Thursday Rant #1: The Office Time Keeper

Gen Y Finance Guy Rants, The JOB 24 Comments

Time Keeper

Leaving the work force and going out on my own is an eventual goal. However, I don’t plan on doing that anytime soon as there are other goals on my list that actually involve staying in the work force (at least for a while or until something better comes along). Because of this, I have to put up with some of the annoyances that go on in a traditional day JOB.

First let me point out that I am a salaried professional. In my mind this means that as long as I get my job done in a timely fashion, that it should not matter the hours I hold, or the location I choose to work. However, I work for a company that would prefer I was in the office most days. Luckily that office is only a short 5 mile drive from my house. The benefit of a salaried profession to the employer is a fixed cost regardless of the amount of hours an employee puts in.

But what is the benefit to the employee???

And let me tell you this…From October through December of last year I was putting in 80-90 hours a week, working day and night, and most weekends. I am fine putting in these kinds of hours as long as there is reciprocation. And here are the few things that I expect as a salaried professional in return for my willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done:

  1. Flexibility to work those extra hours outside of normal business hours from my house, coffee shop, or where ever I damned well please. It should not matter to you as long as you get what you need from me. A perfect example of this was a recent trip to Vegas. There was work that needed to get done over the weekend (and during my drive to Vegas, thanks to my wife’s dad for driving). I left at noon on Friday and worked for several hours during the car ride to Vegas. I also happen to wake up about 4 hours before my wife on the weekends, which allowed me to go down to a coffee shop to get the rest of the work done without intruding on this short little vacation with my wife. Look, all I am asking for is the flexibility to fit work around my life instead of the other way around.
  2. Autonomy. If you didn’t think I could be responsible and get the job done you wouldn’t had hired me. Let me decide how, when, and where I will get my work done.
  3. Empowerment. Give me the tools and power I need to get my job done.
  4. Competitive Compensation. Not much to say here.
  5. Opportunity for Advancement.

As you can see, I am not asking for much. And I would hope that you would tend to agree that every working professional should get this in today’s day and age. Gone are the days of the traditional 9 to 5. For many jobs, technology has changed the way we work and has opened up the aperture with respect to where we need to be to get that work done. Let’s face it, if you work on a computer all day, there is really no need to be in the office every single day.

Hopefully you are still with me…going to get to the point of this post soon, like now!

So what is your point?

This post stemmed from a call I got from my boss late last week. He mentioned that a co-worker of mine was the “Office Time Keeper” and she noticed that when I left early on Friday for Vegas that I did not book that as a half day using some of my vacation time. Ok, I can respect that, her job is to make sure people are not stealing from the company. BUT…..

Before calling my boss, why not ask me about it first? She has no idea the amount of hours I work outside the office. Did she know that I would be working on my car ride to Vegas? Or that I would be getting up at 5am to work for 4 hours to get the CEO the analysis he needed?

So after my boss mentioned this to me as if he had all but forgotten how available I am on weekends and specifically the work I was doing so he wouldn’t have to do it in my absence. Before he went any further, I reminded him that I was working and on company time even though I was not in the office. I went on to say that if he didn’t agree with the fact that I didn’t take PTO that we would need to have a serious conversation.

I can understand the honest mistake of my co-worker (even though it bothers me, especially since I don’t need a baby sitter). But my boss knew I was working, he was calling and emailing me while I was on the road and I talked him through things I was sending him from the road. All he had to do was tell this co-worker that I was working and therefore on company time and didn’t need to take any vacation time for leaving half day from the office.

My boss was a little surprised by my response. But in the end I was not required to take the time off and he said that we just needed to have better communication on stuff like this in the future. I guess I have to specifically spell it out to him this way:

Dear Boss,

I will be taking a half day from the office on Friday. However, I understand there is a lot of work to be done and that it will all fall on your lap if I don’t do it. Not to worry, I will work on my car ride to Vegas and get you what needs to be done today, so that you can leave the office at a reasonable hour. Also, that URGENT request that the CEO and COO put in for analysis that needs to be completed by tomorrow morning – don’t worry about it, I got your back. Yes, I will get up at 5am and have it in their inbox by 9am.

Oh and by the way, I will not be submitting any vacation time for leaving the office early. Because, as you know, I will actually be working and still on company time.

Cheers!

Ok, I will get off my soap box and back to talking about personal finance and financial independence. Thanks for indulging me for this 1,100 word rant.

Note: I give credit to Mr.1500 for inspiring the idea of weekly rant post. I don’t know if this will be every week or even every Thursday. But it will be a nice change of pace every once in a while.

– Gen Y Finance Guy

Comments 24

  1. I work in client service and therefore my schedule can be a little whacky and undulating. Monday I could leave at 730, Tuesday 5, Wednesday 9, Thursday 6, and Friday 430. And this varies every single week. But then also there are some weekends we work (mostly from home), but hey – it comes with the territory. But because of this everyone else understands, that you need to take advantage of your down time. Whether that’s working from home or skipping out early on Friday. Luckily we don’t have a Tooty the time-keeper like you have to deal with. I’d tell her to take a hike 😉

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      You and me both FF. But I will take the higher ground and let it go, and eventually I will take a hike out on my own. But the money is too good, the company is growing, and it is the enabler of my lifestyle and goals right now.

      Glad you work in an office with some give and take.

      Cheers!

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      No doubt Felix. The only way to escape them is to be your own boss. But even that comes with its own challenges 🙂

      Cheers!

      1. Yeah, being your own boss can be more stressful, I suppose, since you’re directly responsible of how much you make, and your work never really ends. You can’t just clock out and disconnect. But I’m willing to try it and see how it goes 🙂

  2. Such is the curse of the salaried employee. I think you should have words with “the office timekeeper” and figure out why they think its their business to track your comings and goings. No one like a busybody OR a rat.

    As for the boss, good on you for standing up to him. Ultimately the work is what matters, but he should have your back no matter what. I would be pissed if anyone kept track of my guys and tried to pull that nonsense. If he knows you are working outside of the office, he should cut you some slack while in it.

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    LOL “I think you should have words with the office timekeeper”.

    My wife said the same thing. Her words were:

    “that b*tch doesn’t even realize how many hours you work. You should start including her on all the emails that you send at 5am and on the weekends”

    I went on to explain that she was not my boss and I really don’t care what she says or does. But like you mentioned my boss should have my back…especially since he was well aware that I was working.

    Don’t get me wrong I have a great relationship with my boss, and most of the time he is looking out for me. But this just got under my skin for some reason. He immediately backed down when I stood my ground and reminded him that I was in fact working (I still don’t know how he could had forgotten, especially since he called me about 4 times while I was on the road).

    I will say that earlier on when I absolutely needed a job, I would probably had been a bit more sheepish. But things have changed a bit over time.

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  4. The tough thing for time tracking is that you need to have measurable performance metrics to prove you are working outside of the office. These can be hard to define and implement in certain settings. Relationships go a long way and I find that time-keepers tend to do what I call “drive bys”. They will walk over once or twice a day and judge your entire work performance on this absence or interaction. The time-keeper could also be a reflection of leadership or corporate culture (Does your employer micro-manage?). Great rant and wonderful website! AP.

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      Thanks for stopping by AP.

      In general the company is very entrepreneurial. However, since I am in Finance…the office I go to tends to be filled with folks that are a bit old school in philosophy. Some people tend to mistake butts in physical seats with productivity. In particular, the time-keeper that was trying to call me out where her long hours in the office as some sort of badge. What she doesn’t realize is that I work just as many if not more hours…but I don’t brag about the hours I work, because I don’t see them as something to brag about. Additionally, if I have to work long hours I would rather put the extra hours in outside of the office. Sometimes that means going to a coffee shop on the weekends to get the extra work in. Or other times it means going home, having dinner with my wife, and then logging back in for the night to finish up any loose ends.

      It was mostly a rant. Because in all reality this person has no influence on my career. My boss knows damn well that he gets way more hours from me than the company deserves, and that I will do what ever is necessary to get the job done.

      Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation.

      Cheers!

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      Well I was getting paid. But I do imagine what it would be like to be completely on my own and the master of my own time. I will get there one day.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. As a manager I can sympathize with your boss a little. I don’t keep tabs on my staff, but if they are planning on leaving more than about an hour early, a quick email or chat to let me know is all I ask. This is as much about having someone available to respond to queries as it is about the persons safety (we can work in some pretty rural areas that can be quite hazardous).

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      That makes sense given the work environment.

      However, I had met with my boss for an hour before I left the office early. We went over outstanding items that needed to get done, which is when I told him I would work from the car and would have about 4 hours in the morning to get anything else done while I was on vacation.

      In the end he is a great boss. I was just a bit annoyed over the whole conversation and the way it started. I think it could had been handled differently. For example, he could had said:

      “I know you were working while on vacation, but can you make sure you add a note in our time tracking system? Just put in there left office early, but will be working from the road”.

      Thanks for the perspective Glen!

  6. That is one thing I hated about the corporate world, keeping track of hours worked. I have been working for myself for about two years now and havent had to worry about this at all. I feel for you.

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      Hey Deacon…The funny thing is that I am a salaried professional, so keeping track of hours just makes no sense to me. The company gets way more than 40/hours a week from me on average. But until I am off on my own, I will deal with some of these types of annoyances in the workforce.

      Congrats on working for yourself. I am sure it comes with its own pros and cons.

      Cheers!

  7. Dang bro it sounds like you work hard for that money… Forget about that bitch who narced you out. She probably has nothing better to do and a poor social life.

    I hope to never go back to corporate, I remember all the time babysitting that goes down. I am technically an independent sales contractor. I work about 35 hours/week from home and last year made right around “six figures.” My boss understands if I’m sick, need a break or want to take nap. I understand that it is my job to make the clients happy and make money. I feel fortunate that I got into sales after my first job. I saw sales guys that brought in the money weren’t subject to all the asinine corporate rules. Their rules are simple.

    Delight the customer and make money. If those two things are done some folks may bitch about the “TPS reports” or people leaving early or whatever… Bottom line is the bottom line and tech/consulting/financial sales is a consultative art and science. If the salesman is doing his or her job leave them alone.

    If we had a timekeeper I’d tell her where to put her time sheet… Lol. Keep doing your thing bro, you’ll get there!

  8. Wow, it looks like the same thing happens across the corporate treadmill. I, too am often caught in this conundrum. My god, my company even started a monetary penalty for those who are 5-10 mins late every day!

    In my trade, we’re supposed to be professionals and actions like these just tend to rub us the wrong way.

    Like dude, we’re not in kindergarten anymore.

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      I here you Josh. At least I have somewhere to vent, and an audience who will indulge me 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Haha sticking it to the man or person if you want to be more correct 🙂 ha.. Good on ya Dom! It’s an instinct I’d say for an employer to react this way & they’ve probably gotten away with it for so long due to people not calling them on it they feel they can keep doing it..

    Nice comeback there though!

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      Glad you enjoyed it Jef. A lot has changed since publishing that, office time keeper keeps to herself when it comes to my coming and going.

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