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rjb1983's avatar

Can you work 60 hours a week and still have a social life?

Asked by rjb1983 (158 points ) February 4th, 2011

I am most likely moving into a position which is an average of 60 hours a week, meaning some weeks 50, some 70. For those who have worked that amount of hours, I’m curious if you can still have a social life, and if so, how one would do this. Also, any other insights as to what it’s actually like to work that amount would be appreciated.

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24 Answers

Scooby's avatar

Yes! I can :-/
I work six ten hour shifts 0600–1600 & 0600–1200 on Sunday at the moment, granted I’m a little tired through the week but I still have a social life…. You just get used to it…… I’ve just come in from a 10 hour nightshift & I’m doing a double shift from tonight 22.00 until 14.00 tomorrow then my Sunday shift….. Easy peasy ;-)

FrBrown's avatar

With difficulty, and probably not long term. For short periods it would probably work out as long as you make sure to get proper rest, and help your body out with a sensible diet and lifestyle. The irony of working that much OT is you never have time to spend the money anywhere, except in bars, but if you do that then you’ll be too tired to get up and do all the hours…

misstrikcy's avatar

I only work a 50hr week at the moment (2 jobs though), and i’ll be honest it cream crackers me.
No social life during the week at all – any spare time I have I need to spend at home doing ‘home stuff.’ But I still enjoy good weekends, so it’s not all bad.

When I was in my teens and twenties, a 60hr week was soooo easy – I had bundles of energy and few responsibilities – so if you’re young, you’ll manage.
But, I work long hours only because I’m paying off a debt – which helps me focus when the long hours are getting me down.

Cruiser's avatar

A lot depends on what you mean by social life. If you mean hitting the clubs hard and heavy….not for long. If you do desire a social life you will have to plan to go straight from work, do your thing and head home to get some rest. Most likely if you want that social life, you will wind up with little to no down time as chores and other tasks will consume your day(s) off. Lots of people do it….I do but not at the level I did when I was without a family to tend to.

What you may end up seeing is your work and the people there take on a small social aspect of your life since you will be spending so much time there. Good luck with the new position.

filmfann's avatar

Me? No. Of course, I don’t have a social life when I just work 40. I have this fluther addiction.

When you work that many hours, you need to take better care of yourself. Don’t drink much, get lots of sleep. You can really hurt yourself if you spread yourself that thin.

Haleth's avatar

@FrBrown Heh, that’s so true. 60-hour jobs usually come with odd hours, so by the time you leave everything is closed. Or when you’re going in, you’re the first one on the road in the morning. I have to plan just to make it to the grocery store. (My week isn’t even sixty. We’re scheduled for fifty, and I usually work around 55. That extra hour a day adds up.)

As far as a social life, it depends. If your schedule has you working odd days and hours (working weekends, working nights) then it will be really hard to hang out with people. I have to plan in advance or take a day off when I want to get together with friends. If it’s just the hours, but you have nights and weekends off, then it all depends on your energy level. Definitely harder than working a regular 9-to-5.

stratman37's avatar

get it on with one of your co-workers. it’s called multi-tasking.

blueiiznh's avatar

It all depends on what you are doing for that career and how it is allowed to pull at you.
You certainly can do it, but will you will have to be dilligent at carving out your time.
If you are single that may be easy. As you add a SO and children it gets tougher.
Worklife balance is very important and if you are going to chew off this, make sure you figure this out before jumping in with both feet.
What you have for energy and stamina also is at play.
@rjb1983 Do you have any more info on the work and outside life?

El_Cadejo's avatar

Is it possible? Sure.

But me personally, no. I have a hard time with just work 20 hours and full time school to do anything outside the both but sleep.

rjb1983's avatar

@everyone It’s for a paralegal job.

firesale's avatar

I don’t work more than 40–45 hrs a week, but my gf can work anywhere up to 60+. She does cancel plans occasionally, but more often than not we are able to visit her family on the weekends and we have dinner with friends…all that good stuff. So, it’s going to be difficult but as long you know how to budget your time you should do all right.

But if your idea of a social life is some hardcore partying… then that’s probably a no go.

geeky_mama's avatar

Sure. But..you cannot necessarily have perfect health, balance and see your family enough. Something has to “give” to make up for the imbalance.
In my case..after a few years of 70+ hour weeks it was my health that cried “Uncle”.

zenvelo's avatar

I have found it’s not the hours, it’s the days. If you don’t get a day off each week or so, you’ll burn out.

and like others have said, a lot depends on how old you are, single vs married, and what your idea of social life is.

jerv's avatar

I managed to have a social life when I was I Nuke school. That was 45 hours of class, and another 35 (minimum, as per orders) of study. Days off? I had to do at least five hours every night before a school day, meaning that I was required to show up on Sunday, and I wasn’t up for cramming 6+ hours of study on top of my class time during the weekdays or spend all day Sunday there, so the only way to make my 35+ was to put a few hours in on Saturday.

Despite that, I still had time for a social life, so you should have no problem. You will find a way ;)

Bellatrix's avatar

I would agree with many of the points here – yes it can be done but how well it works depends on what you consider to be a social life and on the sort of job you have and it probably can’t be sustained long term.

How well you manage it will depend on your own time management. Actually factor in things like going to the movies – out for dinner – whatever it is you want to do. Make sure you let your friends know about the changes in your life and how they are affecting you so they don’t feel ignored if you are busy. I would also factor notes into my calendar to get reminders to ring people who are important to you while you are on the run from one place to another or even to send a text touching base. Keep the lines of communication open.

Social life might mean something different while you are in this phase. Instead of a wild night out – it might be brunch on a Sunday morning at a local coffee shop or even just a coffee at a special place on your way home.

I have to say – I have not managed work – family – friend commitments particularly well. I tend to get the family and work stuff done but even finding time to write emails to friends has at times gone astray and then I feel guilty. Good luck – I hope you do better than I have at times.

lbwhite89's avatar

I work 32 hours a week, go to school for 12 hours a week, and have weekends off. So I technically “work”, so to speak, for around 44 hours. During the week, I have no social life. I get up, exercise, shower and get ready, go to work, go to class, drive home, eat dinner and do homework/study until I finally get to go to sleep around 11. Then I wake up and do it all over again.

Luckily, I have all weekends off. Some of that time is spent studying, depending on my work load that week, but I also have time to rest or go out to dinner or a movie (if I can even afford it), which is all my social life entails. Add on 18 hours of work to my schedule and I’d probably have a hard time finding a moment to go to the bathroom, let alone go out with friends.

Is it possible? I suppose. I guess it depends on your energy level and how much sleep you need to function.

jerv's avatar

I forgot to mention how things were once I hit the fleet. There were quite a few times when I did closer to 80 hours a week (the average being closer to 55–60) but still managed to go out partying with my friends, hanging out at Virtual World, or running an RPG campaign. That’s not counting the alone time I made for myself; I prefer eating my Sunday morning Eggs Benedict alone.

@mattbrowne Could you elaborate? A one word reply that totally contradicts my personal experience intrigues me.

mattbrowne's avatar

@jerv – In my experience people also need “alone time” to regenerate (and I mean other than sleep). A good social life requires energy and focus. Working 60 hours a week should be the exception. If it’s the norm over a longer period of time it can ruin a partnership and a social life in general in my opinion. I work in IT. I’ve seen people do this for years witnessing the harm it can do.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne That might be at least part of the reason so many Navy guys are single!
I can see it ruining partnerships, but as for ruining social life in general, I have to disagree. I know enough people who work long hours in all sorts of fields, IT included, and haven’t noticed any real problems aside from the fact that the IT crowd tends not to have much of a social life (on average) anyways even if they only work 20 hours a week. I know my roommate is a recluse and in that, he isn’t much different from most IT types I know. The one extroverted IT guy I know works long hours yet still manages to find time/energy to not only have a social life, but to also cater the gatherings that he hosts.

The only people I know that have a hard time having a social life due to their jobs are those that have jobs that wear them out, and that is often unrelated to hours. I only work 40–45 hours a week, but there are some days I am practically dead when I come home. I still usually manage to get out and do stuff despite that though.

I think our experiences and observations are quite different.

Scooby's avatar

There are guys in my team who are working up to & above eighty four hours a week, this is in heavy manufacturing…. All of them family men ( married with kids ) & all of them find time to socialise out side of work, whether it be going out for a family meal or going to the game ( football / soccer ) with the lads, some of whom are in their fifties…. This has been going on for almost a year now, with the increased demand in the products we supply, long hours have always been apart of our job in this particular environment & yes it does take a certain kind of man to do it, this is why the company chose to site in our area, as the men have a long heritage of hard graft & loyalty to their employer… Myself, I’m knocking on forty four, I’m not an old man yet & I still put the hours in, sometimes too many granted but this will go on until I drop.. I am on my own & no it doesn’t affect my social life one bit, because I won’t let it….. I do still look forward to the holidays but these are usually more hectic than the long hours I do while at work! :-/ Lol…..

mattbrowne's avatar

@jerv – Good points. IT people probably aren’t the norm. Still, people shouldn’t be required to work 60 hours a week for longer periods of time.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne Well, there are too many people like my father-in-law who must work two full-time jobs to support themselves and their family. After doing that for almost four decades, he is too broken to enjoy his retirement :(

I agree that it shouldn’t happen, but it does happen more than I’d like to see, especially in the US.

Still, a relatively young person like myself or @Scooby can pull it off, especially since manufacturing seems to be feast-or-famine and doesn’t require those sort of hours year-round for years on end like my FIL’s life did.

mattbrowne's avatar

@jerv – I’m very sorry to hear that. Of course young people can pull it off for a while. When I was 30 I had the occasional 60-hour week too. It’s normal in IT from time to time. But there are folks in IT who feel bad when they don’t get this kind of extreme pressure. So even if they can afford it to work less, or say no to their bosses without getting fired, they still keep doing it. I’ve seen dozens of people with complete breakdowns when they are 40 or 45 ending up in hospitals for weeks or even months. Interestingly women in IT are a lot smarter. Many leave the office around 4 or 5 pm to pick up their kids. Because of this they are more efficient. They need good self management. Work output doesn’t equal work hours.

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