risk of looking bad in comparison, but there isn't anything we can do about your coworkers working overtime. – Bernhard Barker Jan 14 '18 at 20:23

How to deal with this?

(Assuming that the overtime isn't contractually agreed) - To start with, I'd advise that you don't check your emails outside of office hours, and you don't assume that you're being asked to work weekends / holidays. If management then confronts you at any point because you haven't worked over the weekend, you can then very clearly state this isn't an option:

I'm afraid that I won't be able to work any overtime - I have various other commitments that mean this isn't possible.

You don't need to give any more reasons than this.

If management start pushing back or otherwise start getting aggressive over your stance, it really is time to at least brush up your CV. A company that works its employees into the ground, has already laid a bunch of good people off and "scares off" otherwise competent employees is not one where I'd advise basing long-term employment prospects, even if you currently enjoy your job.


In the US (you don't say where) the DOL says:

An employer who requires or permits an employee to work overtime is generally required to pay the employee premium pay for such overtime work. Employees covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek of at least one and one-half times their regular rates of pay. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime hours are worked on such days.

The FLSA, with some exceptions, requires bonus payments to be included as part of an employee's regular rate of pay in computing overtime.

Extra pay for working weekends or nights is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee's representative). The FLSA does not require extra pay for weekend or night work or double time pay.

So the employer can ask but must pay if you exceed 40 hours.

The employer also determines bonuses, promotions, and employment.

You probably would be best off to approach the management and enquire about their feelings on the subject. Maybe they have plenty of eager volunteers and don't need everyone to pitch in, maybe they are behind and wish you could do more.

I've flat out refused on the basis that HR was wondering if they'd pay OT and I wasn't interested in going down the same road again. The supervisor wasn't terribly pleased but understood that I had been up to HR about my pay a few times and that they had burnt their bridge; also that I was better and faster than the alternatives; and underpaid.

Weight yourself carefully and know where everyone stands.

  • That only applies to hourly workers generally. – Joe W Jan 15 '18 at 3:56
  • @Joe W - Yes, depending upon country and contract. The advice that it would be a good idea to speak with the management about their expectations is valid anywhere, as is the advice that "the employer also determines bonuses, promotions, and employment". --- It's lousy to work too much and worse to work for free, the topper being that there is a group of people whom do the boss's bidding whatever the circumstances. -- If the OP wants the best for his future he needs to determine his course of action. Can't compete with charity, easier to find better circumstances (company/occupation/country). – Rob Jan 15 '18 at 9:05
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    It applies to non-exempt workers to be precise. – mkennedy Jan 15 '18 at 19:28

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