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Working Out of Hours

by Ben Shelley 2 months ago in humanity
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An acceptable past time or life-limiting necessity?

Working Out of Hours
Photo by Agê Barros on Unsplash

Working out of hours is something which I used to detest.

Something that I swore I would never do when arriving at the workplace. It wasn't me. It was reserved for those workers' banking jobs in the city who had long since mortgaged their souls to get ahead in the world, but that was never to be me.

This was until the years slowly rolled past. The odd grey arrived and I realised that it was not that bad.

When it's not regular and used to get ahead of things, it can free up the next day. It's not so bad and as an example, if my wife is working late marking and I spend a couple of hours getting ahead, so my work the following day is less hectic, what is wrong with that?

Don't get me wrong. I have no intention of working myself to an early grave but when utilised strategically, it's not so bad and in fact, a lot more productive. If you are like a couple of people I know (including myself) and you work better at night, then what is wrong with getting ahead for two hours in the evening as before 10 am you are about as productive as Boris Johnson in a cabinet meeting.

Walking the Tightrope

There is a fine line with everything in life. From the time which you choose to spend with your loved ones to how many hours a week you work. 50+ hours a week should never be normal as all it can lead to is stress and an eventual breakdown. It is not productive and will only leave you feeling constantly tired and working on half power, like a nearly flat battery.

Working between 40 and 50 hours a week for me is the perfect ratio, as you spend one evening working later to get ahead and release time the next day, as well as having time for your personal projects. This feels fine to me in 2022 as I love writing, so it never feels like work but to some, it may. With years of experience behind me it is acceptable and something which I look forward to every day.

The tightrope is that point in which you move very close to 50 hours and have to cancel your personal plans. Something that I have never had to do. I have always had time for my wife and make the most of the time in which she is also working, as this releases the anxiety that sits behind working when your partner is not.

The tightrope is different for every person. My threshold is 50 hours as that ties into my lifestyle and still provides me with time for me and never takes over, but others may find the idea of working more than 40 hours to be the worst consideration in the universe.

We are all different and the important consideration is that we are true to ourselves and how we want to live our lives.


My wife and I would like to be parents one day. We want to raise two children and look forward to calling them our own but the tightrope will, at this point need to be reset. It will need to be reassessed as I am reliably informed that children do add an extra dimension to your life, which also requires a large investment of time. Something that will need to gear itself toward a 50-hour week.

Besides this, I want to be a father that is there for my children. Someone that they can look up to, not look down on as I do with the memory of my absentee father in mind.

He left before I was old enough to form a sentence and I cannot even picture his face. Whilst he was not a workaholic, he's not someone that I wish to contemplate even remotely becoming.

I want to be the type of father that has his priorities in order. That makes time for his wife and children because that is what he wants to do. Not be someone who feels obliged to spend time with them when he would rather be working.

I enjoy working but it is not all that I am.

The Perfect Balance

This is something which is unique to all of us. The threshold for which we prioritise our lives. The amount of time which we spend with our loved ones, the time in which we invest at work and the hours we spend with our families. Right now, I have a perfect balance. I work as much as I wish to and spend hours of fun with my wife, whilst also seeing my friends and engaging in my hobbies when I choose to.

My balance includes more work than others may engage in but that is my choice and I am happy with it. It does not take me away from those from which I care about and provides me with more than enough time to engage in activities which I love.

The perfect balance is subjective much like the reasons for breathing or the reason why we all exist.

Was it science or was it religion? Is Donald Trump the saviour of America or is he a deplorable human being? The perfect balance is a constantly evolving tightrope that we must all figure out for ourselves, lest the activities for which we are not passionate will take over.

A Final Thought

Working out of hours sounds intimidating. It is something that sends shivers down the hardest of all interns but it is something that we all must come across in our lives.

The key is that we need to find our perfect balance. The point at which we can live with how much time we are putting in as we feel as though we are getting a return on our investment in time.

I am happy with my work-life balance as it stands today and I hope that everyone reading this feels the same.


About the author

Ben Shelley

Someone who has no idea about where their place is in this world, yet for the love of content, must continue writing.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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  • Carol Townend2 months ago

    My husband used to work long shifts, especially through the night several times a week. He was a senior nurse, and that comes with a duty of care and a huge responsibility. He had to find a balance too, though at times he found it very difficult. It can be hard working shifts when you have a family. I sometimes write at night because I'm a stay-at-home carer now. It's like you said, it's all about the balance.

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