The fact is, Robert got three hours of sleep last night. Actually, that's just a guess because I didn't exactly remember the time he came to bed, but I turned in around 11pm and it was later than that. When the dull green glow of his blackberry illuminated our bedroom, it was around 2am. He got up, got dressed, and went back downstairs to work.
Most nights Robert gets about four hours of sleep and every once in a while, six. You might think that six hours is a perfectly grand amount of sleep, and it would be. If you weren't already so behind on your sleep to begin with.
The fact is, if Robert gets six hours of sleep, that means he worked eighteen. If he's not sleeping, he's working. Oh, he takes five to ten minute breaks for meals, but sometimes, when he's home, I'll bring a plate of food in to him because he doesn't have enough time to stop working and come out and eat with us.
This is the schedule that he keeps seven days a week. Every day. And he's been doing it since at least May. And, as he lamented last night, there is no end in sight.
That isn't precisely true--things will hopefully end in another three to six weeks--but I have no doubt it feels like there is no end in sight. He said, "there are three ways I see this ending. One, the project ends. Two, I die from working so hard. Three, I quit. But I don't really see a reason to quit."
"Um," I interjected. "I think your imminent death is reason enough to quit."
"Well, sure." He replied. "I'd quit if I was going to die."
So this is his life.
Since May, I can count on one hand the number of days he hasn't worked.
He got half a day off when Jonah had surgery, which was nice. He slept over half the time, including during Jonah's recovery time. He climbed onto the hospital bed and snuggled up to Jonah and went to sleep.
Before that he got a Saturday, Sunday and Monday off. We went to a nearby lake and played and had a picnic.
In one week we have tickets to travel to Minnesota for a wedding. Robert checked with work and they said they thought he should be able to take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off. However, there was no guarantee. Now, it looks like he won't be able to travel with us.
Finally, the fact is, since he's salaried, there is no overtime to this hellish schedule. He's working 130 or more hours a week. Every week. Since May.
Is there any other business in the developed world that makes its employees work like this?
Maybe the better question is: is there any other business in the developed world that wants to hire an engineer who would be happy to work 60 hours a week?