Balancing act: Working late doesn't equate to working hard, readers say
You're on to something, David. The times I've stayed late at work, sacrificing family time to do so, have not always been my most productive hours. And they definitely didn't make me a happy employee.
A reader named George said in an email that this problem led him to find a way to quit his job.
"There is nothing more ridiculous, in my mind, than a mentality that a warm body at a desk is adding more value to a company," George wrote. "I'm a results-oriented person. If there is work to do, I'm happy to stay late to do it. But I refuse to sit there, pretending to work, just to appear 'dedicated.' The guy who sat next to me for three years refused to leave before me. I can only assume he figured the boss would notice and reward him accordingly."
George fought back by starting a side business and working on it during evenings after getting home from his full-time job.
"I did this for an entire year," George wrote. "It wasn't particularly fun, and family time was scarce. After a year I was able to quit my job and support my family from my own business.
"Now I set my own hours. When there is work to do, I get out there and do it. When there is downtime, I spend it with my family rather than twiddling my thumbs at a desk. It's a pretty good life, and I never have to look at my watch and think, 'It's 5:03, is it OK for me to leave now?' "
Congratulations, George! I'm sure the short-term sacrifice was difficult, but it sounds like the long-term benefits have been great.
I'd appreciate more input on this issue, so if you have an opinion, please let me know. I may share your thoughts in a future column.