A CEO’s question on Quora gained over 100 answers after they asked what they should do about otherwise good employees who, wait for it, “usually leave work at 6 pm.” This is a pretty typical time for people to leave work, and there is no indication that they’re leaving before a time agreed upon. Instead, the CEO’s problem with these fine workers is that “their commitment lasts for work hours only.”
This one question seems to have unleashed a wave of worker resentment over bosses who expect their employees to make their jobs their entire lives rather than prioritizing things like family and children and happiness and, you know, life.
Many responders offered their own stories of “clock watcher” bosses who would threaten their jobs for being a little bit late sometimes or expecting them to stay late for no particular reason. These workers often lost any feelings of commitment to their companies and ended up leaving for a better workplace as a result.
Others simply pointed out that people are not machines, and we are not meant to dedicate our whole lives to work. The expectations to go above and beyond what was agreed upon in a work contract has led to burnout, damaged relationships, and poor mental health among workers, damaging their ability to work in the long run.
“People need balance in their lives,” one of the top responses reads. “This means time away from work. Or, conversely, for many retired people, it may mean some structure than [sic] includes work, whether it’s a job or a volunteer opportunity. Some people are better at it than others. It sounds like your two employees are pretty bright, and good at it.”
This Quora entry got so much attention that it even spawned new questions mocking the original, including one that turns the CEO’s query on its head.
“I usually leave work at 6 pm,” the entry reads. “I work hard but my boss doesn’t like that ‘my commitment lasts for work hours only’. Should I quit?”
The vast majority of answers are along the lines of “let your employees have lives,” with some being more sarcastic than others. Even other CEOs generally agree with this sentiment, if only from their own personal experience.