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05/26/2004: "I knew it would come back"
I typically get to work early. With a young daughter and a pregnant wife, I like getting home as soon as possible from work so I can spend time with them. Thus, I get in early, and leave at quitting time, or even a little beforehand if it's been a particularily gruelling day.
Of course, it had to bite me on the ass yesterday.
As you may remember, I used to carpool at my last job. As I still haven't found a new carpool to get me to work, I drive myself mostly, and get picked up by my wife on days that she needs the car. Yesterday was one such day. On such days I like to be outside just a bit early, in case she's a bit early. As our daughter is with her, and putting a toddler in a carseat for over an hour (total trip, plus whatever driving they've been doing during the day) may not be well-received by said toddler, I don't want to make them wait for me.
In any case, I was outside at around 5 minutes to 5 o'clock by my watch, a bit later if you go by the clock on my computer. As it turns out, the owner was out there showing off his new car (Caddy XLR) to the sales manager. As they exit the car and walk by me to come in, the owner says, "Leaving early?" I didn't really know how to respond, so I stammered something about "not overly so". Well, right then and there I figured it would come back to me.
Sure enough, the owner got all in a huff and immediately came in to see my boss. Apparently the sales force sees me leave early-ish fairly frequently, and have complained to their boss, the sales manager that was with the owner. So now they're figuring that I'm ducking out early all the time. By all appearances, it might look that way right?
Well, they have no fucking clue that I come in here at ten to eight in the morning and work through my lunch. They don't know that I'm at my desk the entire day working, not sitting around coffeehousing with their chums. They don't know that my wife was picking me up yesterday and that I like to be out early to make sure they don't have to wait for me. In short, they have NO IDEA what kind of an employee I am, yet all they see is me leaving early and assume I'm some sort of chronic slacker.
Am I pissed off? Yes, I am. I could have told the owner that I got in quite early, worked through lunch, and that my wife was picking me up so I wanted to be out there waiting for her. However, I'm not about to brazenly assume that he even cares about the finer points of my day. Sadly, that was a mistake, as that "finer point" was the only reference point he had for me for the entire day. He's not here at 8 o'clock when I'm already working, and he's certainly not here when I'm working at my desk through lunch.
What can I do? Nothing. Play the game, maybe. That's about it. So I'll leave through the plant door instead of through the office, make sure I'm leaving exactly at 5, or maybe even park somewhere that the front office can't even see so I can come and go as I please or need to.
The entire working world seems to assume that working late is the status quo. Well, bullshit. I work early, and go home on time, because I've put my family as a priority in my life. And I'm sick and tired of doing a song and dance just to appease some idiots that start work at 8:30, take their hour lunch, and leave seconds after 5. You worry about your job, and my boss will worry about my work ethic.
Replies: 7 Comments
on Wednesday, May 26th, xhead said
So has your supervisor talked to you about this? If not, maybe you should broach the subject with him of working hours and flexibility thereof. Ask him if he thinks you are giving the company good value?
You should ensure that your supervisor agrees with your interpretation of your hours of work. (I would, but I'm not your supervisor). What others think of your hours probably shouldn't come to bear significantly, but your reputation and integrity may not precede you, and you have to build that with those around you, they won't automatically give it to you (especially if their own is suspect).
Would it be easier for your wife not to come early, than to explain to the sales manager and owner why you are out before quitting time?
I understand why you are pissed - people are questioning your work ethic, and they have less integrity than you do, at least from your perspective. (It is a reality however, that many deals get closed over lunch or golf. That may not seem fair, but its not your job. )
on Thursday, May 27th, mr.ska said
My supervisor and I have talked. In fact, it was he that the owner and sales manager talked to. He understands completely. It's purely a matter of "optics", as he calls it. The sales force doesn't see me all day, until I'm leaving work early. It sucks, but that's life. So I have to play to the reality of the situation, like leaving out the back door and such.
I find it truly unfortunate that my line of work means I will almost never be able to effectively telecommute. Sigh.
on Thursday, May 27th, Hat Daddy said
I would like to suggest that if the opinion of the sales people matter that much to you, then perhaps you might want to take a break during the day, and go make small talk with them.
Especially if the first break you take is when they come in.
To them, it's all about relationships, and who knows? By making this investment, you might make some powerful contacts 5-20 years down the road.
on Thursday, May 27th, mr.ska said
Their opinion doesn't matter. They just happen to be the department that sits at the windows overlooking the parking lot.
on Friday, May 28th, Walt's Dog said
While this may be an overly simple solution to your problem it is one that I have used in the past.
When people get picky about my hours I start coming in exactly at the start time, leave exactly at quitting time, take my full hour for lunch and don't take work home...sooner or later things pile up and when I was asked why I told them that if they were gonna get strict on my hours I was going to do the same...I'm back to my own hours now.
on Friday, May 28th, mr.ska said
Ah, work-to-rule. I'd do that, but it's not management that has the issue with my hours... it's the issue that it LOOKS like I'm leaving early to a bunch of employees. What's easier: telling all the sales force that I come in an hour early and work through lunch, or just not letting them see me leave 5 minutes early?
Maybe I can get my department moved to a different facility. That would be good. :)
on Monday, May 31st, Walt's Dog said
I know what I'd tell them (if the result wasn't dismissal) and it would be something along the lines of "Mind your own f*cking buisness"
Not the most diplomatic approach but there is zero chance of them not getting the message.