Family, I will like to take a little time to encourage each other.
- Family:- Parents & Children Relationship
- Family:- Breadwinner – Through The Prism of LinkedIn
The Workplace ( workplace.stackexchange.com )
Some coworkers are committing to work overtime for a 1% bonus. How can I best opt out of this?
I’m part of a massive death march project that really seems unlikely to be finished in shorter than six months. The company has announced a 1% bonus for everyone if this particular project is completed by the end of the year. Most of the people in this project seem on board with trying to accomplish this, and they’re setting our work schedule. They’re going off the expectation that everyone can go from working 9-5 to 7-7 every work day and take zero PTO other than the Thursday for Thanksgiving, and they’re also talking about scheduling stuff on Saturdays and Sundays. The schedule of tasks does rely on me for around 25-30%.
I don’t want to participate for several reasons, like having other stuff to do outside of work, the 1% bonus not being enough, and frankly I don’t believe that we’ll get the project done like this. But this seems to not be a common viewpoint among the rest of the team. I feel certain that if I follow their schedule I’ll burn out. How should I proceed?
Counting this week, there are nine weeks left in this calendar year. Six months’ worth of work is approximately 960 work hours. Spread that over nine weeks, and you’d need to work 106 hours a week, or 15 hours a day (including weekends). Four extra hours a day isn’t going to cut it.
Spoiler alert: the project won’t get finished, there won’t be any bonus, and all of your families’ holidays will be ruined for nothing.
I would tell my manager that while I don’t mind working a bit of overtime occasionally, the current request is far beyond what you consider reasonable and won’t significantly increase your output over the time period. Do the best you can for the rest of the year but don’t burn yourself out. This is the textbook definition of “poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”. Your boss isn’t going to fire you before the end of the year if, as you said, 25-30% of the work relies on you because that would guarantee that the project fails. Spend the next two months finding a new position with a company that treats their employees better and jump ship as soon as you get a chance. It doesn’t sound like there are many options for salvaging your current situation, or that it’s worth salvaging at all.
You do actually have a lot of leverage here, if you have the intestinal fortitude to follow through. Your resignation would mean the project is clearly beyond impossible for the remaining team to finish regardless of overtime. Your boss can accept that you’ll work the normal hours that were agreed upon, or you can walk and let your boss explain to upper management how he drove off a critical resource and caused a project to fail. A manager willing to work you that hard already doesn’t care about you at all, so don’t waste energy trying to keep them happy with you. There’s a risk that they fire you after the deadline but since it’s essentially impossible to meet the target at this point, there’s still that risk even if you did work yourself to death. Hopefully, you’ll have started your new job long before it gets to that point.
Also, you didn’t mention where specifically you are but, in many places, PTO is considered part of your compensation. If your PTO expires at the end of the year and your employer suddenly tries to prevent you from using it without adequate warning, you may have grounds to sue them for denying you compensation. That particular part of the issue would likely be a better as a question for law.stackexchange.com.
“Also, you didn’t mention where specifically you are but, in many places, PTO is considered part of your compensation. If your PTO expires at the end of the year and your employer suddenly tries to prevent you from using it without adequate warning, you may have grounds to sue them for denying you compensation.” Assuming that a workplace like this isn’t trying for the scam that is “unlimited time off”.
The OP will also need to understand and accept that their leaving will likely be pointed to as a major factor of why the project ultimately failed. The company will look for excuses and they need to be prepared to handle being thrown under the proverbial bus like this.
So long, @spuck, as the OP already has a new job lined up, being thrown under the bus is irrelevant. Most places I’ve ever worked, current shortcomings and failures are always blamed on the most recently departed employee, whether he had anything to do with it or not. It’s just easier to blame someone who can’t defend himself than accept responsibility for something… –
FreeMan – Nov 1 at 15:42
Sad I can only upvote this once. So many up-worthy points…G. Ann – SonarSource Team – Nov 1 at 15:54
Nov 1 at 16:37
Nov 1 at 17:11
My concern is that Project Management will expect this kind of effort for all future projects. The Project Management needs to learn from this fiasco and reschedule or replan. –
Nov 1 at 18:27
@HannoverFist Part of a manager’s job is to ensure that the team’s bus factor remains sufficiently high. Claiming that one employee’s departure doomed the project would be admitting that they failed to plan for one of the most common and predictable types of team problems. The manager would have to explain why he let one person be a single point of failure for such a large portion of the project, plus why he hasn’t staffed, equipped, or cross-trained the team to be able to handle a single person’s absence.
Nov 1 at 21:51
@HannoverFist don’t worry, there is standardised language to lay blame on someone you want to get rid of. “Lack of team spirit”, “not committed to the company”, etc. etc.. And HR will happily work out the termination paperwork and come up with more fake narratives to convince any agency needing to approve it. –
Nov 2 at 4:07
If 25-30% of the work relies on the questioner, then they are probably greatly underpaid. Unfortunately this time of year isn’t great for job hunting, but being ready for January doesn’t hurt.
Nov 2 at 12:01
There is a very good way to deal with things like this when you are being asked for Additional hours that are unreasonable:
“Sure – can you let me know what Cost Centre I can bill my Overtime Hours to, to complete this project?”
If they (invariably) say that your contract doesn’t allow Overtime or that there is no cost centre – then at that point, you advise them that you are not a charity and don’t work for Free and you will be finishing at your normal time.
If they raise a big stink, point out that a 1% annual bonus is not guaranteed, even if everyone was onboard with completing the project and that 1% is likely to be a far smaller amount than the compensation you’d get from OT rates at 4 hours a day for the next 2 months.
I’m not 100% sure on what your labour laws are like in your area, but I imagine that asking all employees to increase their work hours by 50% for several months with no increase in remuneration would not be considered reasonable for a Salaried employee.
A big part of the problem is if you don’t work the hours, and the project fails, people are going to point to you as why it failed.
If you are like most normal people, then spending extra hours actually decreases your efficiency: you’re tired, you make mistakes, and the next day, you have to spend the morning fixing those mistakes. Which is repeated each day, with less actual progress as the team gets more tired. And all that for a negligible chance at an insult of a bonus. (Because, it sounds like if you don’t make that goal, you don’t even get the bonus for all that work.)
Like others have said, I would tell your team you have appointments* after work that can’t be changed, and things in the morning as well. That they should contact you if there are show stoppers where you are needed, but you won’t be able to do that schedule except in rare cases. And then, work well and efficiently when you are at work. If possible, make it so you’re the one who is actually making the best progress, because you’re not wasting half of each productive day fixing the errors from the day before. And make your progress be very visible, so it’s obvious that the well-rested employee is the better employee.
*A date with your tv and couch is still an important appointment.
Title:- Just…don’t commit to the crazy hours.
Just…don’t commit to the crazy hours.
The work that needs to get done before the end of the year is a major crunch for the company. I totally get that leadership would want people to work a bit more to have a chance at success, but the reality is that you need to have a work-life balance associated with this.
Make your assessment clear to the business that you can’t commit to these hours. No need to delve into specifics, but state that you have other commitments outside of work and you would like to maintain a healthy work-life balance during this project.
What I’ll say next is that they could look to terminate you, since there’s probably a clause in your working agreement that stipulates that you could be asked to work overtime without compensation, but it’s really up to you if that’s worth it – having a job but working insane hours vs needing to find a job and working better hours.
then at that point, you advise them that you are not a charity and don’t work for Free and you will be finishing at your normal time. –> this doesnt work. Companies where overtime is the way of life, you will face a lot of weird looks from the team. –
Nov 1 at 8:17
Nov 1 at 8:44
Nov 1 at 11:45
The compensation would definitely be less than OT pay. At most, yearly rate is 2080x hourly rate, so 1% bonus is at most 20.8x hourly rate. OT at 4 hours extra a day is already 20 hours over in 1 week, assuming 1x OT pay. This is the most conservative reasonable estimate, and it has 1 week of overtime just under 1% yearly rate. –
Nov 1 at 11:46
Nov 1 at 12:42
Nov 1 at 13:24
I don’t think agreeing to such an overtime request would be a good idea even if management is willing to pay you every single hour of overtime at say 150% your usual hourly rate. They are trying to go from 40 hours a week to somewhere between 60 and 80 hours a week with zero time off for 2 months. That is not ok regardless of how much they are offering to pay. –
Nov 1 at 18:36
@ParkerCoates – whilst I agree that there’s differences in personal situations. The Majority of questions in here are focused on those of us in the Corporate world. –
Nov 1 at 18:51
I can’t tell how serious this answer is meant to be. While I’d agree with trying to communicate the general gist of what’s recommended here (but a lot more gently), if one says exactly what’s recommended here, I can’t imagine many employers where you’d still have your job by the end of the day. If your employer is treating you poorly, politely decline requests that ask too much, find another job and resign professionally. All that being passive aggressive achieves is to give you a momentary nice feeling, while making your situation worse in basically every other way. –
Nov 2 at 10:02
@ParkerCoates “the majority of questions … lack the critical detail of how desperately the asker needs the job” – it’s perfectly reasonable to tell the asker what options they have, and the pros and cons associated with each of those. It’s much less reasonable to expect to know the exact priorities of some random person on the internet (regardless of how much information they put into their one post), to be able to know which option is best for them. (They did, however, ask how to opt out, so it seems reasonable to point out the cons of that specifically.) –
Nov 2 at 10:13
Asking salaried employees (aka exempt employees) to work beyond 40 hours per week without extra compensation is standard operating procedure in the US. “Exempt” means the employer is exempt from paying overtime. Some employers abuse this concept and expect their exempt employees to work 60 hours per week (or more), year round. There is no “Cost Centre” to be queried. (In the US, we would call it a “Cost Center”.) –
Nov 2 at 11:07
-1. Literally nothing in this answer is relevant to an exempt (aka salaried) employee in the US –
Nov 2 at 17:33
It’s really terrible idea except you’re honestly willing to work overtime for the same rate as normal working hours. Normally overtime is paid 50% or 100% more. –
Nov 3 at 14:54
C Teegarden & V2Blast
Answered:- C Teegarden
Title:- Do the Minimum Overtime and Get Out!
Been there, done that but without even the teaser of a bonus. This is always a major sign of a badly run business that has absolutely no problems taking it out on their employees.
This is a situation to run from, not stay and endure. There are many, many other companies that are much better run than this. Find one and go to work for them. Many will emphasize work/life balance as part of the description of their culture.
In the meantime, put in as little overtime as you can manage without standing out too much. That hopefully means you are able to “work from home” outside of core hours.
This is the tail end of one of the hiring seasons for workers so hopefully something will come up quickly.
Answered:- Tony Ennis
Tell your boss you’re not doing it, and that they can of course keep the 1% bonus.
And you don’t have to justify why you aren’t doing it. You aren’t a serf or a servant.
It really is that easy.
JosephDoggie & Andrew Leach
Edited:- Andrew Leach
The answer to your question depends on several variables, such as whether you are hourly or salaried, union or non-union, location, culture, company culture, etc.
The plain truth is both management and your co-workers expect you to work the extra hours.
The best way to deal with this, if you decide to do otherwise, is ignore it and wait till someone approaches you.
If someone approaches you, you essentially have three options
- work the extra hours
- find a new job (I’d keep current one until then)
- hope that you are an ‘all-star’ who they won’t let go, even if you aren’t doing the extra hours.
Note: In the case of (3) there will be resentment, no matter what.
The exception would be if you have some obvious life-critical situation such as cancer in the immediate family, but apart from that, you will experience resentment.
To me, work-life balance is important, and it is with sadness that I give this answer.
Where I currently work, work-life balance is good, but this is the exception, not the rule.
My other answer would be “I wish I knew.”
I am used to accessing Stack Exchange for technical Q/A.
But, here I was perplexed by a technical problem.
As I read a Q/A post, one of the “Hot Questions” is the one shared here.
Always in dedication to the ones that matter.
Jeff Atwood & Joel Spolsky.
Sharing here as those who were bruised, bandaged, and nursing the pain.
Believing in him, “who is able to“.