Friday, July 4, 2008

How to Not Feel Guilty About Leaving at 5p!

If your are returning to work after a long absence, know that some workplace protocols have changed. One of the changes you might notice is that people are working longer hours. You will also notice that many managers expect employees to work beyond the published hours, since company productivity and competition demands it. For the company, greater productivity means greater output, which translates to higher revenues and ultimately greater profits. In a perfect world your hard work would then translate to a greater share of the profits through higher income...but I digress.

A recent Wall Street Journal Juggle live poll shows that only 30% of the almost 1800 people responding are working 40 hours or less per week. The other 70% are working more than 40 hours, with 34% working between 40-50 hours weekly, 22% working 50-60 hours and 14% working over 60 hours weekly.

As you try to fit in at the new workplace, you may feel the pressure to immediately jump in and "pull your weight". Some workers will feel guilty about having to leave at the end of a shift or even take a day off.

Some tips to help you manage schedules at work:

1. Clarify expectations early. The job interview is not too early. Of course you do not want to come across as a "clock watcher" but you do want to learn about the culture of the organization or department.

2. While at work know that your task list will always be growing and there will always be work to be done. Trying to "finish" the work is not real and could increase your workplace stress.

3. As a career reentry professional, think about how to be effecient at work during your work hours so you can work smarter not harder. Watch the water cooler breaks if you think they are limiting your productive.

3. Be a team player and show your willingness to stay late to meet deadlines when you can. You do not want to be known as the person who is packed up and ready to go at 4:45p everyday!

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