Overtime => I mean working extra hours for your employer apart from your official work hours.

Suppose, you're working in a startup marketing agency in India and your job is graphic design. You are not as good a designer when compared to designers in bigger companies/agencies. But, at your company you're considered good designer.

You start working at 10 am and end your day around 9-10 pm almost every day (assume official work hours are 10am to 6pm including lunch break 1/2 hour + ~1 hour extra work for home communication gap in current covid19 pandemic). At times, some weeks, you have to work till late midnight or early morning since there is urgent work/more work. And all overtime and extra hours are unpaid.

I heard someone from US say agency life is not for everyone. Further agencies create creative stuff and people say creativity needs time and work life balance. So if you can't work like that much hours, does it mean you're not really fit for an agency and either you should learn to work like that or quit and start looking job in other non agency fields as a designer?

  • 2
    Can you specify the country in your question? That might change what someone would answer.
    – curious
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 11:16
  • @curious okay. Updated.
    – Vikas
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 11:19
  • I think you mean "work over" or "work unpaid overtime". "Overwork" sounds more like it would lead to an illness.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 13:14
  • @Billy tried to make it clear now.
    – Vikas
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 14:02
  • @Vikas you should probably just change it to "work overtime". Overwork means something different in English - something which often leads to exhaustion through working too hard (not necessarily long hours).
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Sep 24, 2020 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


Be aware... in the US, unless you are a salaried employee the law requires overtime be paid. Employees which are salaried often receive higher salaries with the understanding that they "work until things are done" disregarding any actual hours. Hourly-paid employees must be paid for anything above and beyond their scheduled work hours. (or 40hrs a week)

For me, if I were an hourly paid employee and was not being paid for constant overtime... and in some cases if a salary were not enough compensation for the plethora of hours required.... I'd find a new job.

Working in a demanding, fast-paced, multiple-deadline, environment can be overwhelmingly valuable to some. For others, such environments can be a stressful nightmare to be avoided.

  • One learns proper project and time management.
  • One learns how to make quick, effective, decisions.
  • One learns to trust their aesthetic over time.
  • One learns how to deal with last minute changes or issues effectively.
  • Overall it "beefs up" the "creative muscles" for some.

A very fast-paced, multiple-deadline, environment is one where some people thrive and others fail. It's not for everyone.

These type of environments require those who are adept at being able to whittle down the overtime hours due to being able to work and make effective aesthetic decisions at a rapid pace. i.e. the faster you work, the less overtime there is.

No one can really answer your "work life balance" aspect. That's up to you. If you don't like the environment you are in, change it. No one else will.

My point is, it's not the environment which is "wrong" or "bad". It is what it is. You simply may not be the best fit for that environment.

Not trying to be boastful, but... I am "lightning fast" with some projects. Seriously often needing 1/10th the time others may need. I've amazed people, clients and other designers, with my speed. I am known for my rapid turnaround when needed. As a freelancer, I also profit more from my work. If a client is accustomed to paying for 10 hours for a project, I can bill them the cost of 8hrs and they are happy - even though it only took me 2hrs to complete their project (I value-base price, I do not price hourly). But that all came from experience in one such environment.

As an example... I can do a great deal of web design and development... but I don't. While I'm perfectly capable of gaining an employment position building web sites and have held such positions in the past... I'd never seek such a position today. That environment is not for me. It has nothing to do with the actual work to be done - it's about pacing, demands, focus, and considerations. On the other hand, with print-based design, advertising design, or illustrative/photo manipulation work, I really enjoy having so much to get done that 12 hrs flies by without a thought while I'm lost in my creative abilities.

Today, freelancing, I work 12-18 hour days for a few weeks in a row. Often pulling an "all-nighter" (although the older I get the less frequent all-nighters are).. During slow periods I may work a total of 3-4 hrs a week for a few weeks in a row. For me, I much prefer the long days for a few weeks every so often - not all the time. But that's my choice regarding "work-life balance".

So... it's all relative.

  • Just confirming (it often confuses me), "find new job" means job in same profession i. e., design right? I guess you don't mean career change.
    – Vikas
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 1:25
  • 1
    😀 If I meant career change I'd post "Find a new career" @Vikas😃
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 1:45
  • Cool. But isn't it better to say find a new company/agency? Maybe find new job and find new company act like synonyms. I'm just saying I don't know much.
    – Vikas
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 1:51
  • 1
    I think you are sort of "splitting hairs" and thinking too much about it. "New job" generally means new employer - same field or not, whereas "new career" means a different field.
    – Scott
    Commented Sep 25, 2020 at 3:27

Looks like you have 3 options:

  1. Find another job that would better fit your schedule and needs.
  2. Try to discuss this with your superiors and hopefully better define your daily schedule.
  3. Accept this job for what it is, although it doesn't sound like a very healthy environment.

You probably don't want the third option, so..

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