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Why Engineers Should Avoid Working Overtime

Here are numerous reasons why you should never go overtime.

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Working as an Engineer in any field at all is a very busy and tiring job. There are often times a lot of situations where there’s just a lot that you need to do, and you’ll be likely be working past your working hours. Unless you’re from the UK, you’re probably no stranger to the idea working overtime, I mean, it’ll help you finish the job, right? While it does help let you finish your work, as fellow engineers, we actually recommend you to avoid working overtime altogether. Here’s why:

1. It gives your boss the wrong idea on how long it takes to get a certain job done

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Let’s say that you have to finish a project, like making something that’ll help increase the efficiency of smartphones. You’re dedicating a lot of time in this project that twice a week, you work about 2 hours more than your 8 hour, 5 days a week shift. And let’s say it took you 4 weeks to finish it. So in total, you worked an extra 16 hours, or 2 working days. The next time your boss will give you a similar project, but instead, you decided not to work overtime. When you submit the product to your boss, he/she will wonder why you finished your work 2 days late. Why? Because sometimes, your boss doesn’t take into account the hours you work overtime on some projects, and he/she thinks that it’ll take you 4 weeks without overtime to finish a project.


Working overtime will give your boss the wrong idea on how long it takes to get the job done, and hence he/she will probably shorten the deadline to accomplish it, forcing you to work overtime yet again. It’s a vicious cycle, so it’s better to stop it before it even begins

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2. It’s unfair to your co-workers

Source: Giphy

Somewhat similar to the first point, if you work overtime, your boss will wonder why all your other co-workers are not doing their work as fast as you do, when the only difference is that you’re either working overtime and they aren’t, or you’re working more hours overtime than they do. That isn’t fair to all your co-workers who work just as hard as you do, because you’ll be receiving the praise of getting the job done fast while your boss dissappointed at your colleagues because they didn’t submit as much work as you did.

3. Some companies might not pay you for your overtime hours, even if it’s illegal

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Yes, unfortunately, this does happen, especially in developing countries. You work so hard on your job and work off the clock several times, and they promise to pay for your work overtime, yet when your paycheck comes, you earn the same amount as a working who didn’t work overtime. Although you could report this to labour departments and authorities, there will be times where the process will either take too long or your company was able to slip past the authorities by making them believe that they do pay their employees’ overtime hours when they don’t. Better safe than sorry.

4. It’s stressful

Source: Giphy

Working past your hours is ALWAYS stressful, especially when the amount of work to be done is overwhelming. It is bad for your mental health and can lead to having anxiety attacks and depression. Not only that, but additional stress can decrease your work efficiency. Similarly, it can deteriorate your motivation to go to work altogether. You can avoid all this if you just called it a day and left the remaining work for tomorrow, whilst giving yourself some time to relax at home or with your friends, and get a good night’s rest.

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5.You’ll be losing the balance between your social life and your working life

Source: ValoreBooks

Life isn’t just about your career or the money you earn, It’s also about making connections and enjoying the moment. Humans are social beings and need to interact with each other outside of work. Work overtime and you’ll deteriorate your mental health due to stress as said in the above article. So learn to let loose and enjoy life! After work, go out and party with your friends and socialize. Or stay at home, relax, and unwind, whichever you prefer. Life is there so that we can enjoy it, so make the most out of it!

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Cielo Santos

Engineer. Writer. Artist. Gamer. Musician. She dreams of building a time machine and help kittens take over the world. Is secretly the pink power ranger in real life.


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  1. While software engineering is exempt from overtime pay laws, engineers should still recognize that working overtime means that they’re sacrificing something else. It’s either their health (both mental and physical), social life and code quality.
    In the end software engineers need to assert themselves by making sure that their clients/managers know that 40+ hr work weeks are not acceptable. If their bosses/clients don’t agree, find another place of employment. The economic reality will eventually catch up – It’ll cost them more money to hire new employees to fix the code quality issues that were created by the inability to hire new employees, maintain code and keep employees around.

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