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Last Samurai Syndrome

I read a post on Linkedin a while ago saying something along the line “Leave the office on time! Do not sacrifice your family for work! Your family will always be there for you, not your boss!” The post received lots of comments on both sides of the spectrum. People agreed and disagreed.

Very easy to agree with the post as it is so true. Family is all and everything that matters. But it is also easy to agree with whom who disagreed. The bottom line of their argument is that if you do not work hard and long enough you may lose your job and so you will no longer be able to feed your family and pay the bills.

Working long hours may be common to some industries, cultures or countries where there is what I call the Last Samurai Syndrome. I also suffered from the Last Samurai Syndrome and took me a few years to get rid of it. I call the Last Samurai Syndrome, the behaviour to work harder and longer than anybody else in the office including your manager.

If you have a hard-working manager or work in a very competitive team you may feel inappropriate leaving the office before anybody else does as you may not be considered a good team player and your manager and team mates may start feeling that you don’t like the project, job, colleagues and the company. You think that you may be disliked in the first place and eventually fired or forced to resign. You think that they may say:

“Look, she is already leaving, she does not care about us, we have to work for her, what an aXXhole!”

So what do you do? Stay back in the office and be one of the last to leave! You have become part of the Last Samurai family! You are now well regarded by your manager and colleagues. You are part of the team and have a prosperous future in the company! Well done (or maybe NOT)!

Sometimes there is an unwritten rule or habit which sets the amount of overtime that an employee is expected to do. When I started as an engineer I used to work long hours because I felt that I was not giving back to the company as I was more learning than actually working. To fill the gap and become productive I felt that I had to start early and leave after everybody else. I was appreciated by my manager and the company which gave me pay rises year after year. It was fulfilling though I had to give up some of the…

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