Dear Matthew: Can I cut down on my time at work?
BD’s agony uncle on the inevitability of long hours
Question: I was working flat out at the end of the year, so I made a new year’s resolution to stress less and rein in my hours. However, this week I have already worked late three nights. I am angry with myself and embarrassed that I cannot keep my intentions up.
Answer: Long hours are the norm for a lot of architects. Although some offices are less demanding, the assumption that contracted hours are a minimum goes with the territory. The premise is that being an architect is a vocation, which demands commitment beyond the line of duty. Whether you agree or think that a job is a job, there are moments in your career when putting in extra time is an unwritten part of the contract.
Architects aren’t the only ones — try speaking to a corporate lawyers about long hours. But what can rankle is that fact that the graft in other professions is a stepping stone to better pay.
If you think you are working inefficiently, then some self telling-off is in order. But if the job simply demands long hours, that may not be something you can affect easily. Given the realities of the job market, I would not work to rule, but do your best, and make sure you do what is necessary. Above all, don’t beat yourself up over breaking your resolution.
It should be a reminder, not another source of stress.
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Architect Matthew Turner of buildingonarchitecture.com has worked at a range of offices as well as being a client adviser, project manager and competition juror.