A coworker walked off the job yesterday...

Seems like Shagnasty the robber baron should be reading this thread, then maybe that poster would understand why unions exist, righ or wrong, these are some of the reasons they came about and continue to be relevant to many.

172 million for no lunch breaks.

A-frickin’-men. I don’t work one minute of overtime either, and it isn’t a problem. You just have to make sure you do it from day one, not get them used to over-working you then change the rules on them.

Jim (my husband) has done some research on work hours in his capacity as a Safety Officer, and workers who work long hours and/or go long stretches without breaks are actually not as productive as workers who take proper breaks and only work proper hours. After two hours without a break or working longer than eight hours or starting work very early (anything before 8:00 am) causes a precipitous drop in production and a dramatic rise in accidents.

http://www.technewsworld.com/story/38451.html A link about the EA suit.

The fact is, people working these kind of hours can’t be producing good code. In fact a study showed that productivity turns negative at about 50 hours a week. Video game companies are kidding themselves, and forcing good programmers out. The reason they do it is that it’s not costing them anything directly, except dinners. (they do bring in dinner, right?)

I worked in a company where they started bringing in dinners and expecting people to stay long before it was necessary, just so the bosses could show how hard everyone was working. It didn’t help, this project turned into a famous disaster. (After I split though. :slight_smile: )

Got your resume out, Lightnin’?

The “Fair” Labor Standards Act exempts “computer professionals” in general and computer programmers in particular from being due overtime pay if they’re salaried and payed more then (snort) $455 per week or $27.63 per hour. I really doubt he’ll be able to sue (if he was salaried; state laws may vary; IANAL, so check with one, etc.).

The best thing to do if you’re an IT professional whose being worked like a dog is to find another job and leave.

No, I still don’t get it. The coworker quit the job so the problem is solved. It wasn’t slavery. I had a boss once that taught me to say “No” flatly to unreasonable demands. I have tried it with different employers and coworkers over the years and it usually works quite well. If it doesn’t work, that is probably not a place I wanted to be under any circumstances.

I see why some of you complain about being treated like robots and human drones. It is because you act like it or at least have working personalities that make you seem like you are.

These people aren’t your parents. Stand up for yourself and then quit if you need too. I have done it and it works out the best for everyone.

Please note that I am not taking up for the behavior of the employer in the OP. It was unprofessional and likely anti-productive. I am just saying that if it is that bad, get out before you suffer permanent psychological damage.

I’d bet that at least part of his overtime happened before the new laws took effect. A few months back out of the blue I got a check in the mail as part of a class action suit someone filed against my former employer. They had classified me as salary (I was a computer professional) when I didn’t meet the requirements. I think I got about 1500 bucks or so after the lawyer took his part etc…but it was better than nothing.

The thing is, quitting doesn’t always look like a viable option.

Two years ago, I had an awful boss. He repeatedly harangued me when he would make a mistake, had me routinely work through lunch, and, when I asked for a well-earned raise, spent a good 20 minutes telling me how useless and incompetent I was. I stayed with him for 18 months, longer than any other of his administrative assistants before or since. The reason I did was when he hired me I’d been laid off for seven months and, indeed, was only looking for clerical work because the IT market was so slow. If I’d quit, I wouldn’t have been eligible for unemployment, and my savings had been depleted while I’d been laid off. If I’d had a family to support, it would have been worse.

Fortunately, things worked out well. I’d been discretely job hunting and had had an interview when he told me things weren’t working out well and he thought we might be better off without each other. I agreed and was able to job hunt openly. The net result is I’m in a better paying IT job with a much better employer and, last I heard, he’s on my second successor.


Where you live is obviously a highly personal choice but there are many places with beautiful scenery in the United States. And you don’t have to deal with the fact that the PPP of Croatians is around $11,000/year, about 1/3 that of the United States. So unless you move there with a lucrative job you’ll need to accept a vastly decreased disposable income. And of course theres almost a 14% unemployment rate.

Have any sources to back up the “more efficient” position?

Remember that, if you were to live in Europe on average your salary would be less and your chance of getting a job would be less as well (EU nations have around 9.5% unemployment versus 5.5% in the United States.)

Many european states also have more people living in poverty than the United States (UK, Poland, most of the Balkans…)

The grass is always greener on the other side. . .

And yet the labor movement cannot be bothered to organize programers. Then they wonder why people think unions are irrelevant.

How big a disposable income do you need? In my experience, “disposable income” usually translates as “money your employer pays you to put up with their bullshit”. Give me a job deliviering pizzas with college drop-outs anyday.

You really can’t compare per person GDP directly versus standard of living.
It correlates, but when people get paid less, equilibrium prices for nearly everything are lower.
Do you think groceries in Croatia cost the same as here?
How about rent?
It keeps going. No, $11K in Croatia won’t get you what $35K gets you here, but I’ll bet for sure that it will get you more than $12K gets you here.

That’s why I used purchasing power parity figures, not GDP per per person figures.

A pretty big one, personally. I’ve come to like living with a certain degree of free-spending ability. But YMMV, that’s why I said it’s a highly personal thing. Not everyone needs all that much money to support what they enjoy doing.

Man, I agree, but I seem to be a voice in the wilderness. I work in the software industry where, up to now at least, working ungodly hours of overtime is considered some sort of macho badge of pride. It seems so obvious that you get quickly diminishing returns on quality with every hour over and above the normal work week. To me, this is just the hallmark of poor project management. And programming in most places is considered a white collar job, so no overtime.

Unions would love to organize programmers. However, every single cultural aspect of coding–“white collar,” “individualist” workers, vagueness of labor metrics, availability of steady advancement in the first 40 years of the industry, etc.–works against organization.

I support the concept of organized labor, but I doubt that I could ever be persuaded to join a union as a programmer. When labor is the only commoditya worker has with which to bargain, organizing with other workers makes sense. Too many aspects of coding (at least in business applications, where I work) are outside the pure “labor” aspect of employment.

It almost sounds as though game-producing coders are judged purely on labor, but if that is true, then any effort to ofrganize them would simply result in all the jobs being shipped to India. (An awful lot of the jobs in my end of the field are either being shipped to India or handed to H-1B Indians who come to the U.S., so there is ample reason to believe that the gaming industry would simply follow suit–if they have not already begun to do so.)

This is worth repeating.

Right. Programming is one of the most talent driven white-collar jobs that I know of. Two mediocre programmers can try to debug some complicated code for a week and maybe, just maybe come up with the correct solution. A really talented programmer might be able to casually scan the the same code with feet propped up on the desk and simply say “change this and move this here”. Who is more valuable from a labor standpoint versus an effectiveness standpoint? Effort doesn’t count for much in programming or the computer jobs in general. There are some grunt jobs that rely on effort more but those tend to be at the lower levels. That sounds like an especially poor candidate for unionization.

Crud. I like EA’s games. I’ve given them a lot of business. That sucks. At least I won’t anymore…