Worker Counts Her Commute & Unpaid Lunch As Work Hours And Says Her Job Demands She's Present 11 Hours Per Day

Despite not actively working, she said time commitments for many jobs are exhausting and unsustainable.

Stressed out worker working long hours. F8 Studio /

While the average payrolled work week for a corporate employee lingers around 40 hours in the U.S., the reality far exceeds any payable time. From commuting to unpaid breaks, many workers find themselves working 50, 60, and even 70-hour weeks to meet expectations.

Whether they’re forced to stay to complete their overwhelming workloads or simply afraid to break toxic workplace expectations and culture, many employers are growing weary over the sustainability of their work lives and weekly commitments.


A worker argued her employer ‘demands’ 11 hours of work time per day, including an hour of unpaid lunch and commute times.

“You know, at least they have a Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks on campus, right?” Mom and corporate employee @sahnerd on TikTok said she’s come face-to-face with this unsettling corporate culture while interviewing for new positions in recent months. 

One job in particular, with a corporate campus, great benefits, and perks, seemed great — until she realized the commitment she’d be forced into.

@sahnerd #stitch with @ I found it very telling that the perks that employer was trying to sell including services that cover employees basic needsIts like the knew they’re keeping employees from their homes#jobhunt #jobhunting #returntooffice #corporate #corporatelife ♬ original sound - SAHNerd

Including an hour of unpaid breaks and her commute time, she’d be forced to dedicate well over 55 hours to the job a week outside of any additional stress or work she’d do at home.


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Even with perks like Dunkin' Donuts on campus, she said the lack of work-life balance comes at a cost.

“It’s not even just that you aren’t paying your employees enough and that they require additional income,” she said, “but there are a lot of employers out there who just straight up want to monopolize your time.”

After interviewing for new jobs in hopes of leaving her current one, this TikTok woman said she was shocked by the time commitments employers were expecting of new employees. 

Not only was the commute time well over an hour for one job, with hundreds, even thousands, of people coming onto their campus to work each day, workload, and mandatory breaks added up to at least 11 hours per day. 


Unhappy woman sitting with her coworker. stockfour /

“This specific employer demanded that you be on campus for at least 9 hours — your 8-hour shift, plus an hour unpaid lunch break for five days a week,” she explained. “I don’t even live that far, but with the commute — the traffic that’s in the area — it would take an hour to get there one way.”

“There’s no way in [expletive] that I’d be doing anything after work, and that’s just insane.” However, it’s the reality for most working Americans. 

@yourtango Gen Zers are increasingly searching for better work-life balance. A 4-day workweek is one way to achieve this, although one Boomer CEO wasn't sure what people would do with the extra day off. #4dayworkweek #worktok #work #worklifebalance #genz #boomers ♬ original sound - YourTango

It's a constant cycle of working for the weekend, sacrificing mental health and well-being, and growing resentment in your career over an unbalanced work and personal life.

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Her experience is a reminder of the unsustainable nature of the corporate world.

Burnout coaches and career experts suggest that many salaried employees are feeling the burdens of being overworked even when they’re not “technically” working more than 40-hour weeks. Whether it’s staying late some days, commuting long distances, or allowing work-related stress to consume your free time, many people struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

@yourtango Is anything ever really THAT urgent at a corporate job? #corporate #worktok #burnout #40hourworkweek #employee #genz ♬ original sound - YourTango

It’s the expectation of many workplaces to prioritize your livelihood over everything else. It’s the pinnacle of what you’ve worked to achieve, spent every day showing up for, and the source of your income — if you don’t meet their expectations, there’s an element of job insecurity that only sparks more anxiety and unease.

Setting healthy workplace expectations and boundaries is one thing, but as many commenters pointed out, they're impossible to maintain all the time. Even for employers that try to cultivate a healthy balance, the expectation to maintain professionalism and dedicate time to the team outside of typical hours is unrealistic.

“The after-work events literally ruined my marriage,” one person admitted. “I’m already working 9 to 10-hour days away from my family, but then you get penalized for not showing up to work events? We have ZERO personal time … it’s actually ridiculous.”


Should it be normal to spend the majority of your life working and spend your personal time worrying about returning to work? Is this sustainable, or does something need to change, and quickly?

RELATED: Woman Reminds Workers That If Everything Is Urgent At Your Job Then Nothing Is — 'You Should Have Hired More People'

Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.