Weekend overtime only means one thing, the incompetent of the management. This weekend I have to work overtime. It is not just checking emails or dealing with unexpected emergencies. I was asked to come into the office and work like a work day. A block in the project is really late, so I am parachuted to help out in the crunch time. When I was in the office, our VP came by and check who is working overtime. He even ask how come the guy sit next to me is not in today! Gee, didn’t he realize it’s a weekend. He sounds like I should work overtime because the project is late. I bet it never come across his mind that the project late because he made some bad decision 6 months ago.
The block I am working on is a very complicate block and it is understaffed since the beginning. The management only assign two engineers working on it, and ignore their screaming for help since day one. Two months before the project deadline, they suddenly wake up and realize the block is on critical path. So they pile 13 people to work on the block. A task requires 1 man working 2 months won’t get done with 8 men in 1 week. It takes 9 months for a woman to give birth to a baby, 9 women won’t give birth to a baby in 1 month. It seems the management never learn important the lessons of mythical man months and the employees have to pay for their mistake by working work time.
Conference calls at night is one thing that makes working in Bangalore though. There is a 12 hours difference between India and Vancouver. When Bangalore in the morning, it’s the evening in Vancouver. It is necessary to keep in touch with the Vancouver team, however it is very important to pick the right time to have the meeting. You don’t want to have the meeting too early, since that’s the time you are having dinner. Restaurants won’t start serving dinner until 7p.m. or 7:30p.m., plus the time in transportation, a 9:30p.m. meeting is very tight. Having a quick dinner is NOT an option. Lunch at work is crappy, you need a nice meal at night to keep your sanity.
On the other hand, you don’t want to have meetings too late. You have to wake up at 7:30a.m. to come to the office for morning meeting. Late meeting cut into your sleeping time. The only sweet slot for having conference call is from 10p.m. to 11p.m. Last night we have a 10:30p.m. meeting that runs until 12:a.m., and this morning I have a 9:30a.m. meeting. I end up feeling tried the whole day because of lack of sleep.
We try to implement a 10 hours rule for the day. No, we don’t mean working 10 hours a day. We mean having at least 10 hours of rest between work. We should have 10 hours of rest from the moment we hang up the conference call at night until we get on the car and go to work the next morning. We need 1 hour to get ready to bed, 8 hours of sleep and 1 hour to get up and have breakfast, 10 hours is the barely minimal.