The Monday Morning Quarterback who recently complained about coworkers who work 60 hours a week for 40 hours worth of pay really poked his pen into a hornet's nest.
He said that many workaholics keep busy because they have unhappy personal lives and that it isn't fair to match their productivity against that of workers who put in normal hours. A number of self-styled workaholics responded. One said that if Americans had more hustle he wouldn't be writing letters on a Japanese typewriter. Another said there is no law against giving Uncle Sam more time than he pays for.
Here's a new batch of the pros and cons of burning the midnight oil:
*"In my youthful government career I had plenty of extra time. Instead of wasting it, I worked -- sometimes paid overtime, sometimes compensatory time, sometimes for free. I worked because I chose to, not because my boss forced me to. I had a lot of extra energy and put it to use.
"Where does the man who opposes voluntary overtime get the idea it is illegal? Some of us chose to put our time to good, productive use instead of wasting it in front of the TV . . . . Even if workaholics put in the regular eight-hour day they outperform others anyway because they put more time and energy into their job than the employee who expends most of his making sure he doesn't begin work until the exact minute and that he has to be ready to depart his job at the exact second.
"The normal government office consists of the eager beavers and others who just put in time. In between are the majority, workers who put in an eight-hour shift and do an excellent job. They are the backbone of the government. These eight-hour employees aren't hurt by the eager beaver because of the quality of work produced. Good, stable eight-hour employees are usually hurt by less-productive workers . . . . They must pick up the slack and sometimes miss out on rewards because the less-productive employee gets promoted out of an office because it is too hard to fire them.
"I would urge federal bosses to take a new look at employees who spend their time complaining about other employees who work." P.J., Arlington
*" . . . The 'workaholic' who said he knew of 'no law intended to protect the government from getting more than it pays for' has never heard of the Fair Labor Standards Act . . . . It requires employers to compensate an employee for all hours worked . . . . The employer must take measures to prevent the employee from working those hours he does not want to pay for. If an employee works late, even without the employer's permission, the employer is held liable to compensate the employee for hours worked . . . . The employer must take measures, even active measures, to prevent extra work from being performed if the employer doesn't want to pay for it." D.J.G., Waldorf
*"Reference the letter of B.E.L.'s complaining that 'workaholics' make their colleagues look bad. I'll bet the complainer is ticked off when Pete (Charlie Hustle) Rose of the Cincinnati Reds runs to first base (rather than walking) when he draws a base on balls.
"As a federal manager I've seen a lot of B.E.L's but all too few workaholics. The latter are what made and will keep this country great. Keep up the good work, you workaholics." A.A.E., Arlington
*"After reading your columns using the term 'workaholic' I hope you will undertake never again to use this loathsome abomination. Many thanks." Readers in Washington