5 Ways Working Overtime Can Hurt Your Career

| 5 min read

How often are you being asked to work overtime? Taking extra time to complete tasks is reasonable but it comes with making sacrifices. You will work overtime, miss going for your lunch breaks, and even take work home.
If you’re new to a role, you might have to take some extra time to familiarize yourself with the systems and structures of your new job to the pressure off. If there are certain times of the year when your to-do list gets heavy, you may consider working overtime. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with wanting to complete your work on time to get on top of matters. However, working overtime for a long time could be dangerous to your life and career.

Here are the reasons why;

1. No Work-Life Balance


For anyone who is working, finding the right work-life balance is , key for a successful career. The time spent meeting your work targets should equate to the time you also spend on yourself and your family.

A poor work-life balance is spending all your time, efforts and resources in your work and paying little attention to your personal life. Working overtime will do this to you which will lead to a burnout and decreased productivity in your career..

2. You Could Block Your Chances for a Pay Rise

Are you always accepting extra workload without demanding any compensation? If the answer is yes, then it is time to stop. The Labour Act 2003 of Ghana clearly permits all workers including you, to freely request for compensation for working overtime.

Accepting an increased workload as simply being ‘part of the job’ and receiving no compensation for it, sends a message to your boss that you are willing to do it for free. The aftermath is that you could be treated unfairly and may never get to enjoy a pay rise for all that extra work.

3. Your Health Will Suffer

Fatigue is very common among those who work overtime for long periods. The effect of constant fatigue is that your energy and enthusiasm to deliver on your targets runs low. This can cause absenteeism from work or cause you to constantly arrive late. Thereby restraining you from excelling in your duties.

A research conducted by Newman shows that working extended hours can induce a lot more than just fatigue. Working overtime can increase your chances of chronic illness in the future such as heart and lung disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.

4. You Become Resentful and Less Motivated

Let’s look at a typical example; your workload piles up and you have to stay behind to get it sorted. Time is running fast and it starts getting late, you’re already tired but far from completion. You look at the time and it’s time for you to go home, so you leave the work behind to continue the next day. How then will you not get resentful if this continues for a long time? You will eventually become less motivated which will cause a drastic decrease in your performance.

Learning about these dangers is scary, especially when the workload grows into a pile and overtime work becomes your only option. Don’t panic. Working overtime strategically is helpful in proving your value as an employee and showing your boss you’re a team player.

5. Your Time Management Skills Could be Questioned

Some superiors don’t mind you working overtime and may never bother to ask you why. But for others, it could mean that you are poor at time management. He/she will try to find out what your reason for taking on extra hours and work is and can conclude that you’re poor at time management.

If time management is your problem for not working within the working hours, then you need to resolve the problem. If you work late every night to complete your tasks then your boss may question your ability to manage your time effectively, and your productivity throughout the day.

The good news is, the problems of working overtime can be curtailed through strategic means. Here are the steps to follow;

1. Outline the number of hours you are putting in to complete your current workload to make your boss aware of how many extra hours you’re taking on to complete the task.

2. Emphasize on your values for producing results to a high standard. Suggest changes that could help you reduce your overtime hours, such as delegating minor tasks to other team members, or streamlining current processes to increase productivity.

3. Stress on your dedication to achieving success in your role, and your willingness to work necessary overtime when required, and be prepared to follow through on your promises when the need does arise.
Is working overtime causing a strain in your career? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.

Nelly Sadongo-Bawa
Social Media and Community Marketer at Jobberman Ghana || Blogger || Motivator || Radio host || "Knowledge is like a garden. If it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested."