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I have recently joined an organization. Like every other organization, we also have nine working hours a day. But ever since I have joined, my manager wants me to stay late and work extra hours in office. I don't see any reason to do so as my project has not yet started.

It takes me more than one and a half hours to reach home/office, sometimes two hours when the traffic is worse. I do not even take regular coffee breaks, just a one hour lunch break. For the rest of the eight hours, I spend at my desk doing my work. No Facebook, no Twitter, nothing else.

Still he wants me to spend extra hours in office. On top of that, he also suggested I rent a home near by the office. Why would I do that? I am a native in the city. I have my own home and a family.

I asked him so many times why he wants me to spend extra hours. He always says he has seen some spark in me.

He is a from sales background whereas I am a developer. By listening to his ideas about new projects and applications, it clearly shows that he has no idea about how software development works. I don't know how to handle him now and I feel like I am stuck here in this company.

I am not being paid for working extra and my manager knows that I have to travel for more than one and half hours to reach my home/office.

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    Would this additional time be paid? Does your supervisor know you are settled in your current home? Update your question. – Donald Oct 26 '18 at 11:25
  • Are you working at Rockstar? can you say that your "spark" is the ability to not work OT when it's not needed? – SZCZERZO KŁY Oct 26 '18 at 11:40
  • Side note, moving closer to work can be a reasonable investment. You have to calculate time spent on commute, wear and tear of your vehicle, the free time that you lose, and the stress that goes with it, to see if it makes sense for you. In some places you can rent a place Monday to Friday only. – rath Oct 26 '18 at 12:09
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    @rath I have my own house in the town. Why should I be renting a home? And that too for 5 days a week. And anyway, you cannot rent a place for just 5 days a week in India. You have to stay in some hotel then. Which is again an extra expense. – Lokesh Oct 26 '18 at 12:13
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    @Lokesh You have to set your priorities. Maybe having your own house is that, and that's good. But spending 1.5-2 hours per way (3-4 hours per day) on commuting must seriously affect your quality of life. Do you really think this is a long-term viable solution? Those 3-4 hours are not paid, and since you are not working them, they will also not be rewarded in a bonus (or raise, or ...). – Wilbert Oct 26 '18 at 13:56
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There’s an old wisdom: You can make people stay in the office for 80 hours a week, but you can’t make them work more than 40 hours a week.

It is also well known that working more than 40 hours a week regularly makes your productivity drop. Not your hourly productivity but your absolute productivity.

So if you did what your manager wanted, he wouldn’t get more work from you, it would only make you exhausted, unhappy and possibly ill. And nobody will think any better of you, and nobody will thank you for it. (I suppose being paid for the extra hours wasn’t mentioned, right ?) If he works long hours himself, he should try doing the same work in less time.

It seems you are working hard for forty hours a week. Your manager isn’t going to get more, no matter what he tries. What he tries is totally misguided.

I’d say when he comes again, you can tell him that you like your home and you’re not going to move, and that you are most productive working 40 hours a week. Make no concessions. Just a clear no that doesn’t leave room for discussion.

And don't say things like "If it is urgent, I can stay late". IF things get urgent, then you can make your decision, on a case-by-case basis. But until that point, you work your hours and no more.

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  • i'm sorry for the dv, but i don't believe the "more than 40 hours and your productivity drops", i've never seen any real peer-reviewed study on this. the number seems so arbitrary - it's exactly 40 hours? Australia has an average of 32.5 hours/week stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?DataSetCode=ANHRS, but it's productivity/gdp is much higher than the UK, although the UK works harder ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/… There is so much more to productivity, including passion, intelligence, training, management, tools – bharal Oct 28 '18 at 17:38
  • but everyone in IT screams about how they just cannot work more than 40 hours because of a book that was written decades ago in effectively the nascent stages of the programming industry. Someone at some stage is going to mention a study done in the 1920s or something about factory workers and Henry Ford and use that as a rationale... but honestly, I don't think that a study done a century ago looking at an entirely different industry and style of work is applicable. To me, the argument sucks, and it needs to be re-examined. We're just misdirecting tech managers – bharal Oct 28 '18 at 17:40
  • So we're not getting managers to think about energizing their staff, or making the work more intellectually curious, or automating the grunt work (something that UK managers are terrible at, and which I suspect is why UKs productivity is so bad). Instead legions of IT managers are running around thinking that as long as the staff are working 40 hours, well, that's maximum capacity there you go QED. It's bad, it's bad for the industry, it's bad for the staff, it is all round bad. – bharal Oct 28 '18 at 17:46
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If you have unfinished or urgent work it makes sense to stay late hours but as your project is not even started it doesn't. Be firm and let him know that you are not willing to stay late hours unless he clearly says what he expects you to do. Let him know that it is not possible for you to stay late hours every day unless it's urgent because it takes a long time to travel. Also let him know that you can't relocate as you have a family life.

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    I already told him that if there is any urgency I can stay up late. He agrees with me for that time but again after few days, he starts the same thing. As far as relocation is concerned, he keeps on suggesting me flexible working hours. Work for 2 days at home and 3 days rent a room and all. I am just wondering why does he want me to stay up late? – Lokesh Oct 26 '18 at 12:15
  • What if you keep mentioning your reasoning repeatedly until he realize that you won't change your mind? – PrasadeeJ Oct 26 '18 at 12:36
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    Why? Possibly little-man-syndrome: Because he is short (or has other problems) he needs to show you his power. Or he thinks he can get more work out if you by squeezing you like a lemon. Be strong. Say no. – gnasher729 Oct 26 '18 at 12:48
  • @gnasher729 exactly. if you give in once you will have to do it everyday. so don't give in and be strong and say no – PrasadeeJ Oct 26 '18 at 12:51
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I'm not sure what you're asking, so my guess is "should I, Wilbert, work more hours or not, and if so, how to reconcile this with the fact I already spend ~20hours a week travelling?"

First, yes, you should consider working more hours. As long as those hours are letting you learn new things that will make you more valuable in the future. So, extra hours filling in the test report, or wrangling xml? No. Extra hours working on designing/prototyping a new product? Yes. Even better would be extra hours helping the biz guy research new projects.

The reason for this is you always need to be learning new things and don't just learn new IT things because that's not as useful as learning complementary skills (but of course, learning anything >> learning nothing).

The other question you raise is your ridiculous travel requirements. You're spending 20 hours a week just going to and from work, that's far too much. Your boss is correct, you should consider getting someplace nearer, because it's just a waste of your life to drive a car or sleep on a bus for 20 hours a week. You could be learning new things in that time!

Can you arrange to come into work earlier and leave earlier, or come in later and leave later? Would a change in drive time change the commute?

Can you consider getting a place around the corner 3-4 days a week, as long as work pays you for the extra hours that you'll work (which, incidentally, would be 9-12 hours), or at least partway covers it? That will make your life a little easier.

Finally, you shouldn't be sitting 8 hours a day, it's really not healthy. Get up and take a coffee break and a snack break - try and walk for a block of 20 minutes every 2-3 hours! Otherwise you're just going to cause problems down the road.

Also, just because you work 8 hours isn't great in and of itself - its really about the revenue you help bring the company. Never say "i sit 8 hours a day", say "i helped the company make a million dollars", and if you cannot work out how to say that then rethink your job to enable you to do so.

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Concerning the renting nearby- He could be commenting on your commute time and trying to be sympathetic. But I think he is testing your boundaries and attempting to set precedents. For example, if you live closer to work then you can work an extra hour in the office versus needing that hour to commute home. All things considered- can he provide any other reason for you to stay closer other than to shorten the commute? I think he wants you to spend that extra time "saved" in the office.

While it is true that you don't have a project now- he expects you to stay late. I suspect he will also expect you to stay late once the projects are rolling, and the deadlines approaching. You can either fold and accept the precedents or you can set the boundaries now and insist on working 9-hour days.

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Based on my experience, this sounds a little like your manager would like to have someone who he can rely on to take his wild ideas and run with them. There could be an unspoken history or internal politicking taking place that you are not aware of, which may be driving him in this direction.

Maybe he thinks he can make a big name for himself by implementing his ideas but upper management will not allow him the resources to freely do it. If he can get someone to work outside the regular bounds of the workday, maybe he could make use of them for his ends. He assumes this would help his ideas come to life and solidify him as a rock star in the company.

He keeps hinting that he would like you to be that person and if you lived closer and gave more time freely, that would signal in his mind, that you are going to be his go-to person.

Given that you have stated that he doesn't have a strong grasp on what is feasible/realistic that following his suggestions would be problematic and would not align with your goals or work-life balance.

Maintain your boundaries and remain respectful until it interferes with your ability to work or how your boss treats you compared to other employees.

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