Even though he's an IT contractor, this pilot fish is in the same boat as regular employees when it comes to being asked to work unpaid overtime.

"Well, not exactly asked," says fish. "Just assigned work that can't be completed in a normal work week. First the project schedule is optimistic at best, then the inevitable problem or major change occurs, then the deadline becomes nearly impossible.

"The only way to even have the deadline as a goal is to work lots of extra hours -- which tends to reduce productivity overall, but apparently the executives haven't taken any economics classes and don't know about the law of diminishing returns."

Fish doesn't mind working a little extra here and there for free. But when he takes a contract with this client in the financial industry, he discovers that management won't authorize paying for any overtime -- but still expects completion by unreasonable deadlines.

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