how do people survive jobs with long hours — and is it worth it in the long-run?

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It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

I recently started my first professional job since graduating college. I work in an industry that is notorious for long hours (think 60-80 hour weeks for 4 months in a row). I knew what I was getting myself into when I accepted this job, but now that it’s here I’m really struggling with the hours. My physical and mental health has been deteriorating, and I carry stress with me even when I’m not working.

How do people survive working jobs with insane hours? I intend to stay 2-3 more years (as is traditional in my field) then move to a job with more work-life balance, but even these next few years seem impossibly daunting to me. Do you have any advice for how to succeed when there isn’t much work-life balance? How do you stay productive and alert when working 12+ hour days, six days a week? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I am also curious if those who have worked long hours look back with regret for the time they spent working, or feel that their hard work was worthwhile. I am hoping that my work now will pay off for me later, but I am really worried if I’m sacrificing too much for my professional life. Thank you so much for your thoughts!

Readers, please use the comments to weigh in!

how do people survive jobs with long hours — and is it worth it in the long-run? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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