It is no surprise that many salaried women working long hours do so with a hope for future promotions or opportunities. However, if you are working overtime with the hope someone will notice and consider you for a new project, you might want to rethink that strategy.
I frequently connect with women working overtime, without the benefit of additional pay or recognition and my question is “What is your goal?” Some respond that it is just the culture of their organization; working beyond 5 pm and on the weekend is what they need just to stay afloat.
If advancement is your goal; before you create an expectation that you’ll be there before everyone else and the last to leave at night, you need to create a vision.
Working Long Hours with a Vision
Have a Vision – For many, working long hours is a stepping stone. Have a vision for where you want to have an impact next and be sure you express these interests with others. This vision often keeps you motivated and sharing it with others puts it out there for others to help you make it a reality.
“There are no secrets to success, it is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
The most important person to share your vision with is your boss. Make sure your manager understands that you are willing to do the time for the purpose of being considered for new challenges. If you don’t voice your vision, you run the risk of management assuming that working long hours is just your thing.
Working Long Hours Leads to Guilt
Certainly, there are personal downsides to working long hours. You can’t be in two places at once.
Guilt is a Given – Even if you are working to support and advance yourself and or the people you love, you will have guilt for missing important events and activities. A woman once shared that she sat down with the people she loved and asked them to list 1-3 things that were important that she attended in a 6-month period. She took that list and asked for those days off or in some cases shorten her schedule or trade with a co-worker so she could be there. With this, she shared that she would not be able to attend many of the other events but working to prioritize what was important to the people she loved.
Make sure your family understands the vision you have which requires your long hours at work. By working together towards that common goal, the events you miss in the short term will hopefully lead to a better life in the long run.
Don’t Neglect Your Health
One of the challenges that come when women are working long hours is that they neglect their own health. We need to make sure that we take care of ourselves.
Treat Yourself – You are working long hours, make time to step outside, or bring a snack you love or listen to podcasts or videos that inspire you during your commute or breaks. Your energy level is essential, and finding ways to stay motivated and joyful is important to increase your impact and momentum!
Just like a business meeting, consider scheduling your “me time” so that you have something to look forward to.
Working long hours is often a given. However, make sure that you purposefully choose to work overtime for a specific purpose.
- How to Deal with the Negative Attitudes that Threaten Your Career
- Career Advancement: Branding For Your Future
- Are You Still Seeking Learning Opportunities in Your Career?
JJ DiGeronimo — the president of Tech Savvy Women — is a speaker, author, and thought leader for women in tech and girls and STEM. Through her work, JJ empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract women in technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.
Don’t miss our online resources library for eCourses, online discussions, downloads, retreats and tools for professional women. Learn more here.