Below is a video which best shows what hours my wife thinks I work;
Is this reality for most engineers who work in IT today, clocking in at 9am and downing tools at 5pm? For me its not and I cannot remember the last time I did work within my allotted time written into my contract. But there are people who do have this luxury, my brother who works in a different industry is very rigid about working an 8 hour day, or even less on some occasions! He works in an industry that is governed by a trade union. Because of this my brother will not work over his allotted time unless he is been paid Over Time (OT) and even the OT hours has to be agreed in advanced of the work taking place.
As I have said already my wife thinks I should work the same. She would ask me when she sees me joining a conference calls at 7am or 10pm “why are joining them calls at this time?!” I am not saying I do this every day of the week but taking calls at these times would be a regular occurrence. Have most of us who work in the IT industry become accustom to working these types of hours and joining them “project” calls at silly hours? Checking your phone for mails one last time before going to bed? Also checking work mails on your phone over the weekend? Does working in a 24/7 industry mean we as engineers have to be turned on all the time?
Not every engineer. I have worked before in contracting roles and have had full time employees walk past me while I still worked at 5:10pm and ask “Why are you still here? Everyone else has gone home so no one can see your working!”. Or I have made suggestions of staying on late to complete some work and getting the reply “Spoken like a true contractor, looking to clock up the hours!”. But for the most part the engineers I have worked with and know throughout the industry are more on the same thinking of taking them calls early or late in their day to get the job done!
I think it takes a special mindset to work in such a demanding industry and keep that drive going. Working long hours on a deployment or a design and giving that fist pump when it all works.
That sense of accomplishment and testing my abilities both technical and personal are what drives me as a network engineer. Even bringing my work into my sleeping hours dreaming about BGP communities and packets flowing through the sky, yes I know that sounds like a very weird dream! But these are the things I know that makes us engineers that bit different to that of the guy in the video who downs tools at 5pm no matter what he is in the middle of.
Are you a 9-5 worker? Or would you like to be a 9-5 worker?