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Should I Work Overtime?

Should you work overtime and is it really worth it for the time away from your home and family?

If you are like me you have the opportunity to work overtime and make a little more money on your paycheck.

In the US we can earn one and 1/2 times our normal pay for hourly employees for hours worked in excess of forty.  Salaried worker are exempt from this labor law. The extra cash does sound nice and can always come in handy but the effort it takes to bring that financial gain can cause mental and physical stress.  Studies show that the forty hour work week is the maximum time in a workweek in which the average worker’s productivity stays high.  After forty hours per week the employees productivity declines by each additional hour hour.

You will need to personally see if this is something that works for you or works against you.  You may be a workaholic and at the same time be completely happy being so.  I personally would love the thought of working ten or more hours a week but that breaks down to at least one hour overtime and then five additional hours on Saturday morning.

Some people have said that their taxes are higher when they work overtime.  The only way this is true is if this moves you into a higher tax bracket with a higher tax rate at the end of the year.  You will need to check with your tax adviser or look at the IRS.gov tax tables to estimate how much you will be working this year and how much of a percentage you will actually be bringing home after taxes and other deductions.

 

Another thing to consider is your stress level and the end of the day.  Some find that if they work more than nine hours a day they are pretty well spent and need to be on down time for the remainder of the evening. I am usually fine with one hour a day and being off completely on Saturday and Sunday but it depends on the time of year and what kind of mood I am in.

Another key consideration is if you have children.  If you have a family to rush home to, an important sporting event that you need to attend you may want to forgo the overtime especially if the money is going to be going to materialistic items.  You cannot get these special moments back with your family once they are gone.