An engineers’ forum posed the question on how many extra hours we all put in on recording sessions. This is a good question and one that needs considering. Wouldn’t it be great to clock on, take a regulated lunch break and finish after our statutory eight hours?
Unfortunately that's not what we signed up for, being a sound engineer we have involved ourselves in a creative process that we want to see completed to the best of our abilities. If, as most of us do, you work to your highest level all the time, then that inevitably involves going the extra mile to complete the process.
This is compounded by the fact that most of us are self-employed, running our own small studios. As entrepreneurs we are also all pretty useless at enforcing proper business practice. Who can put their hand on their heart and say that they haven't done a session for virtually nothing just because they knew it would be fun! We are usually our own worst enemies.
The caveat to this is that after 32 years I still look forward to work every day, and see no reason to stop. This is an uncommon state for most people. We will never be rich as engineers, and if we were we would just spend the money on gear. So the best you can do is get an apprentice, teach them to set up sessions and clear away after - saving you those extra hours. In between you can teach them tea and coffee making skills, such as the best time in a difficult session to suggest a brew, as well as the dark arts of tone and balance. And in this way a new generation will be trained, and us older engineers will get to work a shorter 10-12 hour day...