Here’s my experience. I started work at 4AM all the way through 3PM, no lunch per se, just one apple. My blood sugar is irregular so a normal diet is preferred but for this day so far just one apple. Why no break, why no food? Lots of work came in and a few outages occurred. Few people were online and all the buzz words were used by a manager to stress urgency. So, con calls took place and my head buried in work. After working 8 hours a manager chimed in with I’ve escalated this to a higher level, its expected to keep this opened and all teams engaged until the problem is resolved. My reply: I’ve been online with no break for 8 hours, I’ve not eaten today at all. Manager reply: This is not a 40 hour per week job. Right about that time a email from HR came into the inbox discussing the importance of regular breaks, stretch your legs, give your eyes a rest, take a 15 min break every hour and even a link that discussed the importance of a proper diet. My thoughts at that time were that its put out there in print to say that the company made an effort and that ultimately your overall well being takes a back seat in reality. What matter most is the overglamorization of work long hours, that’s how you prove you’re hardcore. I expressed to the manager that my blood sugar is off and that I needed to get something to eat. The response was we need a representative on the call from my team. Call my manager to arrange a replacement. For my team, there is no 24x7 coverage, very small and have also suffered a loss of head count (gee wonder why). An attempt was made to give them a buzz no answer. Back on the con call the manager said that they escalated it even higher for visibility and that a few other managers would be joining, he however would be dropping from the call as they were off the next day and wanted to get a jump on the long weekend and they did exactly that. As soon as the other manager came on, the other manager dropped off. Another round of buzz words came up and they wanted to know who from my team would be working during the weekend. I explained that we weren’t staffed for the weekend. So the response came back as: Well I guess it’ll be you then unless your manager can find someone to take over. Again, no response to any call attempt to my manager. There’s more to the story but I’ll end it here as I’m sure you can see the ebb and flow of it all. After this is posted I’m there will be comments of “you go to your manager’s manager” “you should let HR know” “you should do this and that”. Well these things have been tried before and here we are.
I wonder how things would work out if I collapsed, at work, from exhaustion of working more than 24 hours in a row and yes, you read it right, 24 hours in a row. Laying there waiting for an ambulance all to recover in a hospital. I wonder how quickly my manager and many others would call or stop by to make sure that I’m ok then which translates to “please don’t sue, please don’t go to the news and if you do please don’t use my name”.
So I come here and read post after of post of working too hard for too little reward and read the counter replies of there’s no way that could be true as where I work, I’m walking on sunshine. Well that’s great I’m very happy for you that you were able to maneuver into a good position that does not work you like that.
In the meetings and town halls you hear about drawing talent, retaining talent, and how Citi takes an interest in their people and here’s another email over how to work healthy all right before yet another all hands on deck emergency looks like its going to be another long one.