What’s The Most You’ve Worked In A Week?

What’s The Most You’ve Worked In A Week?

With the recent discussion around Red Dead, crunch and work hours in general, it makes sense to touch on work hours for this week’s Off Topic.

Part of the discussion surrounding gamedev and crunch culture always involves a discussion about what life is like in other industries. A lot of that discussion is happening on social media right now, particularly from former game devs who left the industry for better conditions or a more stable work/life balance.

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It’s long been an open secret in the video game industry that the prestigious developer Rockstar embraces overtime, and a new quote from company co-founder Dan Houser about Red Dead Redemption 2 caused controversy this morning by suggesting that it took 100-hour weeks to make. In a new elaboration to Kotaku, however, Houser said the quote had been misinterpreted, saying such a workload is not required at the studio.

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So, what industry do you work – and how many hours a week is it normally? There’s quite a lot of industries that work plenty of hours off-site – teaching comes to mind, and there’s software and web development of course – so I’m curious to know what the upper end for yourselves has been.

For myself: around 75 hours has been the upper limit, although that’s a rough estimate rather than a precise figure.

What’s the most you’ve worked in a week?


  • About a hundred is the most I’ve done, and I’ve done that maybe three or four times in my life. All but one were in game programming, the other was business programming. All of them were by choice (occasionally over the objections of the manager) – the most I’ve been asked to work reluctantly was around 80 hours due to an unexpected deadline on a telecommunications control system project.

    The normal hours for all of my past jobs (except one) was 40/week. The one outlier was a facility hire place that did computer training, which ended up around 50 hours a week, although they only paid for 40 and offered the rest in lieu.

    Maintaining a strong work/life boundary is important and I generally stick to that.

  • In game dev there was one point where I was working something like 9am to sometime past midnight, 7 days a week. This went on for an extended period too.

    Normal hours though are 38/week, And I try to stick as close to that as possible. I’m still in game dev but I basically refuse to work those kind of crazy hours anymore.

  • If you count the commute, something around 70 hours would be the most I worked, but that included 4 hours travel per day. If its just actual paid time, I doubt its ever been more than 45. That’s 6 days of 7.5ish hours.

    One of the perks of being a public servant – very few areas really do overtime so theres none of this crunch time stuff. Back before electronic lodgements became the standard, there would be plenty of overtime to key returns, but that hasn’t been the case since the mid 90’s.

  • Summer job in Tomato shed at Murchison. Largest Tomato grower in Southern Hemisphere. 16 hour days 7 days a week. Any reason why I can’t stand tomatoes now????

  • Well it depends, if you are asking about paid work. Well then the most was 30 hours which had an extra 10 hours of travel in a week.
    If its unpaid work as i did a few shit internships in my early 20s working for a few sysadmin and design firms and they were closer to the 60 hour mark which made me realise i didnt want to work there even if they offered me the job.
    Its no wonder i only work part time cause its about as much as my body and brain can handle.

  • I’ve cracked a hundred a few times during expos. I’d take a break when I could fit it in, and once things died down for the night I’d crash nearby at my sisters place. A few hours sleep on her couch and a shower and I’d be back at work. During setup was the worst because my break would be stopping at McDonalds on the way between places. I actually fell sleep in an Officeworks when we went to buy chairs and a table.
    One year my dad was moving house during an expo and he couldn’t be there to do any of the actual moving. I don’t know how I got through doing both at once but when it was over I brought a GameCube and pretty much played Wind Waker from start to finish. It was like my brain was dead and I needed Link to take over for a few days. =P

  • Office junior at an company during a crisis with like a 100 million dollar deal about to go belly up, all hands on deck 24/7 for 9 days straight locked in a room with no windows and high security, and a hotel room next door to shower and sleep.

    Worse part for me was my coworker in my role quit like two weeks before due to stress so we didnt have anyone else with clearance to take the other shift so I was doing his and my shifts back to back cause no one else. Over 120 hours in the first week if I count about 5 hours a sleep, eating at my desk and not seeing sunlight. The worse part was all that stress and chaos in a tiny room… never work bid rooms with that much money on the line.

  • Lifting an entire government organisation into the cloud in a big bang movement, I racked up over 450 hours in four weeks. That was ridiculous, forever ongoing work, as progressive deadlines for service restoration kept ticking up.

    Still, that month saved maybe a full year or more in migrations, so a big bang approach definitely has its advantages.

  • Back when I was stacking pallets for the Big W Distribution Centre as a way to earn money during Uni breaks I would average around 50-70 hours a week with each (week) day being around 10 – 12 hours long. Once I started working as a Software Developer though I made every effort to keep home and work separate. That’s not to say I haven’t had late nights and weekends spent working, but for the most part I’ve been able to maintain a 40 hour week. I have had a few 50+ hour weeks though.

  • 127 hours in a week was the longest I worked when I was employed by architects to do 3D modelling work. The real sort, with paints and timber and big spinning saws.
    120 hours was fairly common for the last three weeks of any commission, but beyond 124 your endurance was counted in 15 minute blocks rather than hours.

    The longest single shift that I did for them without sleep or proper meal breaks was 57 hours before they let me go home. Bastards.

  • I’ve done a few game dev crunches in my time. Nothing in the realms of 100 hours. Definitely a few extended periods around the 70 hour mark though. Coders and QA get it worse. Usually if by the time things get really crazy, they just want artists not to break anything.

    Things are generally better than they were 10-15 years ago when everyone was doing licensed garbage on the cheap, but there’s still a whole lot of room for improvement here.

  • Back when I worked a 24/7 call centre for a contractor, they used to let us work as many shifts as we wanted. I was young, stupid, and loved the money – I found myself working anywhere up to 72hr weeks, just to make some serious bank.

    The first few weeks were tough, but I endured it. After a while (about a month), though, I just couldn’t handle it any more.

    I went to a chemist and asked if they had any drugs that could make me more alert, less tired, more ‘awake’ during my shifts, as I’d noticed I was starting to fall asleep while on shift. Little micro-sleeps, auditory hallucination etc.

    The chemist offered me a pack of no-doz. I was disgusted when I read the list of ingredients and saw that it was just caffeine. This was utterly pointless as I’d already been drinking several litres of energy drink every day and caffeine appeared to no longer have any effect on me at that point.

    When I pointed out I was already mainlining the stuff, I complained, “Surely medical science, with all we’ve learned about biochemistry, has made SOME kind of advances in this field?” The chemist replied, “Sure we have. But it’s called speed and I can’t sell it to you.”

    Grumbling, I grabbed the no-doz and did the next shift anyway. In the space of maybe half an hour, I probably consumed an entire sheet of no-doz tablets. There was no increase to my alertness, but my world did start to shake, my heartbeat went crazy, and I felt dizzy for hours. At that point I figured I was probably going to accidentally kill myself, and took a week off to sleep.

    • As of now, if my job requires anything more than 50hrs, I’m straight-up not doing it.

      Life’s too fucking short to sell all of it.

      • That’s basically where I’m at, unless I’m really enjoying the work. I don’t respond to text messages or work calls after hours. One boss had a habit of messaging me right in the middle of lunch – silent the rest of the day but always messaged during lunch. I chose to wait until I got back and drop increasingly less subtle hints that I’m not available during lunch and they should stick to normal non-lunch times to bug me.

      • I feel like you kinda need to earn the right to say this. Everyone should experience at least a few back breaking weeks of work in their life. Heck sometimes its what is required to get anywhere worth while. Then we can all sit back and say, lifes to short to do that again.

        • Like, sometimes you gotta make a mistake yourself to realize why it was such a mistake, otherwise you only ever take it as ‘potentially good advice,’ instead of internalizing it as a hard truth?

          Same really goes of most things. Does anyone ever really trust what their parents have to say about intoxicants or relationships?

          I still think there’s room for learning and accepting from others’ experience in this respect, too. I was an idiot, but if I hadn’t been lured by the dump trucks of money, I could easily have learned from my father’s experience of working too much. It cost him a lot, in the end.

          • If you’re wise enough from a young age to see your parents mistakes and learn from them you’re doing pretty well for yourself. Unfortunately many fathers have over worked themselves at the cost of their family.

  • I relatively frequently hit 85-90 hours a week, but only when traveling, and it’s almost always my choice.

    When I’m traveling for work, I tend to work longer hours simply because there’s no imperative to return to an empty hotel room.

    When I’m home, I’d rather spend time with my family; and am almost always out the door at 5 on the dot (though am always early, and rarely take a lunch break).

  • 12hrs work perday, 14 days on, 3 off (2 were half lost due to flights) did that for almost 3 months. Then was doing 60 hour weeks (day night rosters) for 7 months. Now im loving 5×8 and every second saturday. But I misd the money.

  • I’m a roadie and set builder and shifts in the entertainment industry can be rather bonkers, especially in the summer. My arsehole boss went to Japan 2 weeks before Christmas and as well as juggling his business I was freelancing elsewhere too. That week I clocked 111hrs. Yes I was chemically assisted, yes I was hallucinating for the last 10 hours while trying to quote a job to a client and yes I regretted that week… Til I got paid anyway! Drugs are bad kids. Don’t waste em on work!

  • Work in Finance – paid work week is 40 hours. I reckon I average 45 a week.

    I work flexibly so reckon the extra 5 is me just working after kids/wife goto bed a couple of nights a week and doing more than I need to to make up some early finishes.

    Worst weeks are when we have system outages and I typically drop my regular tasks to resolve issues out the back of an outage – they push into 50-60 hour weeks where the extra 10-20 is savagely pruning my inbox to avoid drowning.

  • Highest is probably around the 85hrs mark, I think.

    I’ll consistently average somewhere between 50-70hrs, and I’m 6yrs into this work.


  • 140 hours (recorded) over 10 days due to a cryptolocker outbreak. We lost just about everything and moved heaven and earth to get as much back as possible ourselves. We got about 95% of everything back which was a huge relief.

  • Back in uni I remember doing a few layout weekends for a charity paper that were around 100 hours straight with the odd naps under desks. But it was volunteer work and kind of done for the crazy atmosphere.

    Now I just work a nice consistent 166 hours over two weeks then get a week off…. God I need to get out of FIFO.

  • I disagree with all of the sentiment of work/life balance.
    I think it is much better to push as hard as you can until you are 40, and then semi-retire after that. The idea of being 40, having $75k/year from passive investments, and only working 15hrs a week to earn another $75k/year <– this is my idea of a worthwhile goal.

    Much rather that than to do the salary man slog until the age of 67, struggling to pay a mortgage, only to downsize into a small apartment in an Aged Care community…

    My Normal work week for the past 10 years has been 72 hours a week (12hrs/day, 6 days a week).
    Biggest weeks come at Xmas time, when it switches to 16hrs/day 7 days a week for 1 month straight (112hrs/week).
    Then 2 weeks holiday… and then back into it.

    Worst I have had was 3 days straight, no sleep.
    Someone completely screwed a project, had to start it from scratch. managed to fit a 2 week project into 3 days with the help of assistants on rotating shifts.
    However, it then required a week of recovery, as I could not even talk after that.

    All 100% worth it, have gone from $100k in debt, to $1.5m in properties and shares, with $200k cash in the bank.

    In saying that… I have a colleague, who works even more than me… but blows his money.
    Constantly in debt to the bank… crazy waste!

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