December 27, 2010 at 12:42 pm #166058
I saw an admonishment on another thread warning a person entering the field to be prepared to work 10-12 hour days.
Do people really work 10-12 hours a day? I’d hear that when I was in school (from professors who never drifted too far from campus since leaving high school), but I don’t know anyone who worked more than slightly over 40 when there was a lot of work. No one that I know of wants to pay overtime.
Who has worked a lot more than 40 hours as an employee on a regular basis? Please chime in.
The only time that I did in landscape architecture was as an intern when my employer put me on salary and then demanded 6 ten hour days (with a one hour commute each way). Needless to say, I left as soon as I got what I needed from them. That was totally illegal, but they knew that I needed to finish some intern time and had very little opportunity due to geography and family situation. ….. there is a fine line between internship and exploitation.December 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm #166144Theodore TegenParticipant
On occasion I have worked more than 40 hours a week, but it’s not often. I am salaried, and of course it is expected that I need to get my work done, whatever it takes. I’ve done 2 am stints before (not just me, but a team of us) to prepare for a very important interview.
Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there is an adversarial attitude here when it comes to employee-employer relationships. I love where I work, and would go out of my way to help my firm succeed. They do the same for me. So for me it is not a matter of hours worked, but goals accomplished.December 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm #166143
60-70-80 hour/wk was standard at my first job. I don’t have a problem with long hours. When I’m working, time disappears. I have a problem working those hours without recognition, either in the form of additional compensation, time off (“you’ve already worked 40hrs by Wednesday, take Thurs/Fri off”) or even a simple “hey, well-done, we appreciate all of your hard work”.
There needs to be balance. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. No job / project is worth sleep deprivation induced insanity or long-term joint & back problems. I went to work in the best shape of my life; worked out 6 days a week, could ride my bike 100 miles-no problem, run 6, hike all day with a pack. Killer shape. 4 months later I was a mess, physically and mentally. I guess that’s what happens when you sit in a chair 6-7 days a week for 12+ hours a day.
I’m not the type to quit because of excessive workloads, I’ll push through. I won’t leave a job incomplete and leave “the team” hanging. I’ll stay up late, come in early, pull all nighters, do whatever it takes to get it done well and on time. That’s just me. It’s my nature. I won’t quit and I hate losing.
It’s also some peoples nature to abuse those traits. I don’t think “churn ’em and burn ’em” (burn people out, get rid of them and replace them. repeat) is a good company motto. It’s not good for employees and it’s not good for the company. I’d rather have high morale, loyalty, team-work, low turn-over, consistent process, and effective project management, but that’s just me…December 27, 2010 at 6:37 pm #166142
No adversarial attitude to employers here. I’m just curious as to how much of the long hours is folklore and how much is actually practiced.
I will admit that I did not like those particular employers from the moment that I met them, but they were the only people who I worked for in the last twenty years whom I did not like. However, there were no surprises from them. They were up front in the amount of hours and that I’d be on salary. I took the job because I needed a little more time under an LA for reciprocity and I got it, to be fair. No hard feelings, just that I did not “have good chemistry” with them.
Did they pay you overtime?December 27, 2010 at 6:46 pm #166141
I have always worked long hours since I’ve been in this industry. I guess it’s just something that was expected. But, when you enjoy what you’re doing the time just flies by. In the last 7 years or so, I’ve realized that a person needs to know when to turn it off. Even though you might love your profession, you still have to maintain personal relationships.
Actually, it seems like the firms I’ve worked at that were the most productive didn’t need their employees to work more than 40 hours per week. It’s the owners that were disorganized and poor managers who needed long work hours from their staff.December 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm #166140
Yeah, I got overtime pay for maybe two weeks out of the 4 months I was there. Most of the time I didn’t report over time for two reasons; one, I thought that working extra hard (and cheap) would help secure my job as the economy was headed south and two, when I sought approval (it had to be signed off) for overtime worked I got stink-eye from the higher ups, sighs, and “yeah, if you feel it’s the right thing to do…”, all of which suggested that reporting overtime was frowned upon.
Lesson learned. Either get paid for hours worked or work 40 hours, flat. Anything else is charity work and Me Inc. is not a non-profit. No wonder everyone else there walked in at 8:30 and out at 5, sharp… it’s not that they were slackers, as I initially thought, they had just figured “it” out…December 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm #166139
Most landscape architects are not business minded. They are sensitive, creative types that do it for the love but think about it… long hours actually reduce your salary. Lets say you make $50k/yr. That’s approx. $25/hr. @ 40hrs a week. If you work 50 hrs/wk you have effectively reduced your salary to $20/hr (before taxes!), 60hrs/wk = $16.66/hr… and so on… I love landscape architecture but I didn’t go to school for 5 years to make the same amount as the guy in the deli department with his GED.December 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm #166138Theodore TegenParticipant
Sorry I wasn’t clear, I didn’t mean that it sounded like YOU had an adversarial attitude, just that Land8 in general seemed to. Your attitude toward your former employer was well deserved it sounds like.
Your point about needing a balance is spot on in my opinion. The good employers understand that people have lives outside of work, take Google for example.December 27, 2010 at 9:38 pm #166137
Wow! Do I live a sheltered life. I thought the sweat shops were mostly professor lore.
I have not worked for a large landscape architecture firm, just a couple of design/build (build with staff, not subs) and small local engineering firms (one owned by a PLS with a Harvard GSD MLA who felt no need to get an LA stamp). That one told me, “if we can’t do it in 40 hours we should not be doing it” when I asked if we worked overtime. One design/build did have me regularly working over 40 in five day work weeks and paid overtime (typically 44-50 hours).
What percentage of LA firms are sweat shops?December 27, 2010 at 10:24 pm #166136Mike MitchellParticipant
While I was working for a well known firm the hours were reasonable most weeks. 50 hours/ week was typical. Most principals were there about the same amount of time. Some late nights here and there. If you take out all of the meetings, etc the actual time spent on projects was closer to 45/week. It all depends on the firm. I’ll not call out specific firms, but some friends/classmates work more than others.December 27, 2010 at 10:31 pm #166135
I’m sorry. Let me make it clear that although I am sensitive and creative. I’m no fool. I have always been compensated with a good salary usually accompanied by a juicy bonus. Free tickets to ball games, dinner cruises, continuing education courses, professional license and CLARB certification renewals and lunches galore helps to sweeten things a bit as well.
For the last 15 years or so when working for someone else, things just kind of balance out. So much of what we do isn’t really hard work. For example a typical week for me I would be:
- Monday – 8 hours CAD
- Tuesday – 2 hours administrative, 6 hours CAD
- Wednesday – 2 hours administrative, 2 hours lunch with boss, 4 hours CAD
- Thursday – 3 hours travel, 1.5 hours lunch, 3.5 hours site visit at clients Hamptons beach house
- Friday – 3 hours CAD, 2 hour lunch meeting with client in the City, 5 hours administrative
- Saturday – 2 hours CAD (at home)
Walking around sites, talking to a contractors, designing projects and working with most clients are activities that bring me a lot of joy. Yes, occasionally there’s pressure to meet a deadline and you need to turn it on, but nothing too ridiculous.December 27, 2010 at 10:47 pm #166134
I hate to say it, but you allowed yourself to be abused. Sometimes you need to draw the line. There is no way I would pull those kinds of hours and not be compensated for it.
There are employers out there that care about their employees and are fair. I don’t think a firm that “uses up” their employees can reach their highest potential. It’s costly to keep losing, hiring and training new staff.December 27, 2010 at 10:54 pm #166133
Please mention if you are/were paid salary or hourly with overtime compensation, if you worked more than 40.December 27, 2010 at 11:03 pm #166132
Salary but in California labor laws are complicated. Basically, if you’re in a new career, as I was, an employer is required to pay overtime for the first two years. I’m not sure what happens beyond that… maybe I’ll find out… it’s been about two years now…December 27, 2010 at 11:07 pm #166131
I think it’s expected if you want to work for the best firms… it’s just like top law firms, advertising agencies and medical school. Minus the financial benefits…
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