- Many of us feel the need to sacrifice our lunch breaks and stay late at the office, but is it really necessary? Will it really solve world hunger and bring peace on earth? Odds are probably not; it will only build resentment towards the workplace and feelings of discontent. Granted there are times when it might be critical to stay late to finish a major project, but these occurrences should be far an few. Take control of you life stop burning the midnight oil.
How you're paid can make a difference
- Hourly- If you are paid hourly, overtime is a way to make some extra cash. Especially if you don't have anything else better to do. Just be careful because the greed of overtime dollars can quickly consume your life.
- Salary-If you receive a salary, it's simple "stop working for free." It is easy to think that the well being of the company rests on your shoulders, but I assure you it doesn't. The reality is: If you were hit by a car tomorrow, the business would continue to function without you. On top of that, most bosses won't even notice your extra effort, and if they do, it won't be to the extent that you're expecting.
No Self Esteem
Employees that lack self esteem can easily be coerced into working extra hours, because they are too nice to say no. Be assertive and stand up for yourself. Don't allow everyone in the office to nominate you as the scapegoat for tying up loose ends.
Have Plans Outside of Work
Ever noticed how certain people never work late because they have kids to pick up from soccer practice, a bus to catch, or some other kind of plans outside of work? Nobody seems to give it a second thought. After all, they are put in a full day just like everyone else. They're just not getting suckered into working the extra long hours. This is why it's so important to always have a top secret ninja back up plan. If your boss asks if you can come in on Saturday, tell him that you have plans with some friends, or that you have some important errands to run. More than likely he will think nothing of it and ask someone else.
Someone Always has to Play the Martyr
I've worked alongside plenty of people who volunteer to work late unnecessarily, and then hold it against everyone later. They eventually get upset with co-workers because they feel under-appreciated, and constantly complain about the unfair work load. A martyr is the kind of person that spends the whole shift gossiping over coffee, and then tries to save the day by putting in some extra hours after everyone else went home. A true hero doesn't have to advertize.
What is Actually Getting Done
Working late is never as productive as it seems. It's easy to burnout after too many consecutive hours at the office, and it will diminish your quality of life. It's pointless to work late, especially if it makes you a zombie the next day.
Look at the Bigger picture
If you have the kind of job that regularly requires you to work late and sacrifice your lunch breaks, then consider a procedural change like a redistribution of the work load, working more efficiently, or hiring some extra help. Things that may seem important are usually not, and most job tasks can wait until tomorrow.