Longest Consecutive Work Streaks

This is all about competition, people, so bring your sob stories.

My office just finished relocating, and we’re not a huge firm, so everyone was heavily involved in the organizing/packing/unpacking/etc. I ended up working 10 days straight (which directly followed a 10-day vacation), and I’m finally enjoying my first day off here on the 4th of July. Now, I’ve done plenty of whining about my working streak, but I know that in the grand scheme of things, 10 days is probably nothing.

So I want to know to the following questions:

**1) What’s the longest streak of working days you’ve had to endure, and what was the occasion?

  1. Also, what’s the longest number of consecutive hours you’ve had to work on one shift?**

By the way, while I think that anyone mentioning “being a parent” would skew the results for this particular thread, I want to give a special acknowledgement to all the mothers and fathers here whose jobs clearly never end.

  1. It was at least two weeks straight, and it might have been 21 days. We had been handed all the graphic work for a major conference and had to do dozens of presentations (this was before PowerPoint – they were made up of individual slides created on a computer graphics program). We also had to desktop all the presentations into written format (no just taking the slides – they were kept as illustrations) – but the entire paper had to be desktopped and sent to the printer. We got the job about a month before the conference, when the original vendor crapped out. We all worked evenings and weekends to get the thing done. It involved creating the World’s Most Expensive Nametags,*but I did get to do the slide of the women flashing the presenters.

*Instead of handwriting names for latecomers, they wanted official name tags. This was before laser printers, so throughout the day during the conference, they’d give us a few new names. We’d go to the typesetter to have them set (at double-rush rates), then to the printer to be printed (at double-rush rates) and finally drive them over to the conference. I’m guessing each name tag was around $50.

  1. During that time I had a couple of 12 hour days. I think I surpassed it a couple of years earlier, when we started at 8 am and worked until midnight for a conference – on Labor Day. Double time and a half! I left at midnight and came back the next morning at 8. I saw someone and asked when he left. He hadn’t.

Science grad student here … I’ve been in every day since May 2nd. I have an experiment running that needs to be tended to every day. It will (hopefully) last a few more months. I say hopefully, because that means that things continue to work and I’ll get the data I need. I’m guessing that most scientists have had similar (and likely longer) stretches at some point in their career.

I worked about 75 or so hours one fun week. I was working a couple restaurants because they had a managerial crush. Of course, my female birth giver went and got the car stolen the Sunday before this is to happen. (Yes, she got it stolen. Keys in ignition, car still running and she ran into the gas station. Thanks, Deborah.) As a direct result of my no car-ed ness, I had to rollerblade to work. Rollerbladed to two locations, one 4 miles away, another 10. I’d open at one location, close at another. 7 days straight. The following week, I worked roughly 4 or 5 more days before getting the next two in a row off.

Fun times, fun times.

I just realized I didn’t answer my own second question.

The longest number of hours I worked was just this past Friday, on the actual day of our move. During the day, I was helping get people’s computers set up and such, and it wasn’t until 6pm that the movers showed up to start delivering our files and furniture from the old location. I (and a few others) had to stick around to direct traffic and make sure everything got put where it belonged at the new office.

So I arrived at 6:45am Friday morning and left for home at 1am Saturday morning. I am admittedly lazy and have no ambition to break that record, ever.

Two hundred and some days, from August 7th 2002 through March 3rd 2003. I don’t really want to know exactly how manydays that was. I had two jobs at the time and I worked a number of times from 4:00 am to midnight, but most days were in the 8-12 hour neighborhood. I worked it out once to an average of about 11 hours/ day. I’m down to one job now, but I still routinely go 7-8 weeks between days off.

August 28, 2005 to mid-December 2005. I had the contract to provide media monitoring and analysis or FEMA. It was awarded immediately prior to Katrina smacking into New Orleans. Oy. Every single day my team and I tracked all media coverage of FEMA in all outlets.

The longest single run for me was about 20 hours election day 1998 while I was covering the Hill.

For Lady Chance however, when software deliverable dates come up she does that routinely. The record for her is 35 1/2 hours straight work with her team. Ugh.

I was working in a convenience store in 2003 when it was sold to a family from Canada and I wound up quitting the previous company to work for them.

In the six weeks I worked for them before being fired for miscommunication (I thought I had switched shifts with the person working seconds and wound up opening up four hours late), I worked over a month without a day off – and may’ve worked the entire time without a day off. I honestly don’t remember – and was averaging 60-80 hours a week. I’d be sent home for about an hour or two for break but otherwise was opening up at 8:00 and closing at 10:00 or 11:00 depending on the night. As I was being paid under the table at the time, I didn’t mind, though. It was good money for the work.

That said, my first manager with the company I quit had worked for over a year without a day off due to the huge turnover with the company. Only three people worked a store so a person quitting really screwed the two people remaining.

Graduate school. In 3 years I took one sick day and 3 days off (Christmas of each year), as well as two trips back home (one by itself; the other one was while coming back from being an exchange researcher in germany).

I was getting paid for being there, so I count it as a job.

As a young lawyer, I worked on a document review, where you look over boxes and boxes of documents for a variety of reasons. I went 31 days straight, working between 8 and 15 hours a day reviewing documents. By the end, my hands were so cut up you could see more bandaid than skin. Now that I am older and wiser, if I have a document review to do, I break out my “document review kit,” which includes latex gloves to protect my hands.

As for the longest shift, probably around 48 hours or so. It was during a trial, and during a particular week in the trial when things didn’t go as expected (we anticipated that a witness would go for a day, and the witness ended up staying on the stand for the whole week). I started out the week at just over 24 hour shifts (come in 6 am, leave about 9 or 10 am the next day, coming back around 3 pm to leave the next day at 9 or 10 am), and then it went to where I didn’t leave at all. I don’t remember too much very clearly from the end of that week. Except that I remember being cold, and it seemed like nothing I could do would keep me warm.


When I was first starting out working for a vet hospital, we had a very high turnover due to the fact that my first vet/boss was a screamer. A clinic that should have had at least 5-6 employees often got by with just 2. During one such employee low, I worked 30 days straight, about 10 hours a day except Sundays were about 4 hours. The vet himself did the kennel one Sunday so I could have 1 day off… I think I worked about 3 weeks consecutively after that. All at the whomping pay rate of $7/hour. Who hoo…

The longest shift I worked was a few months ago, I worked 14 hours straight when our office computers crashed and the tech support was less than knowledgeable about how to fix it.

When I work conventions it’s normal to work 2 - 3 weeks in a row without a day off, sometimes up to 20 hour days. It gets kind of stressful but it’s good money (usually between $15 to $22 an hour).

When I worked at a movie theatre, my manager once went two and a half years without a day off. Eesh.


6 months or so, I don’t remember for sure. 12 - 16 hours per day. Had a convenience store in an affluent area and couldn’t get any decent help. Got married, took a week off for the honeymoon, and realized we couldn’t live like that.

As an intern on the vascular surgery service - my first month of residency - I walked into the hospital on a Friday at 6am and left it on the following Monday at 7 pm. I was not awake the entire time; I fell asleep here and there. I had to have my wife bring me an extra change of underwear 'cause I only had two changes of clothes at the hospital.

I did at least four months without a day off in my fourth year of residency: pediatric surgery (six straight weeks on call) followed by general surgery at the VA (six weeks on call) followed by trauma (six more weeks of 30-36 hrs on, 12 off).

I was a paralegal working on a big merger and doing document review, in addition to whatever else I did, from February to mid-August. I put in a lot of long days but I also had a few when I only put in a few hours, to compensate for opening offices/gathering documents for visiting paralegals from the other side of the merger, who worked weekends. In the summer I put in some very long days but I really tried to spread it out and did weekend work to catch up in preference to working 10+ hour days. Why? Because I was pregnant and got tired easily.

For some other people in my office this regimen continued from Feb. through October. However, on a day in mid-August, when the associate attorney and I had just reviewed and packed up several boxes of documents to send off for some kind of filing, my water broke. I punched my fist into the air and danced around the office and told my coworker I would not be in the next day, or for the foreseeable future, and she was jealous. And, as the date of the merger kept getting put back, I kept advancing the date I would return from maternity leave. (Ha, they couldn’t make me go back!)

(The boss had decreed that nobody would take a vacation that summer. If I hadn’t needed the insurance benefit, I would have quit. A week and a half after I went back after maternity leave I was told the whole department was being laid off–which we had figured, since the surviving entity would not need two legal departments–but everyone was so overworked by then that nobody even cared.)

PS to Campion–we did the latex glove thing too. Better than a rubber finger, keeps you from getting paper cuts, and once we saw how dirty those gloves got we were aghast.

The longest shift: the day I got back from my (one-week) honeymoon, I worked (at a weekly newspaper) from 9am until 7am the next day, went home, took a shower, got back about 8:30, and worked until noon-thirty, at which time the paper went off to the printer. This actually was only a little longer than usual. The typical hours were 9am-9 or 10pm the day before deadline, 8am-noon on deadline day. It being a small outfit, other people had taken on some of my work, but not all of it.

I work in the litigation consulting practice of a management consulting firm. Part of our job is to manage document databases so the lawyers and forensic accountants can do document reviews electronically. Even so, seeing what a “document review” was inspired me to tear up my law school application.
Typically I work a 50ish hour week but sometimes we get days where a team needs to be there working until 10, 12, 3 am. It’s better now than about a year ago when we were getting out at 10 or later every night with constant weekend work.

Now I just don’t give a crap. I’ll stay to make sure the job gets done, but I’m done with this workaholic ‘I don’t have a life’ ‘look how dedicated our people are before the quit en masse’ bullshit. I don’t work for an investment bank and I don’t see a track to partner in six years making $500,000 a year. Play the 80+ hour a week game on the college hires who don’t know any better or the IT dorks suffering from OCD.

I work part-time on the weekends in addition to my full-time job, and while for the past few months I’ve been limiting it to Saturdays only, for a long time 7-day weeks were the norm for me. I don’t know how long I’d gone without a single day off, but two months wouldn’t be surprising, with a total of maybe 6-10 days completely off in a year.

For consecutive hours, my record is probably around 30. Some of our designers have been known to stay two or three days in a row.

100-something days straight in the army. We were short-staffed, and there was a lot to do. Now some of those days were shorter than others; we’d get out with a five hour workday, but still . . . I remember how great that first day off was; I spent the day in Seoul just wandering around soaking up the city. One of the downsides to becoming a civilian is that weekends and days off lose their ineffable enjoyment. I believe you have to be suffering in your job to truly enjoy those days off.

Well last summer between the months of June and September I can count the number of days off I had on one hand. As for the longest days, well I am a theatre technician working for a summer theatre. We had minimal crew to take down an entire set, hang a new lighting plot and put a new set up in two days, oh yea and we had to focus all the of lights as well.

The worst weekend was starting work at noon on Saturday working until probably 7am Sunday, sleeping on a couch in the green room for two hours before getting back to work, and then going until 11pm that night. Then I worked 12 hour days for the next 3 days.

And I did that four times last summer.

And I am doing it again this summer…

It’s a bit better this summer. We only worked until 5 am this time.

I love my job
I love my job
I love my job
I hate my job

I would say the longest streak was about three weeks in the summer of 2003 when I worked in a lab for a professor on campus, and had a part-time retail job on Saturday, Sunday, and a few evenings. Eventually, I decided that it was too much, and I quit the second job and just started skimping more.

The longest I ever worked at one time was the summer before, working in the asbestos removeal industry. My job was to monitor the air to make sure it was clean, both the air outside the work area, to make sure nothing was leaking out, and the air inside after they were done, to make sure they removed it all. The job site was an old courthouse getting massive renovations, and as a result of both the demolition and removal going on at the same time, the “post-clean” samples I took during the day were being ruined by the massive amounts of dust being strewn up by the demolition, so I had to come in at around 2 AM for about a week and a half to take the samples before the demo started (in case you’re wondering why not after it was done, it was because this way I could drop the samples off at the lab right when it opened at 7 am. :rolleyes: )

One of those days, I had even more samples than usual to take, so I went in at 1 am, and in addition, the guy who usually came in at 8 am and took over when I left at 2 pm (so we’re still talking twelve hour days,) was sick that day, so I had to work until past 6 pm, so that’s what, about sixteen hours? Yeah, that’s my longest day.