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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?




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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. Can I get an “AMEN”…this is right sir!

  22. 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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