Beware of Advice from Columnists with Deadlines

Beware of Advice from Columnists with Deadlines ( image) - RF CafeWhen I search for useful articles that offer career advice, I do a cursory scan through them to make sure there is no hidden bit of idiocy that ends up poisoning the entire thing. I would not want to recommend something without have at least performed some minimal amount of vetting. Sometimes, I don't need to go any father than the headline to flag it as idiocy.

Take this one, for example: "How to Go from Working 60 Hours a Week to 40 by Sending 2 Emails a Week." The author has the very naive view that all a worker needs to do get away with working 40 hours each week is to send his/her boss an email on Monday morning outlining what he/she plans to accomplish in 40 hours by the end of the week, and then sending a follow-up on Friday afternoon showing how Monday's list had been fulfilled. In my decades of working in the electronics realm, I haven't met many engineers or managers who were able to get away with consistently putting in a mere 40 hours per week. I personally counted myself fortunate to get away with 45-50 hours during slack times, and that was with nearly always working through lunch. There were times when six months of 60 hour weeks were needed to make a schedule and compensate for other people's slackness. Maybe I was an inordinately poor manager of my time, but then so must have been most of the people I worked with.

Working more than 40 hours per week is fine if you happen to be paid on an hourly basis and collect time-and-a-half for regular overtime and double for Sundays and holidays, but one of the well-known "perks" to being salaried is the privilege of working unpaid overtime. Having begun my electronics career as an electronics technician, I enjoyed the fatter paycheck during times of plenty when production contracts demanded extra time. Once I went to the trouble of earning my BSEE degree and switched to the "professional" realm, I found in the beginning that techs working around me were netting more pre week than I was since they got paid for overtime and I did not (with me actually putting in more hours than they did). What's the old saying about being careful what you wish for?

It might seem I unfairly criticize the LinkedIn columnist, but being circulated as part of LinkedIn's weekly newsletter implies that possibly its content is relevant to the receiver. Maybe the tactic is perfect for the retail clothing purchaser or office manager, but unless my spider senses betray me, the words will invoke a similar reaction by most people who are reading this screed. My guess is that this article was the last item on the author's to-do list for accomplishing his 40-hour week.





Posted  June 17, 2014