The overtime addiction syndrome

I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to work overtime at my job right now, since I can really, really use the bigger paycheck. I mean, really.

If you ever worked even semi-regular overtime, then you know the paradox. The money’s good when you’re working it, but you have no time to do anything. Then, when it goes away, you have more time, but less money to do things. But you know what? It’s worth “doing stuff” when you don’t have the OT, as long as you live within your means overall.

Then there’s those who can’t seem to work enough. When I changed departments last year, I was coming from the department I’d been in for more than two years, that almost never does OT, to the one that does it most of the time. It was May when I started and the first holiday after I was through training and eligible for OT, was the 4th of July.

It was on Tuesday last year and I planned on taking Monday off too, so I’d have a four day weekend. I did just that, but was surprised to learn that we had the option of working on the holiday, (I didn’t know people did that) and getting paid the hours worked plus the 8 hours of holiday pay.  The supervisor went around asking what we were planning to work so she’d know who needed work assignments. Most people very quickly responded that they were working not just Monday, but Tuesday the 4th as well.

I remember thinking, “Take the day off, for God’s sake. Money grubbing workaholics.” It seemed a little overboard to me.

This week brings Good Friday, a paid holiday at my company. Guess who’s working? Yup. Yours truly. I’ve caught the overtime addiction syndrome. You see, if you work extra hours through the week, and then have a day off, then you lose the time and a half portion of the first eight hours of your overtime. If you’re not familiar, that’s because OT doesn’t start until after 40 hours worked. So holiday and vacation time doesn’t count toward the 40.

So, you end up kind of not wanting to ever take off as long as you’re working the overtime. Then, you become obsessed with maintaining a certain level of extra hours and income. (It’s all voluntary and right now, at least, there’s no limit on how much we can work.)

Personally, I max out at 15 hours of OT. Who the hell wants to work more than 55 hours a week? Not me!  In fact, I only ever did an extra ten until just the last few weeks.  But there are a few people there who do more like 65 or even more, no matter if there’s enough work to merit it, or not.

This leads me to another money malady. The poor old miser syndrome. Do you know anyone who you figure has to be pretty comfortable, but talks like they’re poor all the time? You probably have a relative like that. Annoying, isn’t it?

It seems like people who are solidly in the middle are the most generous and complain less about finances than those who are better off. Maybe that’s just my experience.

Some of those misers act like they’re on the ragged edge of disaster, financially. How do I know they aren’t? I don’t see them at the meetings. Just kidding. No, I don’t know where anyone else really is, money-wise, but some are more melodramatic than others.

Of course, in these times, financial security is much harder to attain than in the past, with whole industries collapsing, pensions being a thing of the past, downsizing, outsourcing, streamlining, and all that stuff. I don’t mean to undermine legitimate concerns and fears. I’m just talking about a certain type when I say miser.

Well, as I said, I”m thankful I can get overtime. I just hope I recognize when I’m caught up enough in my finances, and don’t keep clawing for more. Of course, at the rate I’m going, I won’t be caught up until I have a successful writing career. And, that’s fine. It’s a good motivator.

A final thought: remember to poke your head up and look around when you get the chance. Live life as fully as you can. If you don’t have to work the long hours, don’t overdo it. After all, what good is padding your retirement to be a little more comfortable then, if you have no life in the meantime? Just my opinion. It’s your life. Maybe you will be able to retire earlier if you burn the midnight oil now. If that’s the case, can’t blame you for that.

As for me, I’m very determined to do all I can to reach my potential while earning as much as I need to now, and work for my future too. I could definitely use some time management tips. Also, ideas to enjoy life fully, on the cheap.

2 thoughts on “The overtime addiction syndrome

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