I was raised in blue-collar town in Michigan—the kind of town where people worked in factories and got their hands dirty.
My grandfather did this kind of work. My father did this kind of work. And for a summer, I did as well.
Working overtime, or more than 40 hours, wasn’t unusual for factory workers. In fact, it was to be expected.
Looking back, overtime wasn’t something workers complained about. On the contrary, it was seen as an opportunity. People hoped they’d get the chance to do it. As long as I can remember, I don’t think my Dad ever turned down an opportunity to work overtime.
When I worked at a factory the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college, I remember seeing people race to get in line to sign up for that chance to work overtime so they could earn time-and-a-half or double pay.
Who got to work overtime was based on seniority. The more senior you were, the higher your odds of the extra work. Yes, the more experience you had, there more likely you were to be first in line for the opportunity to… work more.
With overtime, sure you could earn extra money. But there was more to it than that, especially in a time when a factory job meant earning a living wage. These days, with manufacturing labor being made obsolete, it’s clear that those jobs offered more than just a living… they offered a purpose.
The work provided people with reason for being—the opportunity to be part of something, while simultaneously providing for your family.
The work offered pride. And that is priceless.
Why You Should Work Overtime
That got me thinking about how we might apply this concept of overtime to other areas of our lives. Beyond our career and professions, where can we work “overtime” to earn back more than we give in the most important areas of our lives?
What if we put in overtime on our relationships that matter most.
Overtime on the projects we say we care about…
Overtime on our health and physical fitness.
Overtime on our personal finances.
And overtime doesn’t have to mean working a double shift—it can just mean putting in more than the minimum that’s expected of us, even within the same amount of hours.
It can mean giving a little more of our effort at the office.
It can mean giving more of our attention to our spouse or our kids.
It can mean getting the workout in before work, instead of making excuses for why we can’t do it after.
It can mean setting up automatic deposits into that mutual fund to start saving right here, right now.
It can mean meal prepping on a Sunday night to ensure healthy eating all week long.
It can mean constantly learning, by reading 10 pages of that book or listening to a podcast.
Overtime simply means being willing to give more than you’ve been giving.
Odds are, you have more inside of you to give—more that could make a real difference in all areas of your life.
Just like with the factory workers from my family, living with the expectation “overtime” can provide you with:
A reason for being.
An opportunity to be part of something.
A feeling of pride
And so much more.
The great thing about living with an “overtime” mindset is that you’ll start to see “double pay” showing up in aspects of your life. It means that where you are today—with your relationships, work, health, finances and beyond—can start to drastically change and improve in just a month, or even a week.