{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "When / how did you put your foot down and draw the line on consistently working 80-85 hour weeks? Seems cultural and I am seriously on the verge of burnout.", "post_id": "5ec9bb6690f37b002a08298e", "reply_count": 94, "vote_count": 24, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }
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When / how did you put your foot down and draw the line on consistently working 80-85 hour weeks? Seems cultural and I am seriously on the verge of burnout.

likesmarthelpful
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Something doesn’t add up here. There’s no MD/SM that are working endless 90 hour weeks.

I’m not saying you’re not on a shitty project here or that management doesn’t put analysts/consultant in these positions but I just don’t see how this is possible or how it can continue to happen. 55 hour weeks, sure... 90? Cmon. Something isn’t making sense.

And I say this as someone who cut my chops on a nights and weekends 9 month project when I first started. It was literal hell from 7am to 7pm with evening work in the room occasionally. And weekend deployment prep in the client office on saturdays and sundays as well (shorter days). That was 60 hours and highly, highly unsustainable... we’d get a flyback every 3 weeks for 4 days (transcontinental). So we worked 21 days at 60 hours a week and then 4 days off.

And it was a death march, everyone knew it. But it was also one of the first flagship projects with a FAANG product I guarantee everyone here uses. There were press and regulatory folks watching. It was highly contentious. The stakes were extremely high. And that was 60 hours. We were compensated with bonuses because management knew it sucked. And this wasn’t a prestigious firm. Far from it.

What type of project is this? Are the stakes so high? Or is this just a badly managed hack job on a big SAP deployment?

What firm? 🧐

likesmart

Seriously.. I am online 16 hours per day. I spend 8 of those hours online to chat while I watch TV (I live alone) with others that are doing the same or in other timezones. I would hate to think someone was working late because they thought I was working.

like

I see your concern, but you should not work when there is no need. Talk to your manager, say something like you're working on improving your productivity by reducing burnout and starting to exercise/practice mindfulness. That you'll be logging in around 8:30 am or 9 am and generally logging off around 5:30 or something, and you're happy to have a team powwow to ensure everything is on track with your deliverables sometime midday and help deal with any random fires arising (see invite attached). 90% chance they respond positively. What you have to do is just say what you're going to do tactfully and ensure they don't feel like they will ever miss deadlines because of you. Also, it doesn't hurt to ask to onboard an analyst or consultant to help with cover, especially if the budget potentially allows

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Don’t and see what happens. End your day at like 6:30 and if nothing blows up you’re in the clear. A lot of people overwork for no reason. If there is an impact it’ll teach your leadership to set reasonable expectations instead of committing to a months worth of work to be delivered in a week. If you keep working the extra hours leadership will get used to the extra work delivered in shorter timelines.

likesmarthelpful

Really look at your day. I thought it wasn't possible either, but then I really taught about it- closed my laptop during the day at times and did not respond for an hour or so, respected my lunch, asked how necessary for me to be in a call if I'm not really contributing. You find a way if you try harder

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Have never worked over 50 hours a week. Had a case where I saw the potential for the 80 hours and I put my foot down aggressively (didn’t answer my phone or check email 6-8, didn’t work on weekend, and left all night work for the morning). No repercussions I could see years later

likesmartuplifting

What?

funnylike

Been working 80 hours a week for 5 months running. Have voiced my concern multiple times to engagement manager and partner, nothing. So now I have final round interview in two weeks 🤷‍♂️

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I’ve worked on a project for a month where my schedule was literally M-F, 8am-3am/4am weekends 12pm-12am. Mainly had a bad manager who was unable to manage client’s expectation. Expected me to complete something within a month where the client’s team gave up after sitting on it for 6 months.

Get a new job.

likehelpful

This. It's pretty much the only option. You can't negotiate with crazy.

likehelpful

I wish it was so easy. My MD and SM is on before me and after me (they probably work 90 a week), both who are very young for their titles (aka they like to work hard). By bowing out I know I will get shit talked behind my back and be known as someone “who can’t handle it” or “isn’t a high performer”

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Exactly why i left that place. At least my 60-80 hours a week here are by my own desire and have direct ROI with compensation and accelerated promotions

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M&A due diligence. It became easier over time once I built secret accelerators for myself and didn't share with anyone (because if you do, expectations will change again). By Year 2, I could do what used to take me 80 hours a week in 20-30. Was watching movies in my hotel room, pretending to work while everyone else was manually categorizing stuff until 2am. You have to find ways to work smarter, not harder because there will always be cows that are OK working 80 hours per week on your team. Everyone thinks I'm superman working 80 a week without complaint or showing any signs of agitation. Great work life balance too. Just need to find a similar edge.

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@D5 the 600 page M&A Play Book would be a great place to start...

start leaving at a set time and let your SM know beforehand that you want time for the gym/studying for gmat/insert your reason also let them know you’re a team player and can dig in when you need to but constant burn is a recipe for disaster

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I agree that some crappy managers will argue regardless of the reason. After leaving a client site at 7pm, I turned down an optional group dinner to study that evening for an upcoming exam. The SM challenged why I couldn't just study for the CPA on the weekends.

The couldn’t imagine sitting in a review session with my practice leadership & hearing a SM bitch about anyone on their team refusing to work 60+ hours/week & being taken seriously. That would flag as a major performance issue for the SM, not their team.

I work 50 hrs per week & am on track for PP. my team works 45 hrs/week because that is what the client pays for, & I don’t give work away for free. My team is highly skilled & would be a nightmare to replace. It is important to me, as a leader, that they are well-rounded, which means they have adequate time to build a fulfilling personal life.

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I assume it’s 90 hours a week between the two of them, which is low at 45/week. Once you cross 70h/week in perpetuity you’re no longer productive (not including things such as travel time, commute, client dinners, events, which I don’t count in the “work” hours). Also, there are only 168 hours in a week.

like

I max myself out at 50 hours a week and 60 if a really busy week. I don’t get overtime and dislike donating hours to the client all the time. Especially when the client was a vapid witch.

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I started actually using the unbillable charge code so that the witch would see how many hours I actually worked when she asked for extra. My manager was able to get some of the work redistributed after a few cycles of that happening. The irony is that when I didn’t work the task it would take the people much longer and there were more errors - they rushed it and never validated the data between steps. I provided them the mountains of documents and queries. Nope they still didn’t do it. I am so glad I am not there now lol.

I have never worked an 80 hour week in my life. Most was 50-55 for maybe three weeks when I realized I was off my utilization target.

If you are billing all your time, you are doing two jobs. With the size of the bench, manager should be bringing in new people.

like

If you don’t pay me for 80-85 hours, I’m not working anything over what I need to. Don’t come for me talking about “ThATs nOT GoiNg TO geT you ANywHere”... you need a life or a different job if you’re working those hours and not being compensated..

like

I think every partner needs to see this post. This is just not acceptable, especially when all these firms talk about work life balance, etc. If everyone speaks up and leads by example, there won’t be posts like these. Otherwise, feels like “modern slavery”. Good luck and please take care of yourself (I worked for all Big 4) and moved on to running my own consultancy and now joined another firm at senior level and co-founded my own company.

likesmart

Speak up. Lead by example.

If they are working that much, that is a problem. You just need to set boundaries. If you don’t, this will be your life and you will burn out. If you can, try to switch projects.

like

I work 40-45 hours a week. It's all about balance. Just watch your utilization and make sure you hit your goals.

like

That's fair, I didn't look at it like that. Well grind now and figure out if the work life you want is at your current firm. If not, network and get out.

Develop the skill of setting boundaries. It sucks that it’s necessary, but it’s also done or needed in our personal lives.

If you’re still having difficulty after attempting solidly, then vote with your feet

like

It really amuses me when some one say they work 80 hours a week. Its practically not possible; the only work life balance issue in consulting should be because of travel. If your lead is smart he will negotiate the right deal and structure that keeps the balance. If you truly are working 80 hours, log those in the timesheet properly with OT and increase the project cost; when margins get impacted, people will take notice and take action. I manage a large team and advise each one of them to bring to notice if there is burn out! Don't be shy and speak up!

like

80 hrs/ week is just 11.5 hour days 7 days/ week, unrelenting (that’s like 14 hrs including breaks). Wfh to reduce travel time and you end up with 12-18 hour days (18 hr days usually followed by 10 hour days), and you end up with about 1 hr to try to keep your friends from forgetting about you. But like a lot of people have mentioned, the only reason I had to work 80 hours was because of a few overwhelming weeks that had to be done leading to what would normally just be heavy weeks but you’re so burnt you’re working at 70% efficiency... so your 50 hr week becomes an 80 hour incredibly unproductive week. It’s a horrible cycle, and it feeds on itself.

like

Come to EY! I’ve worked at a couple other places where crazy hours are the norm, and I can say that having spent some years at EY, we don’t have that culture. At least not where I am anyway. The temptation is there but at least I’ve had support from engagement partners and directors to maintain my home life too. Outliers happen of course, but culturally the balance valued.

likesmart

Yeah I guess EY isn’t immune either of course - which then means it really does boil down to the community of people and whether or not they hold those values. There’s also a divide between the service lines - from what I’ve seen TAS and Risk tend to have poorer culture than, say, PI or PAS

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