I couldn't care less what hours the people on my team do per week as long as they are around to help each other out and complete the tasks set for us. Generally, where I work, everyone checks their email at some point at night, so yelling at someone for leaving 30 minutes early is hardly something I am going to do. Besides, if you're going to be working for me, I prefer you not be panicking about having to pick your kids up from school when they missed the bus or some shit. Just pick them up and figure out how you'll catch up when they're tucked into bed or something.
I'm in IT, like many of you. In this world we communicate to executives the amount of time it takes for us to complete tasks and they schedule the roadmap based on that. Sometimes they ask us to prioritize or try to do a stretch goal, but don't think the managers aren't pushing back if that gets out of control. Bear in mind, though, competition is a bitch. If company X eats our lunch on features, we're dogmeat. And if we're dogmeat, people lose their jobs. Execs aren't actually driven by dollar signs, they have golden parachutes. They are personally driven to get shit done and win because that's their personality type. So, yeah, they get a little intense, but even they're not as insane as you think... usually.
Of course, when the tasks are set and the time is allocated, then we do have deadlines. Those are unavoidable. However, if we've done a good job estimating the work, you'll work as much as you feel you can, and the task will get done.
There are only two normal reasons I care about hours. I care about you being there for core hours so that you can interact with your team and anyone else in the company who needs your help. You can't spend all your time working with your Mtn Dew at midnight by yourself in your Mom's basement. You're being paid for your experience as a team player and you need to share.
The second reason is time off. Unfortunately, that is tracked in hours. Don't expect me to be a rigorous jerk about that. It is important that you aren't pulling one over on me, but if you work hard and do a good job, I don't fucking care if you took an extra hour here or there. Just don't falsify shit to the point that it can't be ignored.
And let's be clear. I don't pay badly, and sometimes I pay very, very well. This is IT, not McDonalds. The point is, sometimes people's hands get tied by circumstances, but none of my peers is motivated to grind you down. I'm sure those sorts of sadists exist, they may even be common, but sometimes I simply just can't give you any more.
Please negotiate, by all means, but there's always a ceiling that no one can go above, and that rises and falls based on the bottom line, not based on the merit of the applicant. And it is never personal or done with the purpose of cheating you. Sometimes they may complain when I ask for more for a candidate, but they have never thanked me for saving them money. So what is in it for me to cheat you? Absolutely nothing.