I know I beat on the subject of insane quotas and unpaid overtime like a sadist whipping a stubborn horse, but since Kathleen Milnes brought this piece to my attention, I offer it to you. Joseph Gilland, a long-time animation vet, offers some sage advice:
I see too many people in the business (myself once upon a time included) with some kind of victim/martyr complex who let themselves get treated like absolute slaves. If you let them get away with it, they will use you all up, believe me. But there is a fine line between really working your ass off, and letting yourself be abused. Recognize that line. When you are overtired, and need some rest, be clear about it. Leave when you need to, and don't let people guilt-trip you.
When I was cranking out television scripts, the story editor leaned on me relentlessly to get my current half-hour masterpiece off of my desk and onto his as quickly as possible.
"Done yet? I need it like yesterday." ... "What page are you on?" Etc.
Full confession: Though I was a TAG executive board member at the time, I took work home and worked extra hours without additional compensation. However, ninety-five percent of my off-the-clock work happened in the first three weeks I was a staff writer. I knew it was violating the contract, but I was busting my hump to prove myself. And I had made up my mind to do whatever it took, even if that meant ignoring work rules.
But once I turned in my first script, found out the editor liked it, and knew I was on firmer ground, I stopped doing unpaid late-hours work. I still busted my hump, but I did it nine-to-five. And if my boss Arthur got the thirty-five page opus a day late, he got it a day late.
In the eighteen years I've been business representative, I've never not known there to be pressure to do things "faster, better, cheaper" because production management is always focused on costs. But employees need to be smart about how they respond to the Golden Oldie: "We need this tomorrow and there's no money in the budget for overtime..."
Do what you need to do. But whatever it ends up being, don't dig yourself into a hole so deep that only a block and mile-long tackle will get you out.