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Long hours - good money - but at what cost!!!
The Working Week: Do We Work Too Many Hours?
Member Name: stebiz
The Working Week: Do We Work Too Many Hours?
Advantages: Loads of money
Disadvantages: No family life
This is quite a difficult topic to cover, for the simple reason, I am self employed. But I'll share some of my views and maybe they will be of some help to a few of 'my friends' on dooyoo.
When I was young I hardly saw my Father. He would be up at 6am (before I got up) and back at 8pm (after I went to bed) and I must say I did miss him. He also worked Saturday mornings. So really until I got a bit older and could see him of an evening, I saw very little of him, when I was growing up. That didn't make him a bad Dad. Far from it. He always made sure that I had food on the table, clothes (although nothing like the kids have today), and an annual holiday - often down in Devon but later in my teenage years we travelled to France. All day Sunday he would help me with my school work.
Fast forward to the mid nineties. I was self employed with my own office, and I got married. I would be in work at 8am and would often leave at 8pm, usually popping into the pub on the way home. I had the odd few moans from my new wife, but I was earning well, and I think the few holidays abroad helped colour her judgement as to whether she should moan too much! I would also work Saturday mornings and the rest of the weekend would be our time.
Before long a little stebiz came on the horizon and I continued in the way I had previously. My wife started working part time and I thought all was going well. My working hours never changed and I would often get home after the baby was fast asleep. A couple of years later little Stebiz had a sister, and I continued in the way I had previously. Good holidays. Good money, but to be honest not really a family life. I'm not sure if this is what I felt it should be like, due to the way I was brought up.
When the oldest Stebiz was 6, the business was struggling a bit. Long hours but little reward. Nothing worse than having to work long hours but still not being able to offer the family the 'extras' that I had happily provided previously. I started to get a bit depressed with it all, and when I was offered a great job for a Blue Chip company I decided it was time to shut up the office, and go and work for them.
With this new job came new problems. It was working shifts. I had to be available 24/7, and my time off was usually when the children were at school (yes times move on quick). I still did my own self employment work to get extra money for the family, so 70 hours a week was not uncommon. In 2005, the latest little Stebiz arrived, and I was determined that things would change. I had a word with work and I was allowed to do family working hours, but this caused resentment with a lot of single guys at work, who were then forced to do the later shifts. They weren't nasty about it, but I did feel guilty.
In 2007, a mixture of hard work and guilt, as well as extra pressure at work caused Stebiz to nearly have a breakdown. I was laid up for weeks. Couldn't move. Didn't want to move. Didn't care. Put on weight. Lost weight. Shaking. Palpitations. You name it. I had it. If it wasn't for the care of my lovely wife, and the thought I had 3 young children, I'm sure I'd have done something really silly!!
Over the months I gradually became better, my nerves settled. I actually started to do some work at home. But I could never go back to the rat race that was involved in the workplace. I was happy to drop my kids off at school. Do some housework. Make the tea from time to time. Be there to help the children with their homework. Okay I was missing a lot of cash from my job, but hey that isn't everything in life. I had started to realise just that. Money was certainly tighter. I still worked a lot of hours, usually through the day when they were at school, and of a night when they were asleep. Money was picking up quite nicely.
So today I now I myself having a great balance with work. Long hours yes, but working in the comfort of my own home. Breaks when I like. Seeing the children grow up. Being there to help them, and basically working what hours I wish. The children and wife understand that if I am not working I'm not earning, but money in our house isn't everything now. Okay we don't go abroad 3 times a year now, but this year we might make it twice. We have a lovely holiday planned for Disneyland. My other daughters have holidays planned with the school.
For those who are reading this and are away from home all the time, working long hours. If you have young children, they need you. You can't turn the clocks back when they are older. Enjoy the time with them now, and try and get a nice balance!!
Thanks for reading.
Summary: Can you put a price on time without your family!!