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RetroGamer87
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03 Jun 2015, 9:16 am

I've been in my job since the beginning of the year. At the moment I'm working 5.5 hours per day, Monday to Friday. which is not a large amount. But I've been worried about something. I worry than when I enter the workforce proper (instead of just being a junior) in either the same job I'm in now or a different job (maybe programming since that's what I'm studying at the moment) that I'll be expected to work unreasonable hours.

I keep reading stuff on the internet about people working 12 hour days and I'm worried that it could become the norm instead of the exception. I read about things like unpaid overtime (not for salaried employees, for workers who are paid by the hour). I read things like this. Here's an example closer to home for me.

That last example was a bit less exaggerated. I realize something like Mother Jones could be exaggerated for political purposes. The other example ended on a high note but the thing that really bothered me was when they said nowadays it's common for workers to be given a set number of tasks per day instead of a set number of hours.

That one little detail terrifies me. For one thing, I'm kind of slow at work. I'm slow at a lot of things. I think part of the reason has to do with executive function. What I mean is when I have to deal with lots of little tasks, I get slowed down. I get slowed down switching from one task to another and it takes time for me to remember what I'm doing. If my goal is to accomplish task A but that requires task B to be completed and that requires task C to be completed but then the networks down so instead I should use this downtime to accomplish task D but that requires Task E... I spend so much time thinking about what I need to do that it takes up a lot of time.

It was like that in School. I was fast at some things that were single minded (e.g. writing history essays) but slow at things that required organization like chemistry and home ec. I was fast at arithmetic and slow at math. Now the worrying thing is that last week they told us that the full workers were given a minimum quota of tests to complete per day. If I take twice as long than an 8 hour day could turn into a 16 hour day. I don't know if their quota is reduced when there are a network problems (a frequent occurrence).

As for my work, some of it is stuff that I could do very quickly if it wasn't for the need to document every step in great detail. I understand the necessity of this since it helps when something goes wrong (and since I'm trying to find bugs in prerelease software, it's not a question of if something will go wrong but what, I can understand that when bugs are inevitably found, they want to know the precise sequence of events that lead to that bug. I still find all this writing and screenshotting slows me down three times. I get slowed down when switching between tasks but I have to switch tasks every few seconds. And that's when the software is working. When it goes wrong I have to fill out a lengthy form.

In defense of my employers, they have been reasonable and their quotas (less than the real testers have) have not been strictly enforced. Sometimes I just get confused by things (I have to deal with jargon and references to references to references). Maybe I'm not so smart. Not only is it task switching and confusion, but sometimes when I'm doing nearly any tasks I take little pauses where I just thing for a few moments. I think their quotas are based on nonstop work. I know it's bad for me to zone out for a few moments but it's not really voluntary for me. One afternoon last week I did a real rush where I worked without pause and then when I went to class after work I felt totally exhausted. I thought "this is how everyone else works, not just at my work place but at every work place).

I wonder if it's even a good idea for me to be studying programming. Maybe I won't be smart enough for that job and I'll have to stay within my existing job. Would that be a waste of study? Or are there other benefits to study besides working in the field you're studying? Some people seem to think so. I've met people who work in fields unrelated to their major yet they don't seem to regret it. They say it taught them to work long hours and better writing skills. This makes me think they treat college more like a coming of age ritual than a path to a specific career.

As for programming. I have an interest in computers and those who learn history are doomed to teach it. But the trouble with that is, I've heard that software development is one of the absolute worst jobs for unreasonable hours. This makes me feel like I'm walking right into the thing I most dread.

A couple of years ago I would not have considered studying or getting a serious job. I wouldn't have believed it if I knew then that I'd be doing both of those things at the same time. I find it exhausting, in part because I'm slow in my studies and debugging code can take ages. But then I meet people who are also working while studying real degrees in real college, not just studying a diploma in community college like I am and I think I must be pretty lazy compared to them. My weekends are spent on and off again studying (code for 5 minutes, browse web for 5 minutes, repeat all day) but I meet other students who spend their weekends studying constantly.

Anyway, if I continue on to becoming a full time worker in testing, programming or some other profession, will I be overworked? Do will have a culture in which this is becoming the expected norm rather than the exception? One of the things I fear is they could make me walk into it willingly by playing on my guilt complex (i.e. everyone else did it in 8 hours so you must stay late).


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bookworm360
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04 Jun 2015, 1:16 pm

If the job is based on a quota system rather than simply hourly, and you know that you perform slower than yes there seems to be a real risk of being overworked. You're employers may be willing to work with you on what your quota should be so it's manageable, and I don't know what sort of legal protections/aid is available to you, but you could look into what assistance is available to find the right place/position for you.

As for the programming, I have several friends in the industry and yes, depending on the company, it can be a very demanding field--that doesn't mean you shouldn't study it if it is something that interest you, but if you are afraid of overwork it may not be the best field with one caveat from what I've seen (which admittedly has been limited, but since no one else has commented I will) freelance programmers often are paid for a completed project rather than on an hourly basis. So if it takes you twice as long you'd in effect be working twice as hard--if programming is something you enjoy than I don't know if that would be a problem. I do believe there is some benefit to just learning for the sake of learning and expanding the breadth of your knowledge, but if you are trying to focus on developing job skills (which programming is a major job skill, but mostly if you're looking to work in that field) than you might be better off focusing on another path if you think the workload isn't for you.

As for your study habits, it's something to work on, a lot of colleges have study aides and you can go to them for some tips on how to change your habits, but don't be too hard on yourself. I think you are way overestimating the amount of studying anyone not in a really tough graduate program or an Ivy League college are doing. I have 2 friends with Ph.D's, a couple other with masters, I myself have 2 masters, and none of us studied all the time. Most of us worked during college and we'd still hang out, we'd party, play video games, and get wasted--we were just able to focus on our studies when we needed to get something done so we might spend a weekend studying or working on a project, but in no way would we spend all of them. I'm not saying we wouldn't have been better off studying a little more, but don't hold yourself to an impossible standard, devoting a hundred percent of your weekend to studying sounds like a great way to drive yourself mad.



RetroGamer87
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05 Jun 2015, 7:54 am

bookworm360 wrote:
If the job is based on a quota system rather than simply hourly, and you know that you perform slower than yes there seems to be a real risk of being overworked. You're employers may be willing to work with you on what your quota should be so it's manageable, and I don't know what sort of legal protections/aid is available to you, but you could look into what assistance is available to find the right place/position for you.
So far they haven't been too bad about it. I don't want to criticize them unduly. I got worried yesterday when I got a performance review. Yes I got a failing grade but they were nice about it. They didn't want to fire me like I thought, they just said it might take me a while to get used to it.[/"quote"]The manager was nice enough to sit with me for most of the day to see what I was doing (was worried the other workers would think I'm being singled out, they didn't care, must stop being paranoid about what people are thinking). She said I was working too fast. This surprised me. I thought I was working too slow. I said I went very fast because I was worried about not making the quota. She said working too fast leads to mistakes and that I could be faster overall if I slowed down.

She said I should ask more questions when I get confused instead of trying to spend hours trying to figure something out. I guess she's right but I've noticed that if I ask someone many questions in a short space of time their patience wears thin. That's why I was trying not to ask too many.

She spent a lot of time with me the next day as well. It was nice of her and in some ways it helped but it was difficult for me when I was part way through a task and she would tell me to abandon it for another task.
bookworm360 wrote:
As for the programming, I have several friends in the industry and yes, depending on the company, it can be a very demanding field--that doesn't mean you shouldn't study it if it is something that interest you, but if you are afraid of overwork it may not be the best field with one caveat from what I've seen (which admittedly has been limited, but since no one else has commented I will) freelance programmers often are paid for a completed project rather than on an hourly basis. So if it takes you twice as long you'd in effect be working twice as hard--if programming is something you enjoy than I don't know if that would be a problem. I do believe there is some benefit to just learning for the sake of learning and expanding the breadth of your knowledge, but if you are trying to focus on developing job skills (which programming is a major job skill, but mostly if you're looking to work in that field) than you might be better off focusing on another path if you think the workload isn't for you.
Maybe you're right. Maybe programming would be a bad job for me. Maybe it would be too hard for me. But I can't just create the perfect job for myself. That job may not exist. I can't shape the world to fit my desires to perhaps I just have accept things the way they are. There may not be a perfect job for me.

Hmmm. I take twice as long to do a lot of things. At the moment I'm on a standard wage and I feel guilty about being paid the same amount as the other workers when I only got half as much work done (not that any of the other workers have taken issue with this).

Yes I'm sure programmers work very hard but don't those who work in other professions work just as hard? Is there any profession nowadays where you work no more than 40 hours per week? IDK. I want to work but I don't want my career to consume 100% of my time. I don't want it to consume my health.

I don't know whether or not I'd be too slow at programming. One of the things that worries me aside from the hours is that they might want me to rush. I don't do very well if I have to spend hours doing things at a mile a minute. Last week I spent the afternoon in a rush and afterwards I felt terrible. Than I thought that being in a mad rush might be the norm for a lot of workers. I felt guilty, like I'm lazy compared to them.
bookworm360 wrote:
As for your study habits, it's something to work on, a lot of colleges have study aides and you can go to them for some tips on how to change your habits, but don't be too hard on yourself. I think you are way overestimating the amount of studying anyone not in a really tough graduate program or an Ivy League college are doing. I have 2 friends with Ph.D's, a couple other with masters, I myself have 2 masters, and none of us studied all the time. Most of us worked during college and we'd still hang out, we'd party, play video games, and get wasted--we were just able to focus on our studies when we needed to get something done so we might spend a weekend studying or working on a project, but in no way would we spend all of them. I'm not saying we wouldn't have been better off studying a little more, but don't hold yourself to an impossible standard, devoting a hundred percent of your weekend to studying sounds like a great way to drive yourself mad.
I'm relieved to hear that I'm not lazy for resting during waking hours. That might sound strange but I have a guilty conscious because in the past I took laziness to the most shameless extremes. One day I will have to learn how to deal with my past.

I spent Monday and Tuesday devoting 100% of my time to work and study. I even coded on the train to and from work on my laptop. I really did feel like I was going mad from exhaustion.

It's just that I felt guilty when my manager told me when she was in college (and working) she would sleep only 5 hours per night and devote 18 hours to work and study (the remaining hour was for housework). She didn't suggest that I should do the same thing but I started comparing myself to her and other workaholics I know.

Maybe I shouldn't do that. Maybe I should think of those people as the exception, not the norm. I shouldn't compare myself to people if I have an exaggerated view of how good the average person is. I keep on thinking stuff like that. Even when I know it's irrational I keep on thinking it. My psychologist didn't help at all. Somehow I must learn to accept myself rather than hold myself to improbably high standards

The thing that scares me is, sometimes I enjoy making a martyr out of myself. It makes me feel less ashamed of my past. Maybe this isn't a healthy way to deal with my past. Somehow I have to find a way to get past my guilt complex.


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MollyTroubletail
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05 Jun 2015, 8:26 am

Yes you will definitely be overworked and fired from jobs for being too slow. I'm sorry this is not an encouraging thing to say but I'm speaking realistically. Getting a failing grade on your job review and having your manager sit with you the entire day to coach you on how to do your job is not a good sign. They will usually do this as a last-ditch effort before firing you, and everyone in the office knows this so it's no use trying to convince yourself that nobody is watching (sorry to tell you that they ARE watching and most likely feeling a bit sorry for you).

So what I'm saying is yes, you should change your career path to something a lot less demanding before your self-esteem is totally smashed or you have a nervous breakdown.



kraftiekortie
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05 Jun 2015, 10:30 am

My opinion:

You'll be overworked at first.

But I also believe you will find a way to adjust. You will get faster with experience.

Everybody feels "overworked" when they start a new job.

Don't let your fears deter you, sir!



RetroGamer87
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05 Jun 2015, 5:38 pm

MollyTroubletail wrote:
They will usually do this as a last-ditch effort before firing you, and everyone in the office knows this so it's no use trying to convince yourself that nobody is watching (sorry to tell you that they ARE watching and most likely feeling a bit sorry for you).
Maybe. No one ever tells me anything there. My peers all act cheery like stepford workers so it's hard to tell what they think of me. My supervisor never says "fired", he just says stuff like "if you don't improve you won't get a bonus". Maybe that's a euphemism.
MollyTroubletail wrote:
yes, you should change your career path to something a lot less demanding before your self-esteem is totally smashed or you have a nervous breakdown.
Change my career path to something less demanding? But aren't all careers demanding? I bet you can't name even one profession that doesn't require a lot of hard work. So what difference would it make? I might be slow at other types of jobs. If I spend my life switching careers I'll never get very far in any of them.


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kraftiekortie
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05 Jun 2015, 7:31 pm

That's not a euphemism. If you don't improve, you won't get a bonus.

He would have chosen some other expression for a euphemism.

Truly: when you start a job, and work is thrust on you, you will feel overworked. That's happened to me in both work and university. But I managed to think about it, and adjusted. When you become more experienced, you become more proficient at your job. When you're more proficient, you work faster.



RetroGamer87
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06 Jun 2015, 3:17 am

I can live without a bonus, I was worried it might be a euphemism for if I don't improve I'll get fired.


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GiantHockeyFan
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19 Jun 2015, 7:19 am

RetroGamer87 wrote:
Change my career path to something less demanding? But aren't all careers demanding? I bet you can't name even one profession that doesn't require a lot of hard work. So what difference would it make? I might be slow at other types of jobs. If I spend my life switching careers I'll never get very far in any of them.

My current (and previous) jobs are ridiculously easy to the point I am bored out of my mind. I am actually typing this at work because I have so little to do. I have tried to find harder (and better paying jobs) but it's nothing short of insane how hard they are to get.



RetroGamer87
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19 Jun 2015, 8:24 am

GiantHockeyFan wrote:
My current (and previous) jobs are ridiculously easy to the point I am bored out of my mind.
Well, you answered my question. I guess not all careers are difficult. Do you still get paid enough to live on in this easy job? If you don't mind me asking, what is it?
GiantHockeyFan wrote:
I am actually typing this at work because I have so little to do.
Eh, that's not so bad if you can get away with it. One time I had a job where they insisted I do nothing but work but then didn't give me any work to do half the time. They'd tell me off for browsing (inconsistantly, some days they didn't mind), I browed anyway, until I quit.

It's not nearly that bad for me now but today I had to think of tasks to do because we're finished the rush that inspired me to start this thread (June release). I know some jobs can have periods of rush and downtime. The bad news is they still expect me to show up when we're not working on a quarterly release. The good news is I'm still on the clock when we're not working on a quarterly release.

Anyway until we start on the September relase I'll try to think of tasks for myself because I want to show them I can be independant and that I don't need to be micromanaged. Funny that my course goes on break at just the same the June release gets frozen.
GiantHockeyFan wrote:
I have tried to find harder (and better paying jobs) but it's nothing short of insane how hard they are to get.
Maybe so but I think perhaps I can ramp up gradually into more ambitious jobs. I've heard about people who graduate and then can't get a job in their field. That's why my plan is to work in IT until I graduate. I can either apply for promotion within HP or transfer to DHS. Either way I'm getting contacts at both of those organizations. Even if I go for a third option, I'll have a bit more work history that most graduates (I know testing is a low-ranking job but it's still more closely related to IT than the jobs some college students do (and some of of them don't even work at all)).


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20 Jun 2015, 2:08 pm

How do they wangle unpaid OT for hourly employees? That's not a thing that's OK by any standard, as far as I know.

Unpaid OT for salaried workers is absolutely a thing though, although it may be overblown. I'm sure it's very different in different places, but where I'm at it's pretty mild compared to the horror stories. I'm salaried and I usually work 43-45 hours a week. Kinda BS because I got time and a half for that extra funk at my last job, as opposed to nothing at all, but it's just a couple hours and not the end of the world.


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20 Jun 2015, 2:23 pm

RetroGamer87 wrote:
Or are there other benefits to study besides working in the field you're studying? Some people seem to think so. I've met people who work in fields unrelated to their major yet they don't seem to regret it. They say it taught them to work long hours and better writing skills. This makes me think they treat college more like a coming of age ritual than a path to a specific career.



Also, that is definitely what college was for me the first time around. I majored in anthropology, and I realized halfway through 6 weeks of field school that archaeology was an "unsustainable" career choice--I loved being outside and digging and documenting etc, but it was hard as f**k on my back and entire body. It was fine when I was 20, but I'd be screwed trying to pull that weight in my 30s.

My focus in college was in evolutionary biology, but field school was a requirement, and in any case there's almost nothing you can do besides archaeology with an anthro B.A.

But field school was an awesome experience, and I also took a ton away from the bioA curriculum that I can at least intermittently apply to what I do now (which is almost completely unrelated), despite the fact that I was so reefed the entire time I was in undergrad that I have no memories whatsoever of it that are anything but abstract and bizarre.


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22 Jun 2015, 7:18 am

RetroGamer87 wrote:
Well, you answered my question. I guess not all careers are difficult. Do you still get paid enough to live on in this easy job? If you don't mind me asking, what is it?

I'm in charge of logistics for a large organization. FAR easier than it sounds (or maybe I am highly skilled....).

Quote:
Eh, that's not so bad if you can get away with it. One time I had a job where they insisted I do nothing but work but then didn't give me any work to do half the time. They'd tell me off for browsing (inconsistantly, some days they didn't mind), I browed anyway, until I quit.

Ugh. I hear you there. I once had a job that was SO boring and easy I would have had to go on stress leave. How ironic!

Quote:
Maybe so but I think perhaps I can ramp up gradually into more ambitious jobs. I've heard about people who graduate and then can't get a job in their field. That's why my plan is to work in IT until I graduate. I can either apply for promotion within HP or transfer to DHS. Either way I'm getting contacts at both of those organizations. Even if I go for a third option, I'll have a bit more work history that most graduates (I know testing is a low-ranking job but it's still more closely related to IT than the jobs some college students do (and some of of them don't even work at all)).

Best of luck to you. In my case, my current $40,000/yr job had 489 qualified people apply. The $35,000/yr job? 12. I can only imagine how many apply for the $50-60,000/yr jobs! What further sucks is that only recently, if I lived in Alberta with my brother I could literally walk in off the street and tell them to give me my current job.



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22 Jun 2015, 9:43 am

You have to keep on plugging, no matter the odds.

I would say: forget the "odds."

Just apply.



RetroGamer87
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23 Jun 2015, 7:42 am

GiantHockeyFan wrote:
Best of luck to you. In my case, my current $40,000/yr job had 489 qualified people apply. The $35,000/yr job? 12. I can only imagine how many apply for the $50-60,000/yr jobs!
More than a thousand. That's how many applied for my job. The first six months is 3/4 time at $41,250 per year and after six months we individual get the option to go full time for $55,000 per year.

No wonder more than a thousand people applied for a $55,000/year job that doesn't require any qualification or past experience. I think such jobs don't come along too often. The only requirement was that I have ASD.
amazon_television wrote:
RetroGamer87 wrote:
This makes me think they treat college more like a coming of age ritual than a path to a specific career.
Also, that is definitely what college was for me the first time around
There are two managers for my team. One majored in management and the other majored in engineering, yet they both seem equally capable of managing. This makes me wonder if their major served to teach them specific skills or if it served just to challenge them and so make them smarter. Even if they major in a field that won't be their career, maybe it still gives them XP and that makes them successful.
kraftiekortie wrote:
I would say: forget the "odds."

Just apply.
Right on.


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26 Jun 2015, 10:14 pm

Wait, you can straight up major in "management"? :lol:

Talk about someone I'd have REAL trouble respecting as any kind of leader. "I've got it under control guys, don't worry I have a background in MANAGEMENT".

99% of the time someone barking orders from above in something they've never done the grind on the ground level of is worthless.


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