How much actual work do you get done within a typical week?

My work week is 37.5 hours (although technically I am a salaried employee, not hourly).

In a typical week here, I do maybe two to three solid hours of actual work. No, really. But as far as I’m concerned, the deal I made when I signed the contract is that I’m to be paid for 37.5 hours as long as I’m here those hours. It’s not like I’m accumulating time when there’s no work to do. (We can’t take overtime anymore, at least for the time being.)

When I’m busy, however, I can get what my manager thinks is a week’s worth of work done in maybe 15 hours. Tops.

Things are about to become hectic here for the next few weeks, and I’ll probably be quite busy, but certainly not “37.5 hours” kind of busy.

My last job was the complete opposite: I was run ragged, always doing overtime, and paid maybe two thirds of what I make here.

I was just wondering who else is in the same boat. And if you work your ass off, more power to you, and please don’t get on my case. :wink: It’s not my fault it works this way at this fucked company.

  • s.e.

My first job out of university was like that, but worse. I could get two weeks worth of work done in two hours.
I’m not kidding. The job was very project driven, and I’d be handed something and told: I expect this next Friday. In an hour and a half I’d be done, done, done. Work printed, triple checked for spelling errors, professionally laid out according to all specs and standards, finished!
I taught myself how to type with a Dvorak keyboard layout, and spent loads of time surfing the web for origami sites.

My current job is good. I do exactly one day’s worth of work each day.

See, you should work with children. I work 31.5 hours a week, and all but 4.5 hours of the this time is spend being run ragged by the little people. The rest of the time involves planning, or staring off into space during meetings(about 50-50 of that)

I’m a lab tech so the question here gets rather difficult.

I’m also saleried in a state where saleried = no overtime.

If you look at my experimental schedual, lately I’ve been doing about 3-4 hrs of lab work a day on average.

The problem is with experiments many of them involve doing little bits at a time then letting it incubate… Which means a 4 hr experiment may only require 25 min of actual work. The rest of the time is spent staring at a timer. Fortunately this means I can stack experiments (do like 3 or 4 at the same time).

My experimental schedual is dictated by my boss (the guy with the PhD :). So for the last couple of months I’ve been averaging maybe 10 hrs of actual work a week. What pisses me off is that since I have to ‘work the experiments’ and not the clock I end up doing half that work on the weekends… On the plus side I leave early.

Well, we used to be able to take overtime, but the option’s no longer there on our electronic timesheets. It’s because of cutbacks. And we can only accumulate 2 1/2 hours extra time per week.

In a way, I’m in the same position. I do my work (I’m a tech writer), then pass it on to my manager for her preliminary edits, then I make the changes. What holds me up is when I send out checking copies to the engineers, who take their sweet time reading my chapters and getting back to me. (And you want to release this product when?!?) So if I have nothing else to do, I’m essentially blocked. I had a long independent project (creating new styles for our manuals and a style guide) that last a few months, but I just had to hand in my final version just this morning. Luckily, things are going to be pretty busy the next few weeks.

I highly doubt, however, if a week will actually be filled with 37.5 of bona fide work… :wink:

  • s.e.

After a few successful years, my boss told me to write my own contract. :cool:

This is not as easy as it sounds. ‘Work 1 hour per week from Bermuda’ is not going to go down well.

So I wrote a pretty fair job description. The boss read it carefully and simply said ‘OK’.

I have a great job!

I’m a home health nurse.

I make up my own schedule.

I take breaks when I want, or do without breaks if I don’t want.

I go home when my work is done.

Good money, too. Nice to be paid for your education and skills.

Best damn nursing job I have ever had.

I’d say in a typical week, I only do about 15 minutes of real, actual work.

Yeah but the zoning out staring at the computer screen feels like work, doesn’t it?

And see, this is why I want to puke when I read about “America’s work ethic” and “America’s high productivity rate”.

I get at LEAST 40-60 posts written on the SDMB every week!

I’m at work right now, doing the my ussual work routine. Reading the SDMB and occasionally posting. My work week varies greatly. This week I’ve been fairly busy and I’ve been alone for about 35 of the 40 hours (ussually I have a co-worker). Last night the internet went out. No television, no internet, no one to talk to but I have to stay here just incase the phone rings. I watched a movie (Suicide Kings, I wasnt impressed). Anyway, this week has been a bit more busy. I’d say I’ve actually worked maybe 3.5 to 4 hours and I have about 45 minutes of work to do tonight. I have an excuse though. I do computer maintenance on a phone switch here at Offutt AFB. If it aint broke there is nothing for us to do. Its USSUALLY not broke. There have been weeks were we didnt have any jobs on mid shift. I’d say we AVERAGE maybe …ummmmm I’m gonna guess 1.4 hours a week of work. Maybe a bit higher.

Ahhh, but what is the definition of work.

If it is churning out a deliverable, then I’m gone. I don’t do the do thing.

If it’s ensuring that other people do the do thing, then I’ve done the thing it is that I’m supposed to do.

Meetings (the bane of most people’s existence) exist for me because that’s the way my organisation ensures that the people who do the doing are being monitored to ensure that they do what it is they are supposed to do, but to the doers it looks like management aren’t doing anything.

I have about 2 hours of meetings a day, and yes, they could be shorter if everyone simply said they were still doing what is was they were supposed to be doing, and then even allowing for jokes, you’d be out of there in 5 minutes. But that’s my job.

The rest of it is looking at the people doing the do thing and making sure that whatever it is they’re doing, gets done and gets done right.

So there’s not a lot that I do, but ensuring people who do the doing, do the doing.

I could get by with about 1 hour of solid making the doers do per day, but I stretch it out to 8, 'cos that’s the time I get paid for.

The standing joke of hows many hours a day do you work, tends to get a response of ‘oh, about half’.

I work in IT by the way … can’t you tell.

And on the other end of the spectrum…

I’m a TA (Teaching Fellow, actually – full responsibility for two classes). In theory, I work nine hours a week, counting office hours. In practice, when you throw in class prep, grading, conferring with students outside of regular office hours, and general bureaucracy, it works out to anywhere between twenty-five and thirty-five hours a week.

Then again, I tend to spend most of my office time posting to the SDMB, so it’s not all bad.

Yeah, but Fretful office hours are for getting your own work done because students never show up :slight_smile: And if you’re putting in that kind of time, I’m glad I went to South Carolina instead of one state north. I taught 2 and 1, and even during the 2 semesters I kept it down to twenty or less. Then again, I had a philosophical problem with getting paid slave wages, no benefits, and working more than the half-time I was getting credit for.

I’ve moved over from academe to textbooks now, and I don’t know what my schedule will be like. I’m expecting about 40% travel (60% at the ends of the semesters), but I’ll also be working out of the house the rest of the time. If it’s anything like my dad’s jobs as a pharmaceutical rep, I fully expect to be sitting around watching CNN while I’m waiting for a conference call or an instructor to call me back.


For most of us here our lack of ‘being productive’ is a matter of running out of work. If I lacked a work ethic I’d tell me boss to shove it when he expects me to work on weekends.

Regardless, look at the statistics… No matter what we do American’s have some of the highest numbers of hours logged in the office and our productivity figures are one of the, if not the highest in the world.

I’m just glad that I’m not in that period of last summer when I was putting in 20+ hrs a week in the BSL-3. I should get time and a half for working in that place.