Florian Breitenbach

Rettungsdienst und mehr


Work Life Balance. Source

#Paramedics: How much overtime/additional shifts do you do monthly, and why? For the money, for the fun, nothing better to do? #flobachpoll


The other day I was having a chat with a colleague about overtime shifts. We agreed that overtime is an easy way to earn some money on the side when saving up for something, and it’s something we generally enjoy doing. They added that because their partner works Monday to Friday 9-5, boredom can kick in easily, so rather than stay at home one may as well do an additional shift.
The discussion moved on to burnout, and how overtime may contribute to this. I thought I’d put this out to the greater twitter community via the above tweet, and got some interesting answers back. The general gist was that people do overtime for all three reasons, with an (somewhat unsurprising) emphasis on being underpaid and overworked in this profession.
Here are some of the highlights:


Work/life balance has been reported to be an important, if not the top priority amongst Gen Y employees – but we’d all like a little more money than we currently have. Is our race to own more burning us out – are we living over our means? Are paramedics underpaid, or is everybody else overpaid? Would the profession benefit from increased pay and/or other measures to reinstate a better work/life balance?

As always, I’d welcome your thoughts in the comments or on twitter.


dwp4401 says:

My overtime average has been 16 hours per week for the past 3 years. I’m a street medic in an urban setting. My reason for working all these hours are three-fold.

1. I like making money and an income of $103 – 110,000 per year appeals to me.
2. My youngest is still in college and we refuse to take out loans to pay for it. Just like his two siblings, he (and his parents) will graduate in four years debt free.
3. Our service has a defined benefit retirement plan based on a “high five” calculation. The pay off will be a comfortable retirement at an early age.

One thing to remember is this – medics do not take their job home with them. There are a lot of people in mid to high level management positions who make less than I do and work a lot longer hours, oftentimes at home, or on the road.

Burnout is a topic that I’ve never had to deal with since I entered EMS in 1971, first as a volunteer and then as a medic in 1980. At the age of 58, I can honestly say that I’ve never been so glad to have chosen this profession. The growth in this field, especially in the last ten years, has been rewarding for those of us who were there at the beginning.

If burnout is a problem in your life, my suggestion would be to find something completely different to do with your off-time. Many of us have schedules that can easily facilitate second careers. Twenty-five years ago I got involved in a passion of mine, first as a volunteer then in a paid position. Let me tell you, I worked harder and worried more in that job than I ever did as a medic.

flobach says:

Hello dwp4401, and thank you for your comment!
Some interesting points you make, and it is apparent that you love your job, and put the money to good use (education).

This is a great profession to be in, and you have the right mindset. And we are both very lucky to have found work that we truly enjoy – not something everybody can say about themselves!

CCC says:

Thanks for the inspiration, Flobach!

My comments:

Jason Belcher says:

So I missed the initial twitter poll so I’ll answer here.

I do overtime.

But I don’t do it for money. I do it for the time-in-lieu. I figure if I do overtime when it’s convenient for me, which means I can bank hours for time off when it’s convenient for me, it’s a win-win. I call that work-life balance.

flobach says:

That’s an option I forgot about – but a good option nonetheless! Luckily in my current position I can take individual days off, and not have a block of leave given to me.

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