Just got off a Skype call with the old supervisor. Sounds like there's a good opportunity for content dev, so some solid points to the yes column for taking this job. On the other hand, I mentioned to him I didn't like the crazy hours I worked when I was there before. He said that it was a little better because they have a team we can hand some things off to overnight, but not a lot, then said the extra hours are just part of the job. On one hand, I get it—the nature of our work means that it doesn't come in regular amounts or intervals. On the other hand, there are other offices that actually turn down work when it gets busy. Our doesn't.
So I will obviously need to set boundaries so that work doesn't constantly bleed into my personal life.
However, I'm struggling because there's no clear answer in terms of knowing where to set boundaries on how frequently and how much I will work past 5:00 and/or 40 hours a week. Is 45 acceptable but 46 or 45.25 hours isn't? Or is 50 not unreasonable but 65 is the hard limit? Where do you draw that line?
At what point does it cross over into being an issue of excessive department workloads, project managers not understanding that schedules are estimates that require at least some flexibility, inability of the project manager to schedule work within estimates and office hours, and unwillingness of the company to hire adequate staff? Is it my responsibility to make up for poor practices on the part of other employees and the company? If so, why? At some point it feels like I'm being asked to not have a personal life because it might interfere with work, and that's not okay. I understand that client deadlines are non-negotiable for the most part. I just don't understand why they aren't set within reasonable parameters when the project manager has the information in front of them in the estimate and why our department can't turn down work when we're already significantly over our maximum capacity. There are other offices that can take the work, and it's not like we won't get any more work if we do that. There's plenty of work to go around.
Here's the thing: I actually like working extra if it's only a little bit and only once in a while because it feels like I'm helping out when I don't have to. And I don't have a lot going on outside work, so it's not actually a hardship (though frankly if I'm living in a city, I hope to change that because I want to fully experience it). I also understand and accept that being salaried means that this is simply part of the job, at least to a certain point. But employees have to sleep at some point, so where exactly do you draw that line?
This is obviously a boundary issue, which I'm not super great at. But reinforcement will come with practice, so that's fine, I'll learn as I go, and quite frankly I welcome the opportunity because developing the skill will help in other areas of my life as well. So it's just a matter of where a logical point to place the boundary is actually at.
I could really use some advice. I feel like there's some equation that I'm missing a part of. (Or maybe what I'm missing is just that there isn't a clear answer.)