I agree wholeheartedly that ‘if there is a need, within an organisation, for continued overtime, then the said organisation must look to employ and train more people” (letters, page 17, 5 April).
But in the real world there are still a lot of employers out there who believe that unless you are working over the hours you are employed for, you cannot be giving your all to the company.
Originally I worked in a firm of accountants who specialised in purchase and sale of businesses and minor flotations. I often worked over my hours and could be in the office at midnight when needed. The job was both interesting and rewarding.
But I then got married and had a son. By choice I gave up any chance of promotion by moving to a job where I could work 9 to 5 in the office and plug in my laptop at home in the evenings.
This way, I could spend time with my family and enjoy a professional life.
In my firm it is considered that unless you stay in the office until at least 7pm, you cannot be doing enough work. Working at home on your laptop is not considered to be working as ‘how can you tell what is being achieved?’ (as if you can tell what is being achieved after hours!).
There are managers who are being promoted because they stay in the office but who are inefficient, whereas I get most of my work done in the allotted day so I can return home on time.
This is not an uncommon story, I am sure there are many people like me who have had to make the choice between promotion and recognition and a balanced life such as the one you are suggesting we all have.
We can exercise our rights but in so doing give up others.
Julie Grigg, via e-mail