Long Hours Aren't Anything New In These Industries

While we don't want to glorify overworking, this is the reality.

jobs with long hours
ILLUSTRATION War Espejo

(SPOT.ph) Philippine labor laws tell us that the normal hours of work of any employee should not exceed eight hours a day for five days a week, excluding breaks. But not everyone can just clock in at 9 a.m., clock out at 6 p.m., and leave it at that. As much as we want to take care of our physical, emotional, and mental health, putting food on the table is always number one priority. Not everyone lives in a mansion or has unlimited funds in the bank, after all. We don't want to glorify overworking (or condone exploitation of our labor force); but the reality is, a number of workers in the Philippines go well beyond 40 hours a week just to survive. 

Here are jobs that require crazy long work hours:

Film and TV Production

Up until the Department of Labor and Employment regulated working hours in the movie and television industry in 2016, it was normal for production assistants, camera crew, talents, set builders, and post-production artists to go beyond eight hours. The current maximum is at 12 hours—but what is written on paper is rarely what happens in real life. Take the circumstances of the ongoing pandemic; productions squeeze weeks worth of filming into just days, requiring crazy long hours.

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Healthcare

The nearly two-year-long pandemic has proven many things, perhaps most blatantly of all how overworked our healthcare workers are. In fact, big hospitals are allowed by the Labor Code to expand health personnels' work hours to up to six days or a total of 48 hours weekly. And with the dwindling number of doctors, nurses, and other hospital personnel, they sometimes take extra shifts to take care of patients.

News Media

GMA News' 24 Oras tagline "hindi natutulog ang balita" is relatable for many reasons. It's not like people will stop dying or crimes will stop happening after 6 p.m. so there's nothing to report. Media workers (i.e. camera personnel, photojournalists, journalists, field reporters, and desk editors) go beyond normal working hours to deliver the news accurately and on time. Sure, they can take shifts; but not all media rooms have enough human resources to spread out assignments.

Marketing and advertising

Agency people (account executives, copywriters, art directors, etc.) know the struggles of working in advertising. The work day doesn't end when they clock out of office (or their laptops, now that remote working has become a thing), especially when clients call in the middle of the night to have the copy or collaterals edited to their liking. It gets extra busy around the holidays, from Chinese New Year to Christmas, when brands want to milk all the marketing initiatives around these special days.

Delivery Services

Much like our healthcare workers, delivery riders (i.g. food delivery and couriers) are also part of the many economic frontliners that saved us during the pandemic. Most of them are paid by the number of delivery bookings in a day, so the longer they're out in the streets, the more money they have.

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In a 2020 SPOT.ph interview with food-delivery rider Sarah Francesca Aguja, she said that she usually goes out during peak hours of the day and even at night, "mga midnight po hanggang 3 a.m."

Freelancers and creatives

Freelancers (photographers, animators, writers, and transcribers) don't have a monthly salary to guarantee food on the table or money to pay the bills. They rely on the number of projects they can score within a week or within a month. This means not having the luxury to strictly follow the eight-hour clock, unless they earn more than enough.

Public Transportation

For some bus and jeepney drivers, the day starts before dawn to ferry commuters hoping to get to work before 8 a.m. They might take a short break for lunch, then go at it again until the evening rush hour. Factor in the long periods of them stuck in traffic, too.

Vendors

For market vendors and street vendors, eight hours aren't enough to sell everything in their stall or carts. They stay out for as long as they can to make some profit from their products.

Agriculture and Food Sector

There's no eight-hour bundy clocks for farmers and fisherfolk toiling before sunrise. As one of the backbones of our economy, the agriculture sector also rely on these hardworkers to provide food for Filipino families.

Academe

Teachers and professors are either paid for regular class hours or for their teaching load in one semester. While classes are held during the day, they still have to prepare their lesson plans, check test papers, read and reread students' essays, research for their next class, prepare visual aids, and the list just goes on. Obvioulsy, accomplishing these tasks means staying up late at night or working even on the weekends. On top of this, they also have to regularly attend seminars and workshops and do their own research and papers if they want to get tenure.

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