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Limbic Region (3985)

Limbic Region
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I love to code perl. If you want to hire me, see details on my homepage.
Thursday April 02, 2009
02:28 PM

My Ideal Work Week

[ #38740 ]

In case you weren't aware, the US and Europe have extremely different perspectives on giving employees time off. I am very fortunate that I get 42.5 paid days off a year (19.5 vacation, 13 sick and 10 federal holidays). It would be great if I could re-arrange that time off.

How many hours of work do I actually work to get my salary?

52 weeks a year x 40 hours a week = 2080 hours
42.5 days paid off x 8 hours = 340 hours
2080 - 340 = 1740 actual work hours

Ok, now let's say I only wanted to work 3 days a week. That sounds sweet. I would have to work 12 hour days to get close to the 40 but still - I wouldn't mind working 12 hour days if it meant having 4 days off for 3 days worked. How many weeks a year would I have to work in order to account for the 1740?

1740 / 36 = 48 weeks and 1 day

Wow - let's knock that 1 day off as unpaid leave cause really - who wants to get paid for 1 day if the alternative is 11 days off in a row?

So if I could convince my employer to agree, I could work 3 days a week - still have 4 weeks of vacation and make effectively the same salary. Now that is my idea of an ideal work week.

Yes, some might point out that if a holiday happens to fall on the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (those are the days I would work) then I would either have to take unpaid leave or work. Really - who cares with a deal like that.

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  • I did 4 x 10hr days for a couple of years. At the beginning it was great because I got a couple extra distraction-free hours in the morning before others arrived at the office.

    But after the first year, I found it draining. In winter, I never saw daylight except from my office window. It always seemed that my day off corresponded to an important meeting or a client emergency. Bad days *really* dragged on. When I switched back to 5 x 8hr days it was a relief.

    I think plans like yours always sound good on

    • Agreed - I worked four day weeks for a while last year to "use or lose" some paid leave time. This isn't quite the same as your situation - in theory they were four 8hr days.

      But in practice what happened was that I had to squeeze five days' work into those four days because of meetings, colleague expectations, etc. I was glad to go back to a five day week!

      My tip would be to take the day off in the middle of the week, even though it seems counter-intuitive. Three day weekends seem to be very hard to mana

  • As mentioned above, it can be a drag in the long term.

    Also, who productive can you really be for periods longer than 6-8 hours?

    Some days I'm a zombie after only 6 hours, but there are days I can go 10-12 and feel ok.

    I'm a sysadmin though so my tasks aren't typically the same thing all day every day.

  • Also, who productive can you really be for periods longer than 6-8 hours?

    I agree completely. I know many developers/engineers/admins can be productive for 12+ hours at a time on a single project, but those who can do that every workday are vanishingly rare.

  • Luckily, IMO at least, this isn't possible in the EU, at least when working for an employer. If an employee were to work more than a week of days >10 hours, the employer would probably end up paying a fine. (Exceptions can be made for the occasional day, if the employer has deadlines to keep.)

    Also whats this odd practice of counting the number of paid sick days as "time off"? No wonder you guys don't get much holiday..