As of 2013, the average employee worked around 7.6 hours per day, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimates. Second to sleeping, working is the task that many of us spend the most time performing. If you work a 40-hour workweek, you spend nearly one-quarter (23.8%) of your time during a given week on the job.
Plus, once you add in an average commute of around 50 minutes per day — 25 minutes each way, according to Census estimates — coupled with the time you spend on breaks, lunches, and getting ready for work, this 40 hours can quickly turn into 50 to 55 hours.
Does this sound like a lot of work time? Well, workers in some positions and industries work much longer hours than the traditional 40. These workers may work 10, 12, or even 16 hours straight during a given day. They’re generally compensated for this extra load, either in the form of overtime benefits or through a generous salary.
These people may even be able to complete their tasks in spurts, when they’ll work constantly for a few days or weeks and then take some time off. But even given the extra cash and a potential break in between, would you spend 50% to 75% of a given day working? Check out some of the jobs with the longest hours.
1. Video game developers
- Typical hours per day: 8 to 10
- Hours on a long day: 16
- Pay: Varies depending on the worker’s specific role in the development process. Game Industry Career Guide reports the starting salary for a gaming programmer to be around $40,000. Some programmers work their way up to the six-figure range however, earning around $120,000 annually.
Video game developers take part in the creation of the games we play on mobile devices, consoles, and personal computers. They are the designers, programmers, artists, advertisers, financial staff, and management staff who bring a video game to life from a simple idea to an actual, playable experience.
AAA release games generally take around a year or two to create, and developers have deadlines to meet as players anxiously await the game’s release. To meet these deadlines and ensure the game functions properly, developers may work extremely long hours.
2. Loan officers
- Hours per day: 10
- Hours on a long day: Varies
- Pay: The BLS reports the average annual salary for a loan officer at $71,800.
Because loan officers’ schedules are centered around consumers and the best times for loan activities, many loan officers work a 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. schedule (or something similar), according to the Truth About Mortgage. The peak time for them to make their sales calls is between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., when consumers are home from work for the day.
3. Truck drivers
- Typical hours per day: Truck drivers work long days and can work up to 70 hours per week.
- Hours on a long day: In a long day, a truck driver may drive the entire day and only stop to take care of personal needs and rest.
- Pay: The BLS reports the average annual salary for heavy tractor-trailer drivers at just more than $40,000. Some truck drivers, however, are paid by the mile, or they are paid on a percentage-based system. The average truck driver receives more than 5% of his or her compensation in the form of overtime.
The job of a truck driver is notorious for its long hours. But some people enjoy this career for the travel, sights, and the solitude it provides. There are disadvantages other than the long hours, including being away from friends and family and an erratic sleep schedule.
4. Managers and executives
- Typical hours per day: A survey by the Creative Center for Leadership found that professionals, managers, and executives who carry smartphones typically interact with work or perform work-related tasks for 13.5 hours each work day and a total of 72 hours per week, including any time spent on weekends.
- Hours on a long day: Do we even want to know?
- Pay: As we all know, CEOS and top executives are generally well compensated for their time, earning average annual salaries of $178,400, per BLS estimates.
When you have the weight of an entire department or business on your shoulders, it’s sure to take up a great deal of time. You didn’t think CEOs and top executives just flew on jets and sat around by the pool all day, did you? They work hard for their money (well, the majority of them do, anyway).
5. Power plant workers
- Typical hours per day: 8 to 12
- Hours on a long day: 12
- Pay: The average annual salary for a power plant operator is $67,230, per BLS estimates.
Power plant staff generally rotate eight- or 12-hour shifts, and a worker may work 12 on, 12 off, and so on. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that nuclear power plant staff cannot work more than 16 hours during a 24-hour period.