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  1. #1
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    Working overtime at work for free - please help

    Hi,

    I have a dilemma. I am 25 working on an oil and gas project in the office. This is my first major job after University.

    I am working 11 hour days yet am only paid for 10. I have been working 15 hour days regularly. There is so much work. I have taken over someone elses responsibility. *They left. It is a major mess. I really want to refine the systems and processes but do not have time. I am constantly hassled for things overdue.

    They take so long because the systems and processes are inefficient and the records sloppy and messy.

    Yet, I cannot spare tiem to improve the processes as my boss will not allocate time to that as we are behind on the tasks.

    Thus I continue being late on tasks because each takes so long and the work continues to pile up!

    I am blamed for the lack of productivity and my ability is being questioned. My boss called a meeting with a company director saying I was unproductive and that this industry is not for me. I wrote a letter to the Company Director thanking him for the meeting and outlining my accomplishments since arriving and allowing him to understand that this is where I want to be, yet the current lack of productivity is frustrating for us all and that I am happy to hear any suggestions to improve. I also outlined some ideas of my own.

    Dilemma
    ---------
    Do I work longer hours to get the system to scratch? I am not paid.

    I see this twofold. One, I am not getting any respect or appreciation at present which does not inspire me to give my own free time and then get slapped in the face by being fired or relocated when the system is finally improved. Plus being taken advantage of.

    If I do not put the extra time in, then my work is hell. Very stressful and I give the bad impression of inefficiency and low productivity.

    Ideally I would be paid for the overtime but they do not do that around here as i have asked several times. I feel that they think I would not be productive as no one else is around despite me hardly working with anyone else especially for these matters.

    Please share your ideas/thoughts/advice and similar stories. Any empathy or suggestions for improvement are also appreciated

    Perhaps a letter to my Manager requesting paid overtime and outlining what I shall produce.

    * To give you and idea of my environment, the manager gave me a task that he said should take 15 minutes. It took me 90 minutes to try and understand it. I could not and then asked my Manager. My Manager then took a further 2 hours in addition to my 90 minutes work which he used. Yet, he did not give me any gratitude or thanks or apologies for yelling at me for not doing it in 15 minutes.

    He also expects me to do the rest in 15 minutes. It is possible if a good system was in place but there is no system a very messy place to start from. *The reason is that this work has been done by 4 different persons in 12 months and continues to be shifted from one to another. The second I received it, I was expected to have fixed everything and know everything about it. Very unreasonable and stressful. Especially because I do not know if it is 'me' who is not meant for the job/industry or just the situation.

    thank you

  2. #2
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Re-read your post... the answer lies within.

    There's a reason for the high turnover. Either present the problem in a frame that management will understans and get support in moving forward, find a another gig and let someone else deal with it, or sit there and suffer in silence.

  3. #3
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Its been my experience that some companies and industries don't care if there's a high turnover rate and will continue to treat employees like crap, just as long as the boss is getting things done and getting paid. I'd put all your effort into finding a less stressful job, well, after you give that letter in.

    But, if you just started this job, I'd give it some more time to get adjusted to the job and communicating with the boss.
    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
    Cheating: a symptom of the problem.

  4. #4
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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    If you are being paid for 10 hours, work 10 hours. Don't forget your coffe and lunch breaks.
    Bike riding Northern gentleman.

  5. #5
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    You are told your ability is being questioned, but they keep you on? Why is this not making sense?

    Sounds like your boss is just a bully, and he gets away with it. This link may help. There are lots of other ones like it.

    http://www.mytoxicboss.com/

    Many time, even HIS boss is afraid to deal with him. You're the one who winds up twisting in the wind.

    However, a lot of what you describe is simply how many businesses are run nowadays. There's rarely enough time to get things done on time without putting in overtime. Your jobs are planned by persons who have no idea what has to be done.

    For instance:

    Jobs which I bid, plan and budget myself get done on time and under budget.

    Jobs which are handed to me after being bid, planned and budgeted (and screwed up) by someone else wind up overdue and over budget.

    Hmmm.

    Don't let this affect your health, it's not worth it. It's not your fault the company is screwed up. You may wish to discretely plan to move on.

    The reason Dilbert is so popular is because so much of it is true!
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  6. #6
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    If you are hourly, and not getting paid or somehow compensated equally OT, that is at the least unethical if not illegal. Go find another job immediately if they cannot accomodate you.

    If you are salary with limited OT pay, then just suck it up. I've had to work much longe rhours before....when i worked at a start-up, I only went home on the weekends...I slept in one of hte conference rooms, and used the shower facilities there to clean up every morning....they even had clean towels/washcloths, and decent soap/shampoo...there were restaurants across the street...so I lived there.

    Wasn't a bad deal...I was grossing around 2000 a week at the time due to the massive OT. Of course I am single, and have no kids...so I can pull stuff like that of without much drama.

    Only real gripe for me is obvious inefficiency combined with a lack of desire to improve the process....go talk to them, and make sure they understand why things are so slow...see if you guys can see eye to eye one anything...if not, it's time to move on to greener pastures.
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  7. #7
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Remember this, when you go to work for a company you are making a deal; I will do this for you in return for this much per hour or salary. That is the bottom line. If you are not getting paid then they broke there end of the deal. Don't get involved in 'take one for the team' bulsiht. Believe me when the 'team' needs to take one for you it will be your ass out the door no question about it. If you can afford it quit or at least find a good time to quit in the near future. Life is way way too short to work a any job for a bunch of ungrateful managers. You may in fact love the work you are doing but if the people around you suck then the job sucks. In fact most people rate job satisfaction high because of the people they work with and not necessarily the job they do. My GF just ended a job where she really loved the people she worked with but the management was more or less the same as the way you described it. Good luck.

  8. #8
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Well said...like my job, the people I work with are great....it's just the management here are just totally clueless. They think they can work people 90+ hours a week for years on end and not expect them to have low morale....or they tell someone right at the end of their shift they have to pull 6 more hours.

    Last time someone told me I had to pull 6 more hours at the end of my shift, I told them to do the job, since I was not going to do it. I do expect a certain degree of professionalism, and part of that is giving people notice, since their demands do have repurcusisons to an employee's personal life....in my case, I had class....a class the company refused to pay for since it was not "relevant" to them...so they can eat a fat one if they try to interfere with it....I have to leave exactly on time to make it across the entire peninula on bike in time for class.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    if you're on salary, there's nothing much you can do. start looking for another job.... or see if you can split the work with somebody else who's willing to help you out. I dunno, sounds bad, but it's pretty common unfortunately.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Fooer's have a way of making me love construction even though I hate it. I have no experience with your type of job, but universaly speaking, my experience is that jobs where workers don't get along with their bosses don't end well. If I were you, I would find another company if possible.
    Bring back the Sig Test!


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  11. #11
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    depending on what industry the job is in, it could be standard operating procedure.
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  12. #12
    The Other White Meat BroMax's Avatar
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    If you're a recent graduate and haven't been at this job very long, you can split. You don't have to put in on your resume and you won't have enough of a gap in your life to require much of an explanation. That means you can tell them what a crazy-making organization they are mismanaging. If you were hired as hourly paid, they owe you. Keep an account of your overtime and present it to them in writing. They have no right to say with respect to overtime "we don't do that here." Of course they will want to do the right thing. You needn't mention anything about going to the National Labor Relations Board or your state attorney general: unless they're stupid, they'll understand.

    If you can afford to get out of there, do it before you invest too much of your time, your enthusiasm and your mental health. If you can't afford it, make a plan.

    jfmckenna is right. This seems to me like the sort of place that will chew you up and spit you out without a backward glance. Whatever you do will have a tiny impact on the company; but what an employer does can have a huge impact on an employee's life.
    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.

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  13. #13
    So say we all.
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    Are you an engineer?

    If not, you've got lots of options.

    If you are an engineer, remember that this was made perfectly clear when you started school.

  14. #14
    I bike, therefore, I am. Dohickey's Avatar
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    Get another job ASAP. You're not happy there. They are not happy with you. And things won't get any better. They may get worse. If you don't leave on your own, sounds like they will fire you when they are done taking advantage of you. Don't quit until you find another job. Don't tell them off if you do find another job. You'll only hurt yourself. Talk things over with your boss and see if the two of you could find a better working arrangement. Tell him you want to be a good employee and considering it's your first job ask him to please help you develop your skills while at the same time your desperately looking for another job. If things get worse ask to be transfer to another position with your secret goal of getting away from your lousey boss.
    I've had several crap jobs in my life and only regret not leaving them sooner.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by yendor28
    I am working 11 hour days yet am only paid for 10. I have been working 15 hour days regularly. There is so much work. I have taken over someone elses responsibility. *They left. It is a major mess. I really want to refine the systems and processes but do not have time. I am constantly hassled for things overdue.
    ...
    They take so long because the systems and processes are inefficient and the records sloppy and messy.
    ...
    I wrote a letter to the Company Director thanking him for the meeting and outlining my accomplishments since arriving and allowing him to understand that this is where I want to be, yet the current lack of productivity is frustrating for us all and that I am happy to hear any suggestions to improve. I also outlined some ideas of my own
    ....
    Do I work longer hours to get the system to scratch? I am not paid.
    Do you have a written job-description? Basically what the other guys said, ONLY do the work that you were hired to do and ONLY the hours you're scheduled. DON'T take over anyone else's job, DON'T work over-time. There's a management technique called the "hot potatoe" which could be an unwanted task/job that's passed around until it falls on the guy at the bottom. Don't accept it. The magic words are "No, that's not my job"". If you are truly working to the limits of your ability and is reasonable for anyone in such a position, you're doing all you can, don't worry about doing more, it's not your responsibility. When 5pm rolls around, clock out and leave! There are other companies and jobs that operate this way.

  16. #16
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    thank you everyone!

    Lots to think about!

    The big issue is that I was hired under manager B who was great, well respected and had a bright future planned for me. We worked well together. He mentored me. He became frustrated with the organisation and accepted a different job. His replacement (my current manager CM) never really had a place for me. I just did the basic work. My CM then got demoted. In the meeting where the Company Director explained the demotion (a new guy was appointed heading up the CM), I spoke up for my CM speaking about things he did well. I did this because I thought we were a team thus had to look out for each other.

    2 weeks later I started getting hammered by the CM. I understand he is under a lot of pressure and wants an all star experienced team. I am far from that as I am starting out. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile working with me as the experienced team shall not be around forever.


    Really hard. I was always brought up to finish what I start. I want this to work. I really do. Very challenging.


    **** Why was the reference made to being an Engineer? Very good. I am not but am feel that I am in an Engineer position at present

  17. #17
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Enforcement of wage laws in the US is pretty much non-existant. You work for a lousy company, that is fate. Try getting due compensation. YOu might win, but it will cost you your job.

  18. #18
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yendor28

    **** Why was the reference made to being an Engineer? Very good. I am not but am feel that I am in an Engineer position at present
    Because this type of work load is expected in the engineering profession.

    We engineers are "CAN DO" types and management knows this, if they have anything on the ball. It's very hard for me to tell others that I simply CAN'T work on their project...but I've gotten good at it.

    I'm presuming you don't have an engineering degree, but you have the title? That's how companies get engineers without having to pay them like engineers.
    Fewer Cars, more handlebars!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by capejohn
    If you are being paid for 10 hours, work 10 hours. Don't forget your coffe and lunch breaks.
    That attitude would get me fired in a heartbeat.

  20. #20
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yendor28

    **** Why was the reference made to being an Engineer? Very good. I am not but am feel that I am in an Engineer position at present

    Geologist maybe? I got my degree in geology which was basically one static and dynamic class less of an engineer but anyway I worked for engineering firms and they all sucked bad. The engineers get paid far more and did less work (I am not bashing all companies and engineers) while the technicians worked there asses off. I never wanted to work in oil and gas but chose the 'environmental' sector instead. What a crock that was. It's all dog eat dog. I have since moved over to IT. Anyway if you are a geologist I feel for you

  21. #21
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    Yeah, engineers are the ones most employers crap-pile with stuff to do, and sometimes it's totally irrelevant stuff.
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  22. #22
    Go Titans!! sunninho's Avatar
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    Call up Manager B and see if he'll take you under his wings again...
    One must live the way one thinks or end up thinking the way one has lived.
    --Paul Bourget

  23. #23
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunninho
    Call up Manager B and see if he'll take you under his wings again...
    Sounds like a good idea.
    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
    Cheating: a symptom of the problem.

  24. #24
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    If you live in Alberta then it's a no-brainer ... switch jobs. Plenty of well-paying jobs to go around. If not, then switch jobs. Basically no job is worth being yelled at. Work is not just about getting a paycheque. You don't want to spend 24% of your time during your career feeling unsatisfied and unhappy. I know this is obvious advise but it takes a few years of working to allow this to fully sink in. Either way, make sure you at least bike to work as it makes for a great stress reliever after work.

  25. #25
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    It seems to me you have three options. The option of changing jobs has been suggested many times.

    The second option is the hardist. Since you got off to a bad start by defending your previous manager, you colud go to this manger and say we got off to a bad start. What can we do to work together? Unless he is a total theory x ahole this should work.

    The third is option my favorite. Since you have gone through two managers already, it will only be a matter of time before before you need to break in another new manager. Have fun and screw with this manager as much as you can without getting into trouble with the company.

    Remember to not get stressed over the matter as this will affect your health and the axis (manager) of evil will have won.
    Born Again Bicyclist! I found my Faith.

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