I am considering a job offer. Yesterday, I met for the first time with the people who would be my peer co-workers at the new job. They seem happy with the work environment and their individual work/life balances. I also met for the second time with the owner. He seems disillusioned with the profession, unhappy with his work, and compulsive about working long hours. His employees hinted they had the same impression of him.

One of my present bosses works too much, but that's because he doesn't delegate well. He's able to go home to his family or to a baseball game when he feels his work is under control. I've also had bosses who work much longer hours than their employees because of differences in profession (doctor v. receptionist). But it's on a different level with this prospective boss.

I'm settled in my opinions of the pay, opportunities for advancement, job duties, commute and other aspects of the job.

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Given that his current employees seem happy with the work environment and work/life balance ... it doesn't sound like he's as miserable to his employees as he is personally.  Sounds like it'd be fine.

JB

I agree, the owner may put in long hours but if he treats his crew well, join the crew.

Honestly, I don't see much of a problem. Most owners or middle managers tend to have a certain degree of apathy or neuroticism. All of the work that goes into running a bussiness really wears on you. If your prospective coworkers are happy, that is a good sign for the future. If you want to know what working for a company will be like, don't judge by what the bigwigs say. Ask the foot soldiers.

The boss may be unhappy because his team Isn't working the same hours as him, and he may be seeking out someone who will. Are you that guy?

If you think you are, consider how your relationship with your new peers will be if you are the only one hanging in there with the boss while they leave. If he wants to change the culture, he has to start with someone who wants to put in the time and set an example for the others. He also has to have enough backup in place to be able to tell people to shape up or ship out.

I inherited a situation like this three years ago, and it took two of those years to change the culture and get rid of the dead weight that dragged everyone down. A lot of the existing team was willing and able to step up, and did, and I rewarded them and my newer team quickly to show what kind of culture I was building.

Bottom line, be willing to work as hard as your boss and you should be fine. If not, look somewhere else.

I ended up turning down the job for other reasons. My opinion, without experience, is your view is how it should be, but this offer wasn't explicit about either base expectations or bonus structure; and in my business, it's easy to take advantage of professional employees. This is because there's a direct relation between hours worked and profits, but professionals are salaried. Also, if the boss was looking for someone to work longer hours, but his present employees didn't see that, that says a lot about his (poor) management style.

In my experience, it largely depends on WHY they are a workaholic. 

I've known more than a few who simply had a horrible home life and just plain did not want to go home.  They were the easiest to get along with. Those who are simply driven to work 80 hours a week as a matter of course by virtue of disposition or personality were the worst. They were the ones who could not understand why everyone did not work the kind of hours that they do and were offended, insulted or just plain irked by the sheer audacity that you would want to go home at the end of the day. 

I suspect this guy was the latter because he whined about having to work and missing time with his kids. He also said his job was very stressful, and I got the impression he dealt with the stress by working more instead of better.

I applied for 8 more, better jobs yesterday. Onward and upward.

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