Gemma Chambers recently left a job where she was expected to work seven days a week. The 22-year-old joined a Sheffield firm last October in what she thought would be a digital marketing job. Click to read; I Was Working 72 Hours a Week – It Was Cult-like on BBC
On arrival, she and the other newly-employed graduates were asked to cold call and go door-to-door on behalf of charities the firm was working for.
The few weeks she was in the job, the hours were typically 12 hours a day, Monday to Saturday.
“It didn’t even end there. When we would finish at 23:00, we would get texted constantly on our way home asking us to reflect on what happened that day,” Gemma says.
On Sunday, Gemma’s team would also have “homework” and a FaceTime meeting with their line manager to discuss goals for the upcoming week.
“Every waking moment was about the job – if you wanted any time out of the day to have a chat with people, to see your friends or family… that was described as a ‘loser’s attitude’.”
She’s since quit and started a new job as a civil servant, where she is working 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. She describes the change as “so welcome”.
“My last job felt cult-like and this one feels like a legitimate role with standards and regulations. I enjoy being busy and putting a lot into my work, but it’s nice to be able to speak to family and friends.”
“A 95-hour week is excessive but at the same time, banks want people who are money-hungry because that’s what the job is based around. Their career is their life and they sacrifice a lot to do what they do.”– Gavin Baldwin
I Have Set a Precedent, But I Feel Invested In All The Projects I Work On
Alice can work anything from 30 to 90 hours per week. “How long I work really depends on the week. There are some where it’s just a bit of data analysis and a few meetings – and others where I’m an assistant to four different people so it swings wildly,” Alice says.
Alice, 22, estimates she works about 70 hours per week on average, with no solid start time. Clocking off? That varies too, although she says she usually finishes between 20:00 and 22:00. “Now I find myself in a position where I’ve set a precedent for how much work I produce,” she says.
“And honestly I feel invested in all the projects I work on, so I’m a bit hesitant to roll them back. In an ideal world there would be 48 hours in a day!”
Giving your reasons for leaving a job helps interviewers determine what satisfaction and engagement at work looks like to you. It can also shed light on what your long-term career plan is and what you want to get out of a new role.
1. More responsibility and better career growth. Wanting to develop your skills can be one. Give examples of the kinds of skills you want to build on and tangible ways you’d like to go about doing it.
2. A career change. A new direction professionally, to find interesting and meaningful work.
3. Company reorganization. It’s helpful to give some examples as to why the new structure isn’t working for you. And what you’ve done to try and improve things and what you’d change.
4. Better work-life balance. Try and focus on what you’re seeking for in the long term, whether it’s remote work, a four-day work week or flexible hours.
5. Relocation. Explain why you’re making the move.
Avoid launching into a barrage of complaints about your former workplace, colleagues or manager.