You Know You're Overworked When...

ptm24's picture
Rank: Senior Orangutan | banana points 443

This is something that came to mind reading some of the comments on this post. It's good advice to be aware of our limits and to do something once its become clear that we're being overworked past our limits. How do you know what that limit is? What would have to happen for you to stand up to your boss about your hours, regardless of the potential consequences?

Figured it would be helpful to hear some signs to look for when you're being pushed too far. It's going to be vary a bit based on people's health and experience but I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts.

Comments (20)

Aug 20, 2018

I think it comes down to being able to accurately check in with yourself. Everyone has various limits based on genetics, how much they workout, their diet, and a multitude of other factors. But knowing something just doesn't feel right and being able to see a doctor and get their professional assessment.

Aug 20, 2018

Whenever I feel dizziness and nausea when laying down in bed after work I know I am on the edge of what my body can handle. My boss is fine with me leaving early an afternoon if I have been working really long hours over a longer period of time. Try to think of your work as intervals, work hard when deals are live and recover during the less hectic periods. Ask if you can take an evening off once in a while, the worst they can say is "no".

Aug 20, 2018

When there's work to be done, there's work to be done. I've taxed my body a whole lot living by that mantra; I've worked overnight many times, and generally put my job before everything else. Not the greatest lifestyle and for many years it was highly detrimental to my health. What I've done since around last year is to have a hard limit on my time at the office - get in exactly on time and have a hard stop at a normal hour. I allow myself more time if I need to get work done but I've subtly communicated that I have a 12-hour maximum for any given day. This is, of course, a luxury of someone working on a trading floor. As an M&A anything, you may not have this privilege, but you need to be cognizant of your own limits and what you want from your life. If you can't pull 12+ hour days, don't sign up for that kind of job.

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Aug 21, 2018

This is fair but remember everyone takes it differently because their bodies react differently. How did it take a toll on your health? Lack of exercise, trouble concentrating and gaining weight or verging on dermatological problems, severe muscle atrophy and hallucinations? The latter 3 do happen from time to time (some people may have a lower physical tolerance) but when they do no matter how much 'work there is to be done' you have to stop and have a serious conversation about the toll long hours have.

Aug 21, 2018

@kassad @QuiltEmerson What exactly do you both do? From an outside perspective, consistent 12 hour days seems very manageable, but I suppose it depends what the workflow is like during that time period. My understanding is that some S&T roles allow for plenty of downtime during the day when activity slows, but know you kind of are chained to the desk. Genuinely curious.

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Aug 23, 2018

Are you in Sales or Trading? What desk? What's your background?

Most Helpful
Aug 21, 2018

Sometimes you have to be inhuman to accomplish great things. Personally, I never think about boundaries, as they are typically false ceilings to success. If you want something, you go for it - don't hold anything back.

If you aren't willing to put in the 17+ hour days at the entry level, then don't play the game - because that's what it takes to win. There's nothing wrong with choosing a different path that is more appropriate for your preferred lifestyle. Everyone has their own measure and path to success, so you have to be introspective to determine your route.

"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway."

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Aug 20, 2018

Not sure if I agree with the advice about not having any boundaries. Sure, you should give it your all, but at the end of the day, it is just a job.

Also, the 17+ hour days are the exception, not the rule - unless you're working at Moelis or a sweatshop in Bangladesh.

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Aug 21, 2018

I don't expect anyone to agree with my advice, but it is quite commonplace to work 17+ hour days regularly (~80-90 hours per week) at top middle market and bulge bracket banks and middle market and mega fund PE shops. That's just how the industry works, and that's why the compensation packages are so attractive. You put in your hours in your 20's to "pay your dues" to invest in building your career and a more prosperous future.

Agreed it's just a job, but I really enjoy what I do. I'd rather do it for 70 hours per week, as opposed to 80-90 though :)

I keep a cot under my desk haha (seriously though, I do).

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Aug 21, 2018

Rationale for random MS? Providing a factual account of a personal experience?

Keyboard warriors crack me up.

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Aug 23, 2018

Can't say I've logged IBD hours but the critical thinking, scenario simulation and preparation cycles can stretch me pretty thin.

I know I'm burning the candle at both ends when:
1. Random lymph nodes flare up
2. Physical manifestation of anxiety that turns into labored breathing and inability to chill
3. Heart palpitations
4. Obsessive, compulsive thoughts that only die down after the storm has settled
5. Back acne and accelerated hair loss

For the past 5 years, I've pushed myself hard to be who I am today. This year has been one of the most physically taxing years for me as an individual transitioning from technology to business. Career is a marathon and I need to regress back to a physically sustainable pace.

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Aug 23, 2018

I tend to get tired

Dayman?

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Aug 23, 2018

hahaha. I read this as well. The redundancy of the news media never ceases to amuse me.

Aug 23, 2018

Recruiting outlook for summer 2008 assuming no drastic market changes??? Any ideas?

Aug 23, 2018

Banks are understaffed and enjoying every minute of it!

Aug 23, 2018

Means biggers bonuses for the IB'ers. The article mentions same revenue for half the # of bankers...

Efficiency is a beautiful thing, things like exhaustion & quality of work should be put to the sideline...lol.

Aug 23, 2018

explain the latest hoopla over GaS's hiring freeze?