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Does anyone also feel like they should stay extra hours at work or feel bad if leave on time while others are still there? I don't have a shift sheet to fill or any control of my arrivals/departure at work. My bosses told me I'm doing 9am to 6pm and that they want us to have a life outside work. It's not the office culture to do extra but I'm always the first one to leave at 6pm sharp.

I feel bad about going home at 6pm even if I finished everything for the day or if there isn't any urgency that can be postponed.

Also I am one of the first people to arrive everyday at 9am while they are usually late.

Does anyone feel like that also? Should I ask them for feedback/how to do that without sounding suspicious and guilty or insecure?

Can it be a bad thing to leave on time, career wise?

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    Asking "does anybody feel that also" is off-topic. You should focus on an actionable question with a goal, like how/if to ask for feedback on that or if there are any downsides to leaving on time. (That is, I suggest you remove the off-topic questions and leave the on-topic you have and perhaps enhance it) – DarkCygnus Oct 2 at 23:58
  • What is it that you do? – AsheraH Oct 3 at 4:52
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    I'm surprised by the working hours, to me having life outside work would be to work earlier and have more time after work. Well you say you are one of the first ones to arrive, so isn't it obvious you also are one of the first ones to leave? You could arrive later one day and work longer, then you will quickly have a picture of when others leave. – puck Oct 3 at 7:55
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    I would say, on the (hopefully very rare) occasions when there are real crises, it is always appreciated when people stick around until the problem is fixed. Your manager is unlikely to be happy to hear "I came in early" when you walk out the door with fires burning all around you. That said, if there are such crises every week, there is something seriously wrong with your workplace. – Joe Stevens Oct 3 at 10:11
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    If you're paid hourly, you may not be allowed to work beyond your shift no matter what as this costs the company OT pay. – pboss3010 Oct 3 at 12:56
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Does anyone also feel like they should stay extra hours at work or feel bad if leave on the time and others are still there?

When I first started my professional career, I used to feel that way.

I was in a carpool, and had to leave in order to get a ride home. Most of my co-workers were still working.

Eventually, I learned not to measure myself based on what others do or don't do.

That said, after a few years I decided I wanted to get ahead quicker. I stopped using the carpool, I put more effort into work and typically stayed later. Further on in my career I always got in early, often stayed late, and often worked extra from home. I enjoyed my work a lot.

Over my career I averaged a 50+ hour week. In the early years it was less. In the later years, more.

I wouldn't suggest that everyone needs to do that. But it worked out great for me.

We each need to find our own way, without regard to what others do.

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    "We each need to find our own way, without regard to what others do" & "..I learned not to measure myself based on what others do or don't do." - This answers really hits the nail on the head.. – iLuvLogix Oct 3 at 8:55
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Can it be a bad thing to leave on time, career wise?

This is entirely dependant on the company.

I've worked in places where if you left on time you would be considered "not a team player". I've also heard from friends places where it was almost like a race every day to see who left last as if they were hoping to get a pat on the head from management.

Current place I work is extremely flexible and no one is watching you.

It varies.

Some places will expect you to be "dedicated" others will have "work-life balance".

I've found the shallower and more narrow-minded the workplace (and boss - especially more so if they are not from an engineering background) the more they will expect you to stay longer hours (especially if they are paying you a lot of money). In these places you will need to go with the status quo and if you are unhappy look for another place to work.

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    That's true, I guess it all depends on the company settings and culture. – Itsmeisa Oct 3 at 0:35
  • I was told on my interview (and so did my friend this same week when applying) that they want us to have a life and they also opt for hiring more people because they don't want anyone to stay later. The Juniors stay because they work in a separate room and keep chatting (and they are from a different sector which has more volume of work to do also). I've worked in a place where extra hours were the rule of thumb and the more you sacrificed the better. I guess I'm a bit traumatized by that. I'm not sure about how to ask for feedback tho – Itsmeisa Oct 3 at 0:37
  • @Itsmeisa true. Workplaces can be a mental minefield especially after you've been in toxic ones. – solarflare Oct 3 at 2:28
  • "If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late.” - Vince Lombardi. However, I doubt you are a NFL football player :) – Keltari Oct 29 at 10:01
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Also I am one of the first people to arrive everyday at 9am while they are usually late.

Well, there you go. They are arriving later and staying later. You are arriving earlier and leaving earlier. You're working the same amount of hours. Why would you feel bad leaving earlier when you started earlier? Makes no sense.

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If you want feedback on the impact of leaving early, I would suggest you talk to your colleagues to see what their thoughts and ideas are. Chances are there will be a couple of stories about some people who leave early and the potential condition of their careers now.

People stay back because there is a culture of staying back. This could be because of your boss or because a colleague wants to get a promotion, or because there is a correlation with people leaving early and them being fired, etc etc. Your boss seems to want to support a work-life balance so this could just be a result of a previous employee or manager who enforced this policy.

Talk to your colleagues because chances are, there is a reason they stay back. Even if it is as trivial as "I stay back because I don't want to look bad".

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Sounds to me like this is a company that might have a "flexible working hours" policy, where they don't care so much about when you get there and when you leave, as long as you put the hours in. You get there earlier, you get to leave earlier - get there at 9am, leave at 6pm; get there at 10am, leave at 7pm; get there at 7am, leave at 4pm.

You can check this by consulting your contract and/or company handbook; if it doesn't say anything about it, you can bring it up with your boss to check whether or not this is actually the case. If it is, you have nothing to worry about, and nothing to feel guilty about, either. It's just the system working as intended.

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