Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Strapped to the telephone machine

In all of my other jobs, I've had a certain amount of flexibility with how I spent my time. I worked crazy hours at the law firm, but I could also leave early on a Friday afternoon if I was willing to come in and work over the weekend. During the recruiting thing, I pretty much had to be in by 9 and stay until 6, but I had the ability to make appointments during the day or leave the office during the day to take care of things not completely work related.

Here at this job, things are completely different, I have to monitor what I'm at and what I'm doing pretty much every second of the day. My phone is like a mini tracking system, I have to log in at a particular time and log out at a particular time, and depending upon what I'm doing I need to enter certain codes so that any one of our managers can look at a computer program and see what I'm up to.

I get it to a certain extent, but at times it gets ridiculous. Quick example: a couple weeks ago I got to work about an hour before my day typically starts. I could have just sat there and read my book or putzed around online, but I decided to do some work that I knew needed to get done. It was all email based so I didn't have to log in to my phone to get anything done. About an hour into my work day, one of my manager's called:

Hey ... when did you start work today?

I felt like a kid who got caught with his hand stuck in the cookie jar, except the cookie was answering stupid questions from sales reps because I wanted to help out. I even reacted like I got caught doing something bad, "Well, it was maybe about an hour early, because, well, you know, I was here and we have a lot to do ..."

It's not like I got in trouble. My manager just explained that if I were going to do something like this in the future, I just had to ask first because they had to pay me overtime. I really didn't care about the stupid extra hour of pay, at all, but from now on, I will. To be honest, it kind of made me less likely to do extra in the future. If the focus is all on stats and numbers and abstract measurements, I think all that does is stifle the mindset of the people who have no problem doing something extra (and not needing credit for it) just because they know it needs to get done.

I said when I started this blog that I wouldn't complain because I knew too many people who were out of work that would have hearing a guy whine about having a job. Well, those friends have jobs now, so maybe I can complain a little. I really think people work best when they are given a little freedom to make their own decisions and take some ownership for how they do their work. Am I asking too much for this to happen in a job like my current one? Maybe, but a guy can dream.

Listening to: Post State of the Union analysis
About to: Get my crap together for a massive laundry binge post work tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. even if i didn't have a job (which might happen next week, you never know) I would still commiserate with your story. Especially since I love working on my own schedule as long as stuff gets done.