Late hours in office… Pakistani Corporate Culture?

Posted on January 25, 2008
Filed Under >Syed Ahsan Ali, Economy & Development, Society
Total Views: 37157

Syed Ahsan Ali

After a hardwork and serious studies of 4 years, my friends and I got our Economics degrees from the University of Karachi. Before jumping into the job market we were all afraid of our future because we had heard stories that in Pakistan, good jobs are only landed by using bribery, influence (sifarish) or other unfair means.

On the contrary, soon enough, most of my University buddies landed themselves good jobs in banking sector which paid them handsomely with attractive perks and all on merit. So it came as a blessing and good surprise that most of us got decent jobs without any unethical means.

At present, most of my friends qualify as part of the burgeoning middle-class, which has been progressing decently by earning good money. They live in comfortable houses, their kids go to good schools, they travel in cars leased from the loans from their banks and they eat fast food. To sum it all up they have the status and the lifestyles that remains a dream of millions of other Pakistanis.

Life is imperfect though. My friends also have their share of problems which is affecting their lives in one way or the other. In most cases, these problem occur due to creeping work hours. In the begining they look harmless and go unnoticed, because they are accepted as a norm of corporate life in Pakistan. But slowly but surely cracks began to appear in the fabric of family life. Earning men and women in Pakistan now find themselves spending more and more time in office and less and less time with thier spouses and children.

Some say it is the norm of corporate culture; Some say it is the way their bosses want them to live their office-lives and some say it is nothing but the way things work in a salaried society. But I want to call it exploitation. Exploitation of making employees sit late in the offices to work like a bullock in fields. The work hours now go well after their scheduled 9-5 timing.

Sitting late in the office is making people perpetually tired and irritated. Wives are getting enormous burden of caring for the whole family without due support from their husbands. It is disturbing the balance at home and can lead to lot more severe repercussions. More and more, wives alone are helping children to do well in studies in stiffer competitions at schools; they do shopping for the whole family including their hubbies alone; they drive cars to pay utility bills and look for plumbers, electricians and what they get at the end of the day? A sleepy and tired husband irked after long and tiring day at job which usually spans around 12-15 hours.

I have come across several people in private companies who work untill midnight just because their companies look to get bulk of work done with the lean work force. In some offices, bosses like to sit late in the offices just to show how efficient and effective they. This puts extra pressure on the staff who also tend to stay late and don’t want to appear as those who dare to leave before the boss.

My brother works in a renowned Pharmaceutical Company where work hours stretch to days. My family has seen him spending nights in the offices sleeping on the office desks because they have to finish a project no matter how and no matter what. Recently, I heard from my brother that one of his colleagues quit the job because his parents, and especially his sick mother couldn’t bear his late sittings after what happened with peace and law in recent months in our country.

Money is important. There is no argument against it. But one should not get so blindedsighted in the greed of it that we fail to understand that money is good only when we can have time to spend and enjoy it.

As increased numbers of heart diseases and heart attacks in Pakistani males has something to do with the kind of culture that prevails at our workplaces. Enormous pressures of getting the most out of our jobs to give better futures to our children are making men and women of Pakistan, money-making machines. Our marriages are also getting disturbed by this trend because wives think of themselves as maids who were brought from their parents houses to tender to husband and his family single-handedly. Children are also getting used to the fact that they have only one person to tell each and everything and that is their mothers because their fathers are always in the office.

We need to understand this and stop this exploitation at the hands of our organizations because we are their employees not their slaves.

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ATP post on Similar topic: Job Security in Corporate Pakistan

45 responses to “Late hours in office… Pakistani Corporate Culture?”

  1. leena says:

    hi…..this is so true……’s the same in India……my husband works in private sector in the field of media and his work extends till 9 or 10 or sometimes 11pm…..which makes me furious a lot as we have just got married…..and i am tired of waiting and waiting for husband at home as i am not working presently…….. ..I wonder where the humanity is heading….ultimately we all want happiness, mental peace and family but in corporate sector there is no concept of family life only office office……..poor wives keep on waiting for their husbands all day long, getting the grocery, vegetables, shopping everything all alone…so where is the bliss of togetherness… is more lonely after getting married and doing things all alone……

  2. Muhammad says:

    This is true that in our country there are Managers who seem to be inspired by the foreign countries/ multinational environment, when it comes to ‘late sitting’. Its a pity that while doing this they never realize/ consider the human element and the humanitarian approach, political environment, social environment, law & order situation and other such things which the foreign Managers recognize at the very first place. Another important thing worth mentioning is that these Managers do late sitting only because they want to show their efficiency to the top management – althouigh the same work could have easily been completed if they would have been punctual and started doing their jobs in the prescribed official timing. In other words its just ACT BUSY, DOIN NOTHING attitude. These days a new trend is emerging that the Managers force the female employees to sit in the office till late hours (example 08:30 p.m) which is a violation of laws and also it is very indecent and this is happening not just in private companies but also in reputed Government offices. I feel that the Human Resource professionals and Government of Pakistan intervene and bring an end to such a sick attitude and provide an encouraging and better working environment to the ‘weaker sex’.

  3. Sheraton Karachi says:

    Its good to hear about the job which you and your friends got because whatever you heard about bribery , influence and other unfair means its true but some time people got their job with fair means and that could be say the luck which you people got because job can be get easily but proper field and attractive pay can be the problem.

  4. pakistan says:

    Discover the beauty of pakistan. Learn the culture, heritage, traditions and landmarks of different parts of Pakistan especially sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan and N.W.F.P and far northern areas.

  5. Aamir Ali says:

    I work in the US. Here a full time job means 40-60 hr weeks ,most weeks of the year.

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