Cost of working Saturday

A friend of mine was offered a job offer, where the total annual compensation remained the same, but the working hours were reduced drastically (from 60 to 40 hours a week). Normally such an offer is attractive only for someone is on the threshold of being burned-out, or as a last ditch attempt to save the marriage or a female/male who is guilt ridden for not being able to meet social/family commitments/obligations. Unfortunately he is neither of the three, yet should he seriously consider the offer. What is more important your annual salary or what you make per hour?

On the face of it seems like a career suicide. Being busy, frequent international travel and long distance telephonic meeting are considered as telltale signs of a power executive. Power executives are destined to stock-options, early promotions and insane salaries that we read only in the papers. In today’s world where even colleagues don’t understand what the other team does, working longer hours is the only conclusive quantitative metric to evaluate the most valuable employee. So trading all this for a quieter life, means giving up on the race to success.

Tele-commuters or part time employees often are last to get promoted, first to be fired and receive the smallest increments in the team. Many employees work long hours to get job security, a signal that it will take two guys to replace them and so rather than replacing them with a younger and cheaper talent the management will have to shell out two salaries. No wonder so many people sacrifice their evenings & weekends to professional life even though they get no overtime or incentives.

My friend understands that any job switch comes with a transition cost. Inflation correction/annual increment clock is rest (loss of ~5%), plus another 10-15% of the loss in bonus/performance (existing employer often does not pay up for the existing part of the financial year and new employer will pay pro-rata/reduced pay out), add to it the relocation and other transition related expenses. So even with a matching pay, for this financial year, savings will take a major hit.

Most people still will look at annual salary rather than how much they are compensated for every hour they work. There is no doubt that Indians, Chinese & Asians in general work longer hours than their counterparts in Europe, America & rest of the developed worlds. Add to it the longer commute time due to congestion, meetings at odd hours and travel, the work-life balance is heavily skewed towards work. WHY is it we attach no value to our weekends, spending time with our family, pursuit of hobbies?

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