Good evening everyone! I am an Italian guy which graduated in computer science last April (cum laude, saying this just to give a bit of context). The day after the graduation, I began work interviews (10+ in total in two weeks) and I received contract proposals by each interviewer but one - so I can say I had some choices for my first real workplace.
I finally choose a small startup-like unit which is property of a big consultancy holding (4500+ employees). This unit is in charge of maintaining a big web application, which is then customized and sold to big clients.
This units is composed 3 full-time developers (I am the fourth), a (project) manager, a community-manager-like figure, and two peoples managing the economic side of everything.
We are paid daily, and no overtime is accounted, ever. The reason for this is because there is a "flexible timetable", so enter and exit from the building are not registered. In the end this means that everyone works at least 20-30 mins free each day (not only in my unit). I am fine with that.
My real problem is that my colleagues almost never stop working. They come to the office, sometimes don't even eat (or eat a sandwich in front of the computer), work until 6.30-7pm, then go home and work from home till night. They also work 6-9 hours in the weekend. This is because we have absurd deadlines set by the manager, which does this in order to "win" clients.
My biggest concern is that colleagues (who also are nice guys - and taught me a lot these two months) don't question this way of managing things; in fact they say things like "this is the world of consultancy", "you have to do this as a form of responsibility" etc. I think they don't do this because whey are "workaholics", but because they feel compelled to. For me this way of reasoning is absurd: I DO want to work and I am not trying to make excuses in order to do less than required (in fact I usually do 8.50-6.30 with less than an hour lunch, and try to be productive to the maximum, even if I am still a newbie), but I value my free time a lot and in no way I want to sacrifice it systematically if it's not strictly required by a contingency.
I'd think every person in the world would value his/her free time a lot, but evidently for my colleagues it's not like that. I am afraid that this difference in mindsets will soon compromise my situation and the way they see me. For example, I've been moved to another project recently, and one of my colleagues, when we were making a quick daily report today, asked me if I could "finish things in the evening". I didn't know what to answer.
What would you do? I feel pressured by the situation.