In Shoot the Round Dial, I spoke about working when there’s work to do, and going home when there’s no work to do. After another 3 semesters in the world of academia, I recognize an error in that post. There are some work environments where there is never no work to do. What rules apply then?
Early this year, our college President advocated commitment and perseverance, buckling down to do more work as it becomes a burden. I believe he has an aggregate perception of the faculty that does not include statistical outliers putting in 15 hour days, 6 days a week (90 hours per week). For those who do work very long hours because there is an infinite amount of work laid before them, there should be some rules of when to quit work.
When should I watch a student fail, or watch a professional peer needing assistance, and turn my back and walk away? Does this sound harsh? Well, I’ll tell you, somewhere near the 90 hours per week mark, it becomes self-destructive to yield more. I’m going to have to think on this more.
Do you have any thoughts? For someone who is always working more because there is always work ahead, what tools or decision aids are useful to decide when to turn one’s back on the work and quit? Go home. Do nothing.