Re: Average Hours Worked

Subject: Re: Average Hours Worked
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 00:23:54 -0700 (PDT)

--- eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com wrote:
> Of course as a techwriter you're hired to write documentation. You're being
> either argumentative or extremely dense to try and allude that anyone on this
> list has thought otherwise. But, if you're that lost or won't put any effort
> into understanding the discussion, the question is: how much documentation? As
> much as the employer wants without limit?

As much as needs to be done. If you can't get it all done, then the need or
staffing situation should be re-evaluated. The outcome of that could be

1. Alter the requirements.
2. Hire another writer.
3. Hire a more capable writer, fire you.
4. Alter work habits/processes to become more efficient.

You get the idea.

> <<Most executives don't really care about hours, they care about results. They
> don't really care if you worked 35 hours or 45 hours. They want to see results.
> Projects done, customers happy, sales increasing, etc.>>
> All managers care about number of hours worked. The only managers that don't
> are
> managers who have hired a contractor on a fixed cost contract.

....uhhhh...see below....

> <<Employees are hired to fill a need within an organization. You don't hire
> people just to be there. People are hired to fill a need and get work done. You
> are useless to your employer if you are not helping the organization sell its
> products, serve its customers, etc.>>
> Yes all employees are hired to fill a need. Do you like hearing the sound of
> your own voice? Certainly seems like it if all you can do is argue truisms that
> everybody agrees with yet still put people down with insults and personal
> griping. The point this thread was trying to address is how much work is
> reasonable to be expected to do.

Okay, so now you're agreeing that employees are hired to fill a need and you
acknowledge that this is a truism. So, we agree. Good, no insult there.

> <<No, but some do. They become disassociated with the purpose of their job
> (produce docs). This causes them to consume time with obsessions and one-off
> work. In the effort to "work better" they "work zero.">>
> Fine, some people obsess. You know what? This is a tune that was played
> repeatedly in the past and it's fairly pathetic that an opinion of the list at
> large is based on such a negative assumption. Why not approach the discussion
> from a mature perspective that the members of the list are conscientious
> professionals who do an honest days work.

Because in my experience about 1 in 20 people are truly capable, intelligent, and
responsible whereas about 10 in 20 are lazy, excuse-making, twerps who will fight
to the death to defend their irresponsibility, incompetence, and intolerance.

We've discussed this before Eric. You're not going to get me to alter my
attitudes and arguments because they don't fit your preferred method of
discourse. If my attitude bothers you, than I encourage you to exercise your free
will and delete my posts unread. It seems to make a few TECHWR-L members happy,
because they're always sending me little reminders about how they're NOT reading
my posts. Just to make sure I didn't forget them.

I've never hidden my "negative spin" on things. Its a part of who I am. Run a
business and manage people for a few years, you too will acquire a slightly more
cynical view of the universe. In any event, my attitudes and personality make me
who I am. And I won't change that for you or any TECHWR-L member. When Eric
imposes a "you can't be negative or disagreeative" rule for TECHWR-L, I'll get
booted off the list.

> <<Or maybe what you really mean is: "before everybody was agreeing with me
> (or disagreeing in a soft, pleasing manner), now I am getting seriously
> challenged from a person with a fundamentally different perspective and the
> rhetorical might to communicate that perspective, and I don't like that. So I
> will just attack him and get him to go away again.">>
> Hmm, seeing as there has been so little logical content in the diatribes on
> this
> subject to date it's very difficult to see what there is to attack or defend in
> the way of argument. <<rhetorical might >> **LOL** I think Goober put it right
> when saying <<Countering fact with opinion, man, I missed that about you. *lol*
> >>. In many posts the logic content couldn't be used to beat your way out of a
> wet paper bag. Most of the complaints and calls for others to stop whining is
> due to a twisting of words and ignoring the intent and current direction of
> discussion. Like this thread. Never has anyone said they don't want to get the
> job done. Nor has anyone said they want to sit around and do nothing for 40
> hours a week. Yet these false assumptions and others form the basis of Andrews
> arguments on the list on this subject.

This whole thread was a milquetoast babble about how unfair it is when people
have to work extra hours until I showed up with a very different perspective.
I've offered up some alternative interpretations, new perspectives, and a very
different it illogical but you can't control other people's
perceptions. I am going to view this topic in my own way and you can either
discuss that with me, or you can throw us off on to these endless meta-arguments
about how I am not properly slowing down for your rhetorical speed bumps.

> Also, I doubt
> anybody has signed a work agreement that states "For 50k a year you'll work all
> hours God sends".

Never said that. I said most contracts establish MINIMUM working expectations.

> For Andrew and others who might be a little slow on the uptake as to what the
> discussion is about I'll repeat myself and others. What if you ARE performing
> your duties in 5 hours a day, you ARE delivering all or your deliverables
> on-time and in excellent quality, you don't waste ANY time during the day, and
> the boss oblivious to your workload and performance continues to give you extra
> work that is impossible to finish without continuous overtime and loss of
> weekends. ****Note to the logically impaired: WE ARE TALKING ABOUT CONTINUOUS

Or lack of planning and capability on the employee's part. Continuous overtime
has many causes which include:

1. Incompetence
2. Poor management
3. Poor direction setting
4. Poor staffing
5. Irresponsibility
6. Etc.

The reasons for continuous overtime are not simply because an employer mistreats
their employees. Many employees bring it on themselves by failing to prioritize
their work properly and focus on results. Many PURPOSEFULLY put themselves into
overtime arrangements so they can get sympathy from others. And, yes, some work
for mean bosses that make unreasonable demands.

> To my highly exaggerated example which tried to get an answer to the above the
> response is:<<What was preventing you from getting the job done in 5, 8 hour
> days?>>. Time to take the medication so that it might be possible to see the
> point of my example. Not sure I can make it more blazingly obvious. If you are
> getting everything that is humanly possible accomplished in 8 hours a day, how
> do you deal with bosses that demand more?

Change your work habits. Have a chat with the boss. Clean out your desk and go
milk cows.

> Or, how do you deal with the bosses that demand overtime presence without extra
> workload? A friend was once chastised by their boss for never putting in 'extra
> effort'. In reality the others he was being compared with did 'overtime' every
> day because they took 2 hour lunches and hung around talking in each others
> cubicles continuously.

Every work environment is different. Clearly your friend did not fit into that
environment. He should locate a job with a firm that more appropriately reflects
his personal needs.

> Normally, true. But brain washed victim types can be made into a very
> successful
> company. Look at Walmart and South-West Jet (? think that's the name).

They can? So Walmart was started by a brain washed victim? Huh?

> As the owner of a company I don't think you're terribly well placed to comment
> on the freedom of average workers. But personally I do believe the best way to
> combat excessive demands of employers is face up to them and tell your boss
> when enough is enough.

Eric, I had bosses once too. And you know what, I did exactly that. I decided
enough was enough and I went out and started my own business. I decided I wanted
to control my own destiny. And I ask my employees to work hard, and I reward them
well with loyalty, challenging work, and a commitment to make something. But, I
also fire people who jerk around and don't do their job. Its my company, I set
the rules, you don't like the rules - walk out the door and have a nice life.

Most companies (maybe not as bluntly as I have stated it) share a similar
philosophy. Here are the rules, here are the expectations - now get your job
done. Some people fill the need, get promoted, and excel. Some jerk around, make
up excuses, and get canned. Its unfair, its cruel, its mean - its life. Unless
you are willing to lay you own money on the line, you don't get to make the
rules. You have to put up with other people's rules, or walk out the door and
find a place that has rules you like.

> Many times you can't be taken advantage of unless you allow
> it. Unfortunately there are many situations beyond the control of the average
> worker. There is a need for unfair dismissal laws. If you are doing everything
> that should be expected of you, you shouldn't have to decide to walk or put up
> with it.

Yes you should. Because a company has a right to build an environment. And if you
don't fit into that environment, the company does not have to rebuild the entire
firm just to fit your needs.

> Andrew, if you work in the computer security industry, think you could figure
> out how to send plain text to the list?

Talk to Yahoo. They changed their email program. I don't control these things.

Andrew Plato

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Re: Average Hours Worked: From: eric . dunn

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