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What would it take to get you to work 80 hours per week?

Mar 6
Time is money

I’ve interviewed a ton of people in my career.  When I ask people what their normal work week looks like – I “often” hear – “Oh, I work 70-80 hrs per week, all the time!”   I instantly know they are lying – because no one works 80 hours per week all the time!  Do you really know what 80 hours per week looks like? Here’s some examples”

  • 16 hours per day – Monday thru Friday – that’s coming in at 6am and not leaving until 10pm – EVERY day.


  • 12 hours per day Monday thru Saturday with an EASY 8 on Sunday.


  • Oh, and by the way, the two above examples must be with paid lunches and breaks.


The only way you work 80 hours per week is if you own the place. How much would I have to pay you to work 80 hours per week?  Would you do it for $10,000 per week? $520K per year?  No you wouldn’t – you would quit after a month or two – now you’re lying to yourself.  Heck – most owners aren’t even willing to work 80 hours per week.  That’s why so many small businesses fail – people underestimate how much it takes to make a business successful!

“Oh, I would work 80 hours per week if I LOVED what I did.”   Really?  You think you would still LOVE it after working 80 hours per week, week after week, month after month, year after year?  I think it’s incredibly awesome when I meet someone who I truly see Loves their job – you know the type – even if they weren’t getting paid, they would be doing what they’re doing.  Unfortunately 99.9% of us aren’t in a position where we can “work” for free – no matter how much we Love it.  We have bills, responsibilities – we don’t have daddy or a spouse paying our way – we have real life.

80 hours per week – now you’re thinking about it, right?  It’s a lot of time to put forth for one part of your life.  How do you get your grocery shopping done? Watch your kids play at school? Get the cat to the vet? Get your haircut? Get your teeth cleaned?  See your therapist?!

As HR Pros we put so much time, effort and thought into building our rewards and recognition systems.  Many of us think we do this so we can get our employees to give us that extra discretionary effort – to work those hours over 40.  To get our employees to want to work 80 hours per week.  Unfortunately, most of us have rewards and recognition to just get our people to do the job they were hired for – not extra.   When this happens – you no longer have a rewards and recognition system – this now becomes part of their full compensation package.  Rewards and Recognition shouldn’t be put in place “to get the job done” – it should be put in place to reward and recognize those who do more.

I know what you’re thinking – “Tim if I could just have a rewards and recognition system that would get my employees to actually work 40 hours, I’d be happy! 80! You’re out of your mind!”  Believe me, I understand, but that’s what we do, or should be doing for our organizations.  Get great talent, keep great talent, find ways to get that great talent to give us everything they’ve got =’s great HR Pro.

So, what would it take to get you to work 80 hours per week?




41 Comment to “What would it take to get you to work 80 hours per week?”

  1. I work 84 hours a week most of the time.7 days per week and 12 hours per day.Because the company I work for will not add extra shifts.if you go to the doctor they count it against you for do not know what you’re talking about.come to Webasto and find out

    jason moberly
    Aug 27, 2015
  2. I seen this, as I’m browsing opinions on whether I should go back to finish up some more college or continue to work my prime years away. I’m in the oilfield, work a rather dangerous job (explosives & radiation tools) and I average between 170-205hours in a 2week pay period. It’s a way of life here; you learn to live it and love it or you leave it. I’ve seen a ton of people leave over the last 6years. If I had an option to make just half this income and not kill my body then I would leave it. People talk about 80+ work weeks being impossible, but roughnecks do it in the heat of summer/cold of winter, through rain and dust storms, away from their friends and families weeks at a time, and doing work that risks your health and life. Sadly that only brings in $80k for the average male in his first few years- his “proving” period. All the money stays up top to the guys working 9-5 on those fat salaries with all the benefits. With the way we get paid, Uncle Sam keeps 48% of my income to feed those whom sit at home waiting on their handouts. I sleep in cheap hotels, survive off gas station sandwiches, and see my crew more then my wife. I don’t make $10,000 a week and I still show up. Otherwise I’m look at $35,000 a year, living in debt, never owning a thing I possess, and wondering if my government handouts are on their way or not. The average income for where I live is $34k, so I make a fine living; but it’s a spit in the face compared to the sacrifices. The biggest fit I have are those who do more then me and still live in that poverty- teachers, soldiers, firefighters, & eat. They work the hours & also endure life threatening risks and make nothing to live on. I know what your thoughts are- teachers aren’t at risk: however, between violent youth & school shootings, they’re the only ones who face risks they can’t predict. The whole system is screwed up, society is a joke. If you play golf all week & are the public face you make millions, but if you’re the one who sweats and bleeds for the company then we only pay you minimum wage….. All the blue collar workers who own their possessions all work 80+hours weekly cause that’s they only way to do such.

    Aug 9, 2015
  3. My dad works 2 full time jobs.. That’s 80hours a week.. He’s been doing it for 10years how do you think he feels?

    May 12, 2015
    • Kyle –

      My guess is he feels tired and sick of working two full time jobs. I’m not talking about people like your Dad. I’m talking about people who over inflate the hours they work to look more important and busy than they truly are.


      Tim Sackett
      May 13, 2015
  4. I work 75 to 85 a one week a month n I hate it I’m beat for the next few days 55 on other weeks but I get paid lunch sand time and half but Uncle Sam rapes me takes out 400 to 600 a week

    May 10, 2015
    • But I also do side jobs when I get them so I’m working a lot until I get my masters and I can chill back a little I do plumbing and gas. So I’m on call and you never no when you will get a call. This winter I got slammed with work due to lines freezing ppl not having water busted mains

      May 10, 2015
  5. Try working 84 hours a week. 7 12 hour shifts with 3 days of rest and then on for another 7. With a 5 mile walk each way stuck on to it. Boom fucker.

    Apr 22, 2015
    • Luke –

      “Boom Fucker” is the single best comment I’ve ever received!

      Thank you,


      Tim Sackett
      Apr 24, 2015
  6. 3 jobs: Monday & Tuesday 7am-3:30pm, Wednesday-Friday 7am-11pm, Sat 10am-11:30pm, Sunday 10am-3pm = greater than 80

    Apr 14, 2015
  7. I read a few comments below and I realized some people enjoy being slaves. No problem. I am hiring in US. Minimum 80 hour weeks with median salary in US (no hourly pay here). You will docked pay if you work less. No breaks. One McDonald’s Happy meal per day provided. Send me your resumes. Prefer unmarried people. People with families need too much time off…
    Free market at its best. :-))
    Join the Army you idiots. You could work 24/7 there not just 80 hour weeks.

    Mar 28, 2015
  8. Whoa, such derision from someone who didn’t research this topic very deeply! The author seems to live in an ivory tower of people as privileged as he is. While focusing on people like him, he forgot that not everyone works all of their hours at a single place of employment, works M-F, or has the luxury of working only a job she or he “loves”. Those people don’t exist in the fantasy world of the author, who really should be ashamed of his arrogance and ignorance.

    I work 80 hrs plus, weekly. 40 hrs from 5am to 1:30, and 40 hrs from 2:30 to 11:00. My lunches are unpaid. I live within walking distance of both jobs. I get home by 11:30pm. The next morning I’m up at 3:45 am. Why do I do this? I was laid off and despite a masters degree I couldn’t land permanent work, or a job with health benefits, for three years. Unpaid debts, including a student loan I’ll never pay off in my lifetime, built up.

    Currently my hours are Monday through Friday, though I’ll add Saturdays for the overtime. (The optimal schedule would be one job Monday – Friday and the second, Tuesday through Saturday, affording extra sleep before work.) I try to take a half day off my longest-held job once a week to make up for lost sleep. I can deal better with working Monday – Saturday on the second job when I get that additional sleep.

    I automate bill payments, use work breaks for personal phone calls, and use PTO for appointments. I connect with friends and family via email and social media. As long as I’m paying down debts and current living expenses, I don’t have much of a personal life. I’m working hard now to ensure a more enjoyable future.

    Just because something is difficult and unpleasant doesn’t mean it can’t be done. People in other countries are industrious due to need- we see this diligence in our hardworking immigrants. USA-born Americans have it relatively easier, so many of us can’t imagine an 80 hr workweek. As you illustrate, the more fortunate amongst us can’t see past their own privilege to comprehend the lives of others.

    Jan 4, 2015
  9. There are people that work 80 hour weeks. That’s life. Some people, myself included, have financial responsibilities. It’s not that big of a deal. And no, a person does not burn out. That is a myth.

    Joe Wilder
    Nov 3, 2014
  10. I’ve been working 80 hours a week for nearly 6 months now. I work 2;30pm to 10:30pm at one job followed by 11pm to 7am at my 2nd job. My jobs are fairly easy so work isn’t really taxing.

    Oct 27, 2014
  11. You are a horrible HR rep. The people you hire must quit rather quickly because you apparently have no idea how to do your job. I work 7 am until 10 pm Monday through Saturday without a break of any kind. The company buys lunch and we eat it at our desk while still working. No smoke breaks, nothing. Is it illegal? Probably. No one says anything because there are such a limited amount of jobs in this area. Is it good money? About 30k a year, so no. Is it miserable? Yes. I hate the job so it’s like living with an abusive spouse considering I have no time at home. Mater of fact, my wife left me and took my kids because I was never there and someone moved in on the opportunity. I work to pay child support now. Before you start calling people liars you need to get off your high horse and live in the real world for a few days. You sir, are an idiot.

    Sep 7, 2014
  12. I work 85-95 hrs a week.. Been doing for two straight years now. No breaks, open every holiday and haven’t had a day off in over a year. I have a small percentage and work for a relative. It’s miserable and you have no life. I don’t recommend it to anyone to work 7 days and holidays with no vacations or breaks. To the people that do, i feel ya trust me. I work 1 12am mon-fri, sat and sunday open and close 6am till 12am. Then somedays come n even earlier for others or when short handed. Can’t wait till i have my own business completely and get a lil more rest hopefully. Moral of the story, stay n school and u won’t have to work 85-95 hrs a week to b wealthy or live comfortable, wish i did. God bless the hard working people, hope it pays off for all of us…

    Aug 26, 2014
  13. I work 85-95 hrs a week.. Been doing for two straight years now. No breaks, open every holiday and haven’t had a day off in over a year. I have a small percentage and work for a relative. It’s miserable and you have no life. I don’t recommend it to anyone to work 7 days and holidays with no vacations or breaks. To the people that do, i feel ya trust me. I work 1 12am mon-fri, sat and sunday open and close 6am till 12am. Then somedays come n even earlier for others or when short handed. Can’t wait till i have my own business completely and get a lil more rest hopefully. Moral of the story, stay n school and u won’t have to work 85-95 hrs a week to b wealthy or live Re, wish i did. God

    Aug 26, 2014
  14. I work 74 hours a week. Monday through Friday 2pm-2am, Saturday 12pm-8pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm. Everyone where I work works that many hours, many are working over 85 a week. I work in a factory making airplane parts. Would you like the name of the company, address, and phone number? Since I am lying?

    Jan 1, 2014
  15. Lol paid lunchbreak. I worked 80 hours a week for a good 12 years. 7am-ish to 7 or 8pm-ish Mon-Sat and 8-10 hours on Sunday, just for the hell of it. Coming up to EOY report time I would be doing 100 weeks for a month. All that for 55 thousand pounds (UK). But it is either that, or not work. And I wouldn’t have a paid lunch break. I tended to either go down to the cafeteria 2 floors down and bring food back to my desk and work through lunch, or get someone to get food for me, no breaks, unless you call meetings breaks – sometimes they had biscuits! I’ve given up on corporate life, taken a sea change and now work part-time. I actually came across this article as I was looking for some case studies to show to my current employer who runs her own business and works 70 hours a week. She thinks she is the only person who does this and cries foul whenever someone says anything about it. I just want to show her that there are millions of Small Business Owners in the exact same position, who work the same sort of hours etc.

    Dec 18, 2013
  16. And I don’t get breaks. I am on my feet 12-13 hrs a day 7 days a week. Wouldn’t it be nice if I was able to though!

    Oct 22, 2013
  17. As the chef of a restaurant I do not own I am working 75-80 hrs a week every week for 30k a year. My pregnant wife works 40 hrs a week at this restaurant as a bar tender.
    Since we a child on the way and am afraid to venture into another field or job because I have security here but I am miserable and my life is completely consumed by work. I’m not lying about how much I work. This is my life and it totally sucks.

    Oct 22, 2013
  18. Just because you don’t work 80 hrs a week Mr. HR blog writer, doesn’t mean others don’t and are lying. Try working out in the oilfields. We work 90-110 hrs a week routinely

    Jul 10, 2013
  19. For me, it is 11 AM to 11 PM everyday. Even though I am not working every second that I am there, but it is 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Yeah, I am related to a small business owner.

    May 21, 2013
  20. I work 80 to 85 hours per week, 7 days a week, including every holiday other than christmas…its the life of a florida farmer, you never get a break…and ya i make about $1100 per week before taxes, so I have no idea what you are talking about

    Apr 24, 2013
  21. Generally I do not read post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice post.

    Apr 8, 2013
  22. I have work 80 hours a week for the last 6 years, the only times i have not is when I am on holiday. If you think I am a liar then fair enough but here is my breakdown of my working week.
    10am til 10pm monday thru saturday 12pm til 8pm on a Sunday. I do this every week without fail so to call someone a liar for it is beyond me.

    Feb 10, 2013
  23. Inspite of you callin me a liar, I will post the fact that I have been working 80 to 90 hours a week for the past 3 months. 8to4:30 at 1st job and 5 to 11 or 12 on the second along with 8 to 9 on Sat and Sun. Sucks but the money is nice.

    Joe Smith
    Dec 18, 2012
  24. Are you kidding me? I will work 100 hours a week if you pay be $500k/year. I’m sure loads of people would do it.

    I run my own company and I work from 7 days a week. I don’t count how many hours but any time that I’m not eating or sleeping is for working.

    Sep 11, 2012
  25. I am required to work 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday with a half hour break but I actually work 7 am to midnight M-F. I take two fifteen minute breaks per day (2-2:15pm and 7:30-7:45pm). I am salaried and do not get paid overtime. During my busy time (Budget prep Sept-Dec) and fiscal year-end prep (June-July), I work Saturday and Sunday too from 8-12 hours each of those days.
    I stated that I am required to work 8-4 but I’m expected to get more work done than I can manage to complete with the hours I do work. My situation is not unique. It is very common in municipalties and school districts.
    I obviously chose the wrong profession but I’m offended by Mr. Sackett’s comments that anyone who claims to 80 hours per week is a liar.

    Tasha Stern
    Aug 5, 2012
  26. I currently working 12 hr days mon – fri 5a – 5p, Sat 5a – 4p, Sun 5a – 1p. 57 consecutive days and counting. Goin to end up doin 88 days before vacation. 40 hrs reg pay, 31 hrs ot, 8 hr double, each week.

    Jul 30, 2012
  27. Guess you haven’t done much construction work!
    I did a project last winter were we worked from 5 am to 11 pm six days a week for three awful months.

    Yeah – showers/meals were skipped, had to pay the hotel lady to wash my rags – I simply had no time.

    We ate when there was a few mins when you were waiting on rigging or a VLF test. The boss would bring us out food sometimes.

    I’ve done 5-6 rush projects like that, and others that are 40 hours a week..

    Even when I did concrete for a living, we’d work 5 15’s and a 12, then work every other Sunday till winter time.

    Jun 15, 2012
  28. I work 80 hrs a week every week. I have two full time jobs. One in the morning and then right after work I go to my second job. I mostly work 5am until midnight. I have a family who Im supporting. This was my choice to work this much. I am a welder so my work is very hard long hours daily. Im trying to support my family, myself, buy a house and pay off all my debt. Lets face it…The only way I can do all of this is to work this much. The monthly checks are very nice but boy am I a tired guy!

    Mar 24, 2012
  29. Ha! I agree. When I push lawyers on this they end up waffling and and talking about a specific period of a few weeks or months when they worked those hours.

    Engagement and burnout are two sides of the same coin. See my blogpost here:

    Mar 14, 2012
  30. Hire the right people. Yea, that’s right. Recruit people for whom the work is the reward. Ask people what they love to do v. what they’ve done. And trust people to make decisions about how best to be successful with their work and fulfilled with all areas of their life. That’s recognition. Instead of wasting time trying get things out of people, why not ask them what they want out of life?

    And if you’re an entrepreneur, then your focus should NEVER be on hours worked, but rather on CONNECTING with customers/clients. Loving what you do + having freedom to do it as YOU wish kinda takes the stank outta the grind.

    Mar 6, 2012
  31. It would take a full lobotomy and powerful medication. :-) You’re right. There’s not much of anything I would want to do for 80 hours/week.

    I guess if I were asked that in an interview though, I would reply, “It depends. First, can we review the hours-to-value matrix the organization uses to determine the relationship between the hours spent on work and the measurable value it provides?”

    Or, “If I deliver the same results in half the time, does my work decrease in value? How do you measure and promote efficiency and effectiveness in this organization?”

    Mar 6, 2012
  32. It’s definitely possible to work more than 80 hours a week. My mother works approximately 14 hours a day six days a week. When I was a teenager and had school breaks, I would work the same hours. It made me realize that I would only do that when I was grown if I were paid very, very well.

    Mar 6, 2012
  33. Great post. I agree with Marc’s comment. I’m a business owner that’s always worked 80+ hours a week (basically if I’m awake, I’m working) but there is NO WAY I would work that many hours for someone else — in a typical work environment where there is sludge, timekeeping, micomanaging, meetings, committees and politics that waste my time and ability to work at my best when I’m at my best.

    Go ROWE!

    Mar 6, 2012
  34. Can I get an “AMEN”…this is right sir!

  35. Start your own business and want it to be really successful is a guaranteed 80 hrs. a week.

    Mar 6, 2012

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