Thursday, September 04, 2008


When should overtime be mandatory?

In my travels, I have never ran across an employment agreement that obliges employees to do overtime...

Even if you receive good overtime pay, surely there is no obligation. Why do so many folk say yes to overtime so freely and then talk as if they are doing it under protest. Is that what "mandatory overtime" is?

An interesting yet loosely correlated observation is that the folks that fall into this trap tend to be savage believers in ethics yet have no clue as to the ethics of overtime. Should I feel obliged to do overtime if I have the opportunity? Can I say NO to overtime without feeling guilty even if I only planned to watch Spongebob Squarepants re-runs that evening?

Do the answers to those questions change depending on how often overtime is cheduled? Do the answers change depending on how urgent overtime is? Do the answers depend on whether your boss grew up was once a developer and observes practices around strong technical leadership or does it change if your enterprise culture is shifting towards perception is reality?

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