When I started off working on this particular project under a new technical manager, I used to love working overtime because the work and the problem we were trying to solve was really interesting. My technical lead was also a really awesome dude and I was able to learn a lot of things under his guidance. A couple of times, I didn't even mind working on the weekends too in case we wanted to meet some strict deadlines. I wanted to make sure that my team's brand name does not get spoiled and we deliver on what we promise.

It was all good until all the management started taking our overtime and weekend work for granted. It took me some time to realize this. Now it almost became a part of standard expectations. It was getting irritating. Managers could see this uneasiness but chose to do nothing.

The work increased, so did the team and the communication channels. The newbies in the team now worked overtime and on weekends. And everybody started acting as if it was normal. That's when it stuck me that I am responsible for inculcating this unsustainable and life sucking culture in the team. I stopped working overtime and started questioning the set deadlines, often asking them to postpone things. Management got furious and changed their focus on the newbies who'd work overtime, often rewarding them to reinforce the behavior.

I tried undoing it, asking managers that the team will not work on weekends. There was friction and managers would agree but the old bad habited cultural spore would pop up tume and again and the team would go back to the regular overtime and working weekends thing. As more time passed, the managers would circumvent me and start talking to others in the team, giving them work and deadlines directly because I started to say 'No' when I felt the need to do so. I tried to protect some folks in the team who would not be able to speak up but were frustrated. I started caring less about the team's brand and more about colleagues who were suffering due to such unethical (and illegal?) practices being normalised in the team.

Trying again and again to get back to 'normal', I failed everytime. Unsure of how far I'll be able to go on with this without getting severly burnt in the process and seeing no respite, I decided to move on. I put in my resignation two weeks back and want to start a fresh in another company.

I feel I am responsible for bringing this into the team without realizing the repurcussions of my working overtime. Staying in the team for more than 3.5 years, I could actually feel how managers have no fucks about your personal life and work life balance (despite showing oh so much concern about the well being of my family) and would reward anyone who works as per their whims and fancies. I wish I never get to work for a management such as this.

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    @ArcaneEye I agree. The only regret I have is that the newbies in the team looked upon the existing team members. And I'd be lying if I said that the small once-in-a-while rewards we got for our work didn't make us feel proud. Others in the team also saw it and started practicing it.
    But yes, I could now imagine how devilish it is of the management to overlook this and let it continue. And as you said, it's good as long as overtime is an option for which you are paid on an hourly basis. Keeps management in check too.
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    This is why even if I enjoy my work, I still don't work on personal time. It becomes expected if you do it consistently enough.
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