Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not so helpful protection

I recently started a new job. It's pretty time intensive - 60 hours a week is a norm, on average. More when necessary. The work is interesting, well (or even extremely well paid, depending on your criteria), colleagues are smart and the whole atmosphere is friendly (so far, as far as I can tell). So the hours seem acceptable.
Sometimes, there is just too much work and the workload increases to unreasonable levels. In the US, the firm asks you to measure true hours working. You report truthfully (there is really not reason not to - if there is not enough work, you are expected to be home, "on the beach". And if you get to insane levels, somebody will come and help you (seriously, man).
The great socialist left (and right) in Europe, probably at the end of the industrial revolution, decided that working about 50 hours a week a year should be illegal. Why the rule might make sense if you work in a factory for minimum wage, it does not make much sense for highly qualified jobs, when you actually want to work more, but should not. Nobody can tell how much you actually work, of course, but you have to report the hours and such reports have to be archived.
This idea of protection is actually harmful. Instead of truthful reports, you have to lie, otherwise your employer (and thus also you) would have a problem. It may be ok to lie to the government (it is not for me, but so what), but it is really stupid that you have to lie to the company that wants to know, but legally cannot (should not) for its own protection.
If I may ask, I don't want any more protection like this. Thank you.

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