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Working the weekend again ...

#1 Working the weekend again ...
26/05/2006 14:54


I'm a PC in one of the BTG practices in the UK. I’m really enjoying my time with the company, but find myself working crazy hours and all through weekends. Case in point is this one, where I’ll be at my laptop all through the Bank Holiday weekend.

It’s really putting a great personal strain on my physical health and my family. I’ve asked my Practice head about it, but it just gets batted away. I’ve tried asking HR about compliance with the Working Time Directive, but no joy there either.

I understand that, at their recent away day, BOP had a group hugging session. When I heard that I almost hit the roof. Do the partners in PA show no sensibility to staff welfare, and instead offer us this “Tricia show” type nonsense as a sop?

Is it the same in other consultancies?

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#2 Re: Working the weekend again ...
26/05/2006 15:26


Way back in the day, I used to work at KPMG, where weekend work was reasonably common. I probably worked one weekend out of four in those days, but I chalked it up to the fact that it was a big-6 consultancy and the fact that I was relatively low on the ladder.

Now that I'm a little more senior, it is very unusual for me to work a weekend. Regular weekend working typically means that whoever sold the work didn't budget it accordingly. If I'm the one that bid the work, I'll live up to my obligations and work the hours to get the job done. But if some partner / business developer / project manager has bid 90 days to do a 120 day job, I'll tell him where to stick it.

Back in the days of £2500 daily rates, costs were often managed by massaging the number of days to match the clients' budget, then eating any additional days out of margin. Partners used to push hard for long hours to ensure that their margin targets were met. Of course, salaries were higher back then, too -- so working long hours wasn't quite the imposition it is today.

With day rates substantially lower for most consultancies these days, it's more important to accurately estimate the workload before embarking on a job.

I guess what I'm saying is this: I wouldn't put up with what you're putting up with. I don't know whether you've got an organisational culture of underbidding work, or just a poor manager who's making you bear the burden. In either case, I'll tell them to remedy it post-haste. And I'd look for another employer who understands a little more about the work/life balance. They definitely exist -- and you'll be far happier.

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#3 Re: Working the weekend again ...
26/05/2006 23:16

Another PA-er

I also work for PA, and also work long hours. However, I do so through choice because I am ambitious and would like to fast track my career as much as possible. I guess it comes down to your priorities, PA does take work/life balance seriously, so I would expect you could reduce your workload if you wanted, but this wouldn't necessarily mean you score as high in reviews. I guess its a balance at the end of the day and you need to identify what is right for you based on your priorities. Its then up to you to stick to it and push back if required.

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#4 Re: Working the weekend again ...
27/05/2006 11:20

Different PA

I think in PA it depends on your practise....and your client.

Have you considered moving to a different group?

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#5 Re: Working the weekend again ...
27/05/2006 14:18


Yes. u have to watch out for u're own career inside & outside the firm. The pressure on your MC and managers is to sell work and deliver on time & budget. So they don't give a .... of who or what it takes to deliver. I've been in another top consultancy for yrs and know friends in other firms. All the so-called quarterly "group meetings" are a farce. The top partners and managers show that they want to hear u're concerns but will talk around it rather than take any measurable action (i've seen it again and again for yrs now). One thing i've learnt is that consultancy partners & managers are useless in running organizations and people management though they are great in giving advice on these matters to others in industry. Unfortunately the way their priorities exist and the way they are compensated means that people management comes way down on their list of concerns, even though in a "services firm" like consulting people are the main asset!

I recommend:

- take on the only the work that is achieveable by you (u're not super man / women)

- manage expectations (timeframe, quantity of work etc)

- set barriers (book holidays and training in advance)

- delegate, delay, disperse work if possible

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#6 Re: Working the weekend again ...
30/05/2006 02:36

a different PA-er to all the above

Im curious to know in your opinion which practices work harder or conversely less hard in comparison to each other?

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#7 Hug your fellow BOPper
30/05/2006 08:42

BOP Consultant

I was at that hugathon ın BOP - ouch but ıt was crıngıngly awful ! It really made my flesh crawl

Better stıll was the follow up note tellıng us that money doesnt make you happy

Says a lot about PAs remuneratıon strategy

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#8 Re: follow your instincts
31/05/2006 17:22


It might well be symptomatic of an organisation that has yet to fully realise that it doesn't know where it's going. There are probably concerns starting up top about depending so much on the public sector.

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#9 Re: Working the weekend again ...
31/05/2006 17:41

Not a PA person

Did you sign a waiver from the Working Time Directive when you joined ??

If so, why ?

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#10 Re: follow your instincts
31/05/2006 19:12


Thanks for all your responses.

Have decided that I've had enough of this sort of attitude from PA. I'll start looking outside now.

It's a real pity really, as I think PA are a great company, but 12 hours a day - 7 days a week can't continue.

Being offered inflationary pay rises and a hug just isn't enough.

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