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How many hours a week do you work?
4

How many hours a week do you work?

How many hours a week do you work?

(OP)
Hello,
I have been pondering about this topic lately, and figured I'd ask on the forum. Most of us here are professionals and often we go extra mile to meet the deadline or assure a quality product.
Please put your discipline, type of business and average hours worked a week.

Electrical engineer
Utility engineer
45 hrs/week

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Typically about 30... occasionally, but not often 50. On two occasions I've pulled 3+ days of 24hrs ea... one for a GUP pricing for Cornwall Centre Phase II, about 30 years back, and the other, about 8 years back, for a coffer dam for the Red River Floodway.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

37.5 in the current govt/regulatory gig. When I was in the auto industry my hours varied a lot, some years I averaged 50-60 and others I barely did 40.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Pipeline system design
Generally 40 to 45.
Europe

In the field usually 10 to 12/ day but I'm getting s bit old for that sort of stuff now...

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Structural Engineer in solo practice in the US.
50-65 hours

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Structural Engineer
40 hrs/week hardly ever exceed that due to corporate policy.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Structural engineer in Canada. My timesheet says 37.5. Actually varies but I would say the average over the year is 40 per week. Around two months ago I did an 65 hour week. But those are rare.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

I've always put in my 'real' time for timesheets... never capped it at 37.5.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Oh I don't adjust my timesheet, I put my actual hours. But the timesheet indicates my work week is supposed to be 37.5 hours a week.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Civil engineer. Most of my experience is public works/municipal infrastructure/correctional institutions. My current firm does a lot more industrial site and infrastructure work than public works. I purposely stopped managing projects about four years ago. A large portion of my current work load is task-level engineering, technical assistance to project design teams, QA/QC reviews, mentoring/training young engineers, and writing proposals.

As I head towards partial retirement, I am currently working 32 hr/wk and occasionally a few hours more. The previous seven years it was mostly 40 to 45 hr/wk and only breaking 50 hr/wk a handful of times. On the other hand, for most of my career I averaged more than 50 hr/wk.

I have mostly worked in small offices (3-12 engineers) and losing one engineer or getting a big project in the door (or both at the same time) was very disruptive to a normal work load. Also, it seemed that we were never able to properly staff up for big projects because for every new hire, someone would invariably leave. Was it something I said? smile

============
"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

There were times in the 70s, that I often worked 80 hour weeks... I still sleep about 5 hrs a night. If I have the work, I do it, but about 30 hrs a week now. If I don't have work, I write SMath programs for my other work. Just completed my 601st project in two years... mostly small, but good.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

I was a consultant structural engineer in transportation for most of my career. I rarely worked less than 50 hours per week. Some years it was closer to 70 on average. Now I work for a contractor, and I only work more than 40 when there is something that needs immediate attention. And I have time for Eng-Tips again after a decade of being too busy.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

dik & jorton...

I've been there as well. In fact, I have an entire man-year of 90-hour weeks under my belt: a 7-month stretch, a 4-month stretch, and 4 individual weeks.

The 7-month stretch was back in 1993. I was a principal in a small firm and doing a lot of water system design work. My year was supposed to mostly consist of five design and construction projects, starting with #1 and #2 for one city, then #3 for another city, then #4 and #5 for a third city, all nicely spread out into a reasonable work load. Unfortunately, the first city pushed back projects #1 and #2 because they were having difficulties obtaining some easements that these projects required and the third city pulled forward projects #4 and #5. Then two young PEs, a young EIT, and a cad drafter quit and we had to fire our construction inspector (insubordination and conflict of interest). So, I ended up doing almost all of the design work, some of the drafting work, all of the construction contract administration, and all of the field inspections for all five projects. The rest of the office was also busy (but not as busy as me) because of the staff shrinkage. But, I had the heaviest burden because some of the work involved things nobody else in the company had any experience with. I averaged 13 hr/day, 7 d/wk. The only day I took off during this entire period was Independence Day. Damn near killed me.

The 4-month stretch was back in 2000/2001. I was Assistant PM and Lead Civil Engineer for a 5000-bed state prison in central California. Normally, the Department of Corrections fixes the main elements of the design at the 50% design level and only modest changes are made after that. Unfortunately, on this project major changes kept coming up to the day we signed and stamped the final drawings for bidding. Buildings kept moving and changing sizes, I had to find room in a tight site plan for a yard for charging the electric vehicles that deliver food to the housing units...that sort of thing. The last day changes included moving hundreds of equipment pads for no apparent reason, but I told the client that would have to wait for an addendum. Now, you might think that changes of this magnitude would lead to a schedule extension. But you would be wrong. The state legislature had fixed the deadline and we were stuck with it. Fortunately, we were paid nicely for the extra work and for overtime for the non-exempt employees working on the project. Ten of us (six engineers and four drafters) were on this roller coaster together. The only days during this period that we took off were Christmas and New Years. To make matters worse, the Monday after the Friday submittal for final drawings, two of us engineers and one of the drafters had to get started on a federal prison project that had us working about 80 hr/wk for the next six months or so. Damn near killed me again.

The four individual weeks were less dramatic and, fortunately, were far less stressful.

============
"Is it the only lesson of history that mankind is unteachable?"
--Winston S. Churchill

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

one man band here. average 30 hours per week. sometimes 50-60 hours per week, sometimes 10.

This week is a 10hour week. unfortunately i never enjoy the slow weeks. instead of working, i toss and turn with worry that no more work will come in the door.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

I do about 30-40hrs now, used to do 50hrs easy on my first 5 years. Also did the occasional 70hrs, but I rarely do that now.

@ dik - I'm surprised that working hours back in the 70s were around the same as today. How were the fees back then?

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Quote (I've been there as well.)


For the coffer dam, I found out on Friday afternoon that they weren't going to file for funding because there wasn't enough time... I told the office manager that I would take a 'kick at the cat' (an expression I often use) and worked all Friday, all Saturday, all Sunday, and had it finished Monday morning... they were able to get the funds. It's only the second time in 50 years that I've done that. I'm too old for that now...

Only issue was that I was using my laptop for design, printing out the files and loading the printouts to the company server. I got tired of doing that, and loaded some 'improper aka Cptn Sparrow' software on the local desktop which was part of the server system. I got flack later in the week for using 'improper' software.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Quote (I'm surprised that working hours back in the 70s were around the same as today. How were the fees back then?)


Typical work hours (in Canada) in the 70s was a 40 hour week and overtime with most firms was banked time (to take off at a later date) or paid at 1x salary for overtime (most firms). Ran into a small issue with one firm. I had over 250 hours banked time, and they wanted me to take some time off... My starting salary back in 1969 was $680 a month, if memory serves.

Fees were a lot less, but the profession had more recognition. The advent of the computer (IMHO) had an effect of cutting fees, real salaries, doing more work, lessening professional visability, and increasing liability. This was done without a significant improvement in building design. If I had known what I know now, I would have gone into medicine... I enjoy engineering, but could have had as much fun in another sandbox. I would never advocate or advise for someone to go into the engineering profession.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

20 hours of real work, 20 hours of engineer babysitting.

----------------------------------
Not making a decision is a decision in itself

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Structural engineer (Sole practitioner)
Residential/Low-Rise/Analysis&Design
Desk/Site hours = 50-60 hrs per week
Billable hours = 40-50%

I've been thrust into WFH since 2020 and because of that had to start a practice. I end up working most days, throughout the day, and a lot of the non-billable time is essentially keeping up with the regulations to get my practice to an acceptable level of standard and maintaining my competence because my (poor) business model is to take whatever gets thrown at me.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Over the long term about 45hrs a week average. Rarely less than 40 or more than 65.

Special structures and facade engineering.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

About 50 years back, I was 'sent' to Vancouver to work on a project. It was one of the two most difficult projects I ever did. John Read of RJC took me through the office and introduced me to all the employees. He then said, "Now that you've met everyone, you can work at your full capacity." I told him that I never work at any more than about 80%... the temperature dropped about 20 degrees... no sense of humour. RJC was one of the best firms I ever worked for (about 10 years).

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Quote:

Fees were a lot less, but the profession had more recognition.

Whats the fee structure like back then? Now its around 0.5% to 1.0% of construction cost (building industry).

Quote:

If I had known what I know now, I would have gone into medicine... I enjoy engineering, but could have had as much fun in another sandbox. I would never advocate or advise for someone to go into the engineering profession.

I have been discouraged to go into SE by some of my uni professors who are structural engineers themselves (on the side), should have listened. Probably one of my biggest regret in life. Not that I hate structural engineering, I like the work but hate the industry/market conditions.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Enhineyero - don't let it get you down. As engineers we like to think we're special, but really we're just people. The race to get everything faster and cheaper has been the obsession of nearly all of mankind for the last 80 years, and an ambition for even longer than that. The grass is no greener anywhere else, but every field (including ours) has bright patches. The trick is finding your way there and forcing your way in to eat the good stuff.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Thanks PhamENG, I actually contemplated awhile ago on moving to finance/banking and sell whats left of my soul for that sweet sweet cash. However, I did a bit of research and watched a couple of sobering youtube videos on "a daily life of an investment banker/consultant working for the big 4" and was shocked that our working hours are child's play compared to them (60hrs/week is a norm for mid-level staff, 80hrs/week minimum if you are starting out). I also know lawyers and doctors who are well paid but have more brutal hours than engineers. Came to the same conclusion as you - no grass is greener elsewhere.

Maybe its how it was sold to my generation when we were young (Gen X/Millenial) - work/study hard and you will be rewarded. Unfortunately, many of us dont see the mediocre salary, high stress, high responsibility, little to no-recognition, and long hours as a reward.

But I do agree with what you said about finding one's way, came to accept the reality of the industry and play with the cards I have (still wishing it gets better or atleast trying to improve it in my own work place).

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

As my handle suggests, I'm out of the mainstream these days, just doing some consulting for one client. So my response to the question is "12-16". Every Tuesday at client site for a full day, and 1/2 - 1 day from home in between those site visits. Just occasionally an extra site day if needed. A nice balance ....[/s]

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Enhineyero - I'm right there with you, solidly in the Millennial generation. I guess I got lucky - my family instilled a love of history and the social sciences while still encouraging me to explore my (somewhat unique in my family) penchant for the hard sciences. So I learned quickly to look at it from a wider perspective. Most of the generic "promises" given to us about working hard and being rewarded came (at least here in the US) from people who either created or grew up in an unprecedented economic boom time. It doesn't take much studying to realize that the middle of the 20th century is something of an historical aberration and is unlikely to repeat itself for a few lifetimes, if ever.

So I decided early that I'm not going to try to relive the loyalty-to-the-corporation model that gave my grandparents a very comfortable life and retirement and helped my parents until it failed them just before retirement, leaving my dad without the promised pension. Job security is only as secure as the company that offers it...and it's amazing how inept some management can be. No matter what we try to convince ourselves of, it's always been and always will be the wild west out there.

So while I'd love to make $250k/year (or even just $100k) working 35 hours and sipping cocktails on my boat...it's not going to happen. I need to either a) adjust my expectations to meet what I'm willing to do or b) adjust what I'm willing to do to meet my expectations.

Just remember the deck is always stacked. Sometimes the only way to improve your hand is to punch the dealer in the face. (Figuratively speaking, of course.)

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Quote (phamENG)

I'd love to make $250k/year (or even just $100k) working 35 hours and sipping cocktails on my boat...it's not going to happen
This doesn't exist for anyone. The closest thing to that is people with inheritances, though they have their own crosses to carry

Quote (Enhineyero)

I actually contemplated awhile ago on moving to finance/banking and sell whats left of my soul for that sweet sweet cash
Being a quant is basically an engineering gig that pays more. Its not a bad option if you have the interest in money. Traditional investment banking is the area with bonkers hours. I would say the biggest issue with being a quant is you and your kind are always working for someone who is non technical, so you can never really be master of your own domain. There is also a lot of secrecy and suspicion. Even working for Renaissance Technologies (assuming you can get in, which you probably can not) has some serious secrecy stuff going on that becomes very weird and unhealthy.

Quote (phamENG)

The grass is no greener anywhere else, but every field (including ours) has bright patches.
Yes, I wish more engineers (and people) thought this way. You have to hustle a bit. Many areas of engineering are actually unnecessarily drab because the people involved just want an easy life (bridge engineers - I used to be one of you but aren't any more for a reason).

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Life is what you make of it. I've been guilty of getting frustrated and comparing past generations with the current working environment, but ultimately always realize that doing so is a waste of time. I'm not competing with my long retired father so his income and benefits are irrelevant, I'm competing with today's workforce of engineers for income and benefits. The only thing holding any of us back is our own complacency. Many millennials are among the best paid engineers stateside, if money is important and you're not one of them then consider asking yourself why. If you dont know how your income ranks vs your peers', smack yourself upside the head. Compared to earning an engineering degree or much of our daily work, intelligently analyzing life decisions is easy yet many dont do it. A few hours making your own spreadsheet of income vs cost of living nationwide or creating a cost-value matrix weighing income against dinners at the inlaws, risk of buying property in a one-horse town, etc is well worth it....doubly so when you consider we pay a lot of taxes for govt employees to study and post this data.

I grew up in a poor rural area with little economic opportunity as did my wife, so we decided early on that we wanted more. Not sure what it takes to ring anybody's bell but I never imagined myself "Ferrari rich," I just want stability, a few toys, and a reasonably active lifestyle That said, the fact that in 11 years since college I've earned well over $1M, saved/invested ~60% of it, am debt-free including owning my home, and paid for the wife's three degrees is mind-blowing to me. I dont claim to be the best engineer but I make good decisions and am always willing to make the effort. Whenever I hear laments from peers I cannot help but notice that many refused to leave "home," refused to work the hours, refused to learn a skill or develop themselves, or otherwise simply refused to succeed. Their complacency is their root-cause of everything.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Quote:

I'd love to make $250k/year (or even just $100k) working 35 hours and sipping cocktails on my boat...it's not going to happen

Hmmm... I just donated our two kayaks to Goodwill this afternoon, but I don't drink.

I'm basically a quant, and while I've occasionally been asked to do OT, it's mostly because I like what I do, and probably put in an extra 10 hr/wk or so. While I've not been as diligent as CWB has been, I've got what I think is a plausible nest egg that could probably survive some level of stress testing. If things don't go completely south because of Ukraine, I'll probably call it a day around the end of this year.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Geotech Engineer
Consulting
40-45hrs

CWB1 - you must have got a very good graduate salary straight out of college to earn over 1M in 11 years.

Based on the Engineers Ireland Annual Salary survey, published last month.

A graduate engineer can expect to earn 33,000 euro (36,000 USD)rising to 65,000 euro (71,000USD) with 11-15years experience. The graduate pay sounds about right to me but they are maybe 10% too low for the 11-15 years pay.

Pay for engineers is pretty shit in Ireland and the UK...

If I was to do it all again id go in to Finance I think.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Quote:

If I was to do it all again id go in to Finance I think.

Just fair warning; it's usually things like that or alarmist articles about "shortages" that result in a glut of whatever discipline that had the "shortages" roughly 4 to 6 years later. We're still working through the oversupply of engineers since the constant calls for more engineers came out in the 90s. Despite the continued alarmism; there were reports from Canada and the US where more than 30% of engineering graduates are not working in their chosen discipline. Now, some of that is also the usual "buyer's remorse" but not all of it, I would think.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

When I went into engineering, I wasn't thinking about future work... I just liked tekkie stuff. I made up my mind to go into engineering on the bus on the way to campus. My attitude was that I couldn't be among 20,000 academics and not learn something... I was a different sort of kid, back then...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Grins, one reason I did engineering is because I had found that I could get an employer to pay for my degree. Otherwise I might have done Physics. I was rather bored with parental induced earache about how much my school fees were, at the time it was common for parents to pay for university.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

I'm a one man show. I probably work 9 hours a day during the week, and maybe 4 hours on Sat/Sun if I'm behind. M-F I will wake up at 7, work out, shower and eat, then spend 2-3 hours surfing the news or honing my software tools or templates, then spend 8 or 9 hours straight on hardcore work. I'll stop around 9, do some stuff around the house or read, and be in bed by 11. On weekends I try to get the stuff done early so I can get to the yardwork or house projects.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

"So while I'd love to make $250k/year (or even just $100k) working 35 hours and sipping cocktails on my boat...it's not going to happen. I need to either a) adjust my expectations to meet what I'm willing to do or b) adjust what I'm willing to do to meet my expectations."

I had a monster year in 2021. I did $215k but it took 55-60 hours a week on average. No time for a boat or cocktails. But low stress overall, other than the times the plotter ran out of ink. Goal in 2022 is to dial it back a little.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

ME
2 jobs:
Product engineer (HVAC pumps), 35-45 $75k USD/year
CAD jockey (industrial & marine pumps), 8, $45 USD/hr.

US.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

StrucPatholgst - nicely done. My 2021 wasn't quite so nice, but my practice isn't quite as 'mature' as yours from what I've gathered from your other posts. If the work load for the next two months is any indication of the rest of the year I'll be catching up with you pretty quick, though.

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

Power Systems Engineer
South Africa
~60-70 hrs a week, things are crazy this side

RE: How many hours a week do you work?

anyone here from Portugal? i Am considering emigrating this year (I am Portuguese, born in South Africa)

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