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Shaili avatar image
Shaili asked

DBA- work hours and compensation

Hello, I am a very hardworking DBA, DBA since 1998, Mostly got 'exceeded expectations' in my reviews. I have always taken my responsibilities very seriously and have delievered successful results under extremely tight and almost impossible deadlines working round the clock. My hours are M-F 8-5 and no 24 X 7 support is required as per my job description. The situation that makes me mad is that after working 70-75 hours this weekend and throughout the weekend, I am expected to come to work the next day. It is very tough for me to balance work life and personal life. I expect that after I sacrifice my weekend for work, I should not have to bother coming in on Monday unless of course there is a need of urgency to get something else done on Monday. My manager thinks that I should not be a DBA. Since I am a mother of 4 year old and obviously just like any parent, I expect comp time after working 3-4 days worth extra in 5 days time, I was suggested ( in friendly manner ) that this field is not for mothers. Is it true??? I never made an issue about being available, being at work past midnight or weekends or whenever needed. My work has always been recognised and appreciated. Then why this kind of mentality? I just asked for some comp-time to handle chores at home after working fulltime this weekend. But I was shocked to hear that if they are male DBAs, they don't care for comp time so much as much as I would like to have. Am I in wrong profession? Do male DBAs with family really don't care about comp time? Is it not appropriate to think about comp time after you have put 18 hours between saturday and sunday? Am I in wrong profession or I just need to find a better employer?? I would like to know from DBAs with family on how they handle workload ( 50-60 hours weeks for several months sometimes extending to over 70 hours ) and is it wrong to ask for comp time?? Thanks,
careerprofessional-developmentemploymentremunerationworking-conditions
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Tim avatar image Tim commented ·
Sounds like you are a very dedicated employee regardless the situation you are in. You make the rest of us database professionals proud. I say have that talk with your management, but be very cool about it. If things don't go the way they should then start looking for another place to work. Chicago is a very big city. With 12 years experience it shouldn't be to difficult to land a job with more respect.
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ThomasRushton avatar image ThomasRushton ♦♦ commented ·
@FatherJack - can't believe you missed off the "career" tag!
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Fatherjack avatar image Fatherjack ♦♦ commented ·
oops. Good catch Thomas, thanks
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TimothyAWiseman avatar image TimothyAWiseman commented ·
Since it has come up in numerous answers, including mine, can I ask where you are actually located?
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Shaili avatar image Shaili commented ·
Suburb of Chicago
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sqlfool avatar image
sqlfool answered
I won't rehash what others have said, but I can tell you that I too have worked for a company with ridiculous expectations of how many hours an employee should put in. After 5 long years, I quit the company and found another one that had much more realistic expectations. Most work-weeks are around 45 hours, with some occasional increases during major product releases, etc. I can't tell you how much happier I am now than I was before. My stress levels have gone down considerably. As a result, I actually ENJOY working, which makes me a better employee, in my humble opinion. If you're wondering whether or not it's worth it to take a job that pays less but has less hours, do the math: look at the difference in salary versus the difference in hours. I found a job that paid 15% less but I also worked 1/3 less hours. I thought it was a good exchange. But before I accepted it, I received a job offer that paid me the same salary and still required 1/3 less hours. So for what it's worth, I think you should definitely start a job search and at least see what's out there in your area. The DBA market is pretty good right now... you may be surprised at what you find. As an aside, I'm the mother of a 7 month old daughter and yes, I'm able to be a DBA *and* a mother. Good luck!
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Fatherjack avatar image Fatherjack ♦♦ commented ·
@Cirque - Grant may not be in a place to comment on that, he does know a good DBA when he meets one though.
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Grant Fritchey avatar image Grant Fritchey ♦♦ commented ·
A damned good DBA and a mother.
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CirqueDeSQLeil avatar image CirqueDeSQLeil commented ·
I hope the good part in your comment applies to the Mother as well. ;) That, afterall is the important part.
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CirqueDeSQLeil avatar image CirqueDeSQLeil commented ·
FatherJack - there was a wink in that.
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Grant Fritchey avatar image Grant Fritchey ♦♦ commented ·
@CirqueDeSqlLeil, I'm assuming on the mother aspect, but I know on the DBA aspect.
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Steve Jones Editor avatar image
Steve Jones Editor answered
Some interesting answers up here, but I'll add mine. First, I do ask for comp time if I've worked a lot. It might not come the next day, but I'd expect it on Tues, or maybe Fri instead. I did it when my kids were 1, and now as they're 9+ Second, if the boss won't give comp time, I'd consider if in the "fool me once...fool me twice" category, and I would be less likely to go the extra mile the next time. I would let the boss know that I don't consider if fair. Third, as long as everyone is treated the same, that might be the policy at the company. I have worked for companies that did not do comp time. The manager might let me do a few other things, or let me leave early, but they usually wouldn't give me a day off. Fourth, this is sexist, likely illegal, and you could get the person fired, or reprimanded for talking to you as though being female makes you less skilled than males. HOWEVER, this is a hard item to pursue, and it can have repercussions down the road. That sucks, but like any harassment or inappropriate behavior, you can lose even when you're right. Note that if I were your husband, I'd support you pursuing this, but think long term. Think if this will ruin this job, or others in your community if you make the complaint. The male is likely an a** and will get defensive and lash back. Maybe not in front of you, but in the locker room atmosphere, you'll be talked down about. If you want to stay there, I'd make a good case why you should get time off, not just for you, but for everyone. I might ask around to see if anyone else has asked for time off. If you have an HR department, they might be able to handle this semi-quietly. I've seen some bad comments handled without it being a big public deal, but you have to know the people. If it's not worth it, look and move on.
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Fatherjack avatar image Fatherjack ♦♦ commented ·
Steve - very valid points, there is often a pressure to not rock the boat as it could make things worse. I think if I was in this situation I would just make efforts to get myself a new position and move away as quickly as possible.
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CirqueDeSQLeil avatar image CirqueDeSQLeil commented ·
You bring up a strong point with the second in your list. Many people will be reduced to a lower effort if the company does not show a bit of humanity towards the persons personal life outside of work. If you work hard and take time from personal life to support the company, the company should reciprocate a little bit.
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ThomasRushton avatar image ThomasRushton ♦♦ commented ·
Get a copy of Bob Sutton's book "The No Asshole Rule" and leave it surreptitiously on your boss's desk... ... or not, as it'll cost you money that you won't see back!
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Håkan Winther avatar image
Håkan Winther answered
As always, it depends! :) IF you get an awful high salary they expect you to work a lot sometimes, but IF it becomes an ordinary state there is something very wrong. At "My" company (in Sweden) we think that the family is imprtant and we discurage overtime and we charge our clients the double fee IF we need to work nights and weekends.
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Blackhawk-17 avatar image Blackhawk-17 commented ·
@Håkan - Sadly that's a cultural bias that North America does not share with Sweden. Over here "People First" is preached loudly but...
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Blackhawk-17 avatar image
Blackhawk-17 answered
One quick note: People who have a job usually can find another easier than those between them.
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unclebiguns avatar image
unclebiguns answered
I agree with most of what has been said. I have always expected/asked for comp time whenever I have worked above and beyond normal hours (I would say over 50 in a week or 18+ in a day). I've been fortunate that my direct managers have always been good about providing it even if company policy doesn't address it. Of course I didn't abuse the privilege either. I don't think what you are asking for has anything to do with gender or ability to do the job, it's about where your priorities lie. Just because my boss thinks I should work 80 hours a week because he or she does doesn't mean I agree with that and I'd be looking for another position. Finallly, you have decide what's important to you TimothyAWiseman has decided that he'll work the hours as long as it is recognized and compensated for. I need the time away for family and other activities so I would choose not to work for long for an employer that didn't share those values. One of the things at the top of my list for any job is that I get flex/comp time. If that isn't possible then that job isn't for me.
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Oleg avatar image Oleg commented ·
@unclebiguns Interesting coincidence: you have the same picture as [Jack Corbett][1] :) [1]: http://ask.sqlservercentral.com/users/14/jack-corbett/
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Shaili avatar image
Shaili answered
Just to clarify some things about my original post: In last 12 years, I never had a 40 hour work week. I have always worked at least 45-50 hours on average, 60 hours several months in a year, 70 several weeks in a year and 83 hours 5 times. So, I love being a DBA, making systems run efficiently and continue train myself to be better everyday. I was a team lead in the previous company with good bonus. I just could not justify the hours I was putting at work, I switched to the current company. I took cut in salary and position plus no bonus and no perks with the promise that this is 8-5 work and no 24 X 7 support required. I started here with 3 weeks of vacation. Company got acquired by other company, and vacation got cut to 2 weeks. Most other groups made arrangements with their teams to still have 3 weeks except ours. I was compelled to ask for comptime as I still have not recoved from last weekend's overnight work and had another overnight work weekend. I worked for 10 hours last sunday starting at 4:00 am, worked almost 50 hours throughout the week and worked this entire Sunday night starting at 11:00 pm saturday till 9:00 am Sunday. So there was no break. Project was successfully delievered. I watched the system for any errors thoughout the Sunday. I expected thanks and was not planning to go to work only to receive an email from manager to 'make sure you be here on Monday'. I am tired with lack of sleep. It is not possible to use up a day for yourself when you have just 10 days vacation in entire year and you have worked all 4 long weekends. I am an exempt employee and I understand that there is no work hour limit. Or as I would say, employers know very well how to exploit employees by making them exempt since US does not have any cap on how many hours employees could be forced to work. I am just thinking from humanity perspective that do I need to remind my manager taht human body needs rest???? I am thinking about bringing it up to the upper management before I decide to quit. I love the people around, I can think of great ways to improve the current data environment and I like my work. I am just shocked by how I was treated after extremely long work week. If I sleep behind the wheel, is work place going to take responsibility? No. If I hit the car to someone, can I say in my defense that I was extremely tired as my manager does not understand that human body needs rest and sleep regardless it is male or female and with kid or no kid? Am I mentally charged up in case a disaster strikes right now? Absolutely no. It's just frustrating. I guess time to suck up and keep working since market is really bad. But hope that no one has to work under the manager with such sick mentality.
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Grant Fritchey avatar image Grant Fritchey ♦♦ commented ·
Hey thanks for responding. The market is not that bad, unless you're in a micro area where things are tough. There are a lot of jobs for experienced database pro's. You should look around. It absolutely is a safety issue. Personally, I'd just tell my boss, "I need some sleep. I'll be working from home for two days. Call me when you need me, otherwise I'll be online." That assumes you have remote access to the system, but I pretty much wouldn't negotiate, I'd dictate. At least when it comes down to safety issues. Best of luck on this. I hope all the excellent advice and support is helfpul.
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Matt Whitfield avatar image Matt Whitfield ♦♦ commented ·
I have to say, start looking for another job. I can't pretend that I understand the US job market, but I can say with certainty that if you were in Europe then whole heaps of laws are being broken in your situation. I also can't really agree that the work schedule you're talking about doesn't sound unreasonable (sorry @TimothyAWiseman!) - it sounds totally unreasonable to me. If for nothing else that your kid / kids will only be young once, and no matter how strong you are, being so tired is not going to help you out with parenting (I'm simply saying this from my own experience). Please do at least look for another job, and as @Grant says, best of luck.
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Tim avatar image Tim commented ·
@Matt good for you. I am fortunate that even working in the US my company respects the work life balance pretty well and nearly any and all overtime for me is done remotely from home. Our motto is DBA = 'Doing Business Afterhours'. If I have work to do after hours it is from the comfort of my home with my kids playing all around me. There is nothing like writting T-SQL with a beautiful baby in your lap.
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Matt Whitfield avatar image Matt Whitfield ♦♦ commented ·
@TRAD - I know what you mean. Sometimes makes typing a little awkward - but worth it. Until a power ranger gets stuffed up your nose. :)
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TimothyAWiseman avatar image TimothyAWiseman commented ·
For a DBA, the work schedule you describe does not sound unreasonable or even uncommon in the region I am used to working in. However, if you took this job specifically with the understanding that it would be closer to 40 hours and they are not living up to that, then that is a very different story. I cannot speak for your area, but I know here there are plenty of options for SQL programmers working 40 hours a week that are very rarely called to go beyond that. Taking one of those options often means lower pay and fewer promotion opportunities then other more demanding jobs, but that is a perfectly valid trade off that many people choose just as I consciously choose the opposite. I wish you the best in either getting your current boss to understand your position or finding a new boss that will.
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Jz8us99 avatar image
Jz8us99 answered
I am also a Female DBA, put in 15% to 50% extra hours more than regular 40 hours a week, my manager became very cold after heard about I got sick, he started use various write up try replace me. I am a single mom, I got so call advice from management this might not be a job for me. I am hanging in there... My rate was not really much higher than being programmer before I became a DBA, I guess it's a common issue of employer not understanding responsibility a female DBA need time for their kids! Most production DBAs are male who put in 50-60 hours with someone home assist babysit kids. Employer get use to take advantage of it. Employer pay 10-20% expect work hours longer instead of honor more critical responsibility DBA take on.
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