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Working Overtime – A Blessing Or A Curse?

Working Overtime - A Blessing Or A Curse
What would you do if you were asked to work overtime? Jump at the opportunity? Protest adamantly?

How do you decide if working overtime is worth it? It may not be an easy decision to make. Here are some factors to consider when arriving at a decision.


This is probably the most important factor. How do you know if you get paid to work overtime? Find out if you’re an exempt or non-exempt employee.

If you’re non-exempt, you’ll get paid for overtime. And not only do you get paid for those extra hours, but it’s at a rate of one and a half (1.5) times hour hourly wage. Not a bad deal at all.

If you’re exempt, then unfortunately you’re not entitled to overtime pay.

Purpose Of The Extra Money

If you do get paid for working overtime, do you need the extra money? What would you do with it?

Treat yourself to something nice? Pay off debt? Build up an emergency savings account? Invest for the future?

From reading Your Money Or Your Life, you know that you trade your time and energy for money. If you don’t need the money, maybe you could decline the overtime and put that extra time to better use. What about strengthening your relationships with family and friends? Getting more exercise? Working on a side-business?


If you have a family, consider their input. How will they respond to your decision to work overtime?

Will they be okay with having less time to hang out with you, doing some of the things you usually do together after work? Things such as preparing dinner? Helping the kids with homework? Taking care of the parents?

If you can talk through these issues and come to a resolution that everyone feels good about, then working overtime won’t have a negative effect on your family life.


Do you think the extra hours will have an adverse effect on your health? I did a Google search on working overtime, and some of the top results showed reports that working overtime may be harmful to your heart.

Personally, I can’t say I truly know how stressful working overtime could be, because I don’t like working any longer than 40 hours a week!!!

Could added stress lead to more doctor visits? Could this in turn lead to bigger doctor’s bills, and thus throw away the extra money you just earned?


How much overtime are they asking you to work? How long is it expected to last? If you can get clear expectations from your boss, this may help you in reaching your decision.

Perhaps five extra hours a week for a month or two is okay for you. On the other hand, ten extra hours a week for three months may not be worth it to you.


Maybe this is a chance to build up your list of accomplishments. Could this lead to better opportunities in the future? When your review comes up, could you point to the extra work you completed as a reason to deserve a raise?

What other factors would affect your decision to work overtime? How would you respond if you were asked to work overtime?

This article was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance during the week of May 24, 2010. Check out Adam’s Money Relationship blog for a variety of great articles!

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9 Responses to Working Overtime – A Blessing Or A Curse?

  1. I think the idea is to work because you want to, and not because you have to. There was a point about 5 years ago where work and life blended for me. It’s good to keep things separate, but it doesn’t have to be if work becomes fun and you feel the sense of duty.

  2. Darren says:

    Great point. I think our jobs should be a labor of love, but at the same time, I think the reality is that most people don’t like their jobs. At best, lots of people just tolerate their work, but not enough to want to work longer hours.

    With that said, it’s great to hear that you’re an exception, and that your work and life meshed together nicely.

  3. Wow crazy you posted this topic. I have worked so much overtime recently. During the month of May and half of April, I worked 5 all-nighters… as in 30+ hour shifts… And I work in IT building server racks. We simply had incredibly unrealistic deadlines that we had to meet with minimal man power. It without-a-doubt takes a toll on your body, but I am still pretty young so it’s not a huge deal for me.

    The money…Wow… the money is amazing.. and extra $100 to my 401K and an extra $500 cash for three paychecks straight! And that’s after tax dollars!

    For me, sometimes I jump at the opportunity, sometimes I’m like “NO”!… All depends on how much I have been working, what else I have going on, etc…

  4. Darren says:

    Wow… 30 straight hours of work? That’s crazy. I think I’d have an issue with this haha! Did you sleep there? Looks like you thought it through before making the decision, which is good. Enjoy your hard-earned money, and props for putting some of it into your 401k!

  5. Pingback: Carnival of Personal Finance #258 – Cities at Night |

  6. eemusings says:

    Great topic – I actually have a post in the works coming up about this very topic! I get paid for OT, although for us, it just kind of happens depending on the day (work in the news) rather than getting any advance warning. I’m young and just starting my career, so I’m happy to do it. Right now, I’d rather have money than time. My view on that will probably change over the years.

  7. Darren says:

    eemusings – Good for you! Looks like you’ve given this some thought. Your views may change over time, but it’s always a good thing to re-assess where your priorities are. Be sure to save some of that extra money!

  8. My employer gives out OT perhaps 3 times a year. And they didn’t like doing that if they could avoid it.

    Now, there is no OT because of massive budget cuts… No pay raises this year, even if you deserved one by working hard. And, we are getting 12 days without pay soon for the entire year.

    Overall, it’s not looking good where I work other than we do still have a job for now.

  9. Darren says:

    Financial Bondage,

    Wow, looks like your company’s not doing too well. Do you think your position is safe? If not, what are your plans?

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