Re: Average Hours Worked

Subject: Re: Average Hours Worked
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 22:25:45 -0400

kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com wrote:

By that altruistic point of view, is it also fair for me to expect the
same salary if I get my week's work done in say, three days, and I can
spontaneously take a four-day weekend whenever possible? Sounds great to
me - but I doubt you'll get much corporate buy-in on this concept.

Depends on the corporation. For most of the places I've worked in my life, my experience has resembled yours. But not all.

At the risk of sounding like one of those whiny types who always claims to
be oppressed by The Man, I do feel there's a double standard here. We are
expected to "pitch in and take one for the team," working extra hours
whenever the promised deliverable requires it, with no extra compensation.
But is it okay for us to work LESS hours, for the same compensation, as
long as we get our work done?

Fine by me. Absolutely.

As my Magic Eight Ball says: "My sources say NO."

Sorry to hear that.

Sorry Dick, but for me it IS about hours, just as much as it is about
deliverables. Every employment agreement I've signed for a salaried
position has stated both the quantity of hours required of me, and when
those hours must occur (so I can't arbitrarily choose to work from
midnight to 8 AM). There's usually some terminology about being expected
to occasionally work overtime, and I have no problem with that. But when
it becomes the norm, I do have a problem, and something needs to change. I
don't think it's unreasonable to try to keep this employment agreement
from becoming too one-sided. After all, the agreement is supposed to be to
our MUTUAL benefit, isn't it?

Bottom line: none of the salaried agreements I've signed have said it's
okay to just put in 30 hours, as long as my work gets done. I wish they

Bottom line, the golden rule applies: Them what's got the gold makes the rules. So if we're in an economy where we'd best take whatever job comes along and keep our mouths shut, we're not in a strong negotiating position, I agree.

However, my point was not that the length of the workweek _isn't_ an issue. My point was that it _shouldn't_ be an issue, and letting it become one distracts us from the underlying model that ought to be governing our working relationships with managers and employers.

So you can devote your life to The Almighty Deliverable, and say "Feh" all
you want. Me, I'll give the company an average of 40-45 hours a week, and
my stuff will get done, well enough to meet the company's needs and my own
standards. If it gets to the point where one of those goals is not being
met, there's a problem, and some things will need to change. It happens.
But if both the company and the worker are operating in good faith, some
solution can usually be found.

Well, we arrive at the same conclusion, after all. So you're really not disagreeing with me, are you? You're just looking at it as a circle getting larger and then smaller again, while I'm looking at it as a sphere passing through a plane. But in the end we're both meeting our customers' needs with a similar level of exertion.


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