Re: How not to attract staff!

Subject: Re: How not to attract staff!
From: TIMMERMAN <timmerma -at- IPDLINK -dot- IPD -dot- ANL -dot- GOV>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 08:56:54 CST

Bravo to Chris Hamilton,

I'll ride in you life boat any time. My following comments refer to
salaried employees only. What all this regularly scheduled overtime
boil down to is a cut in pay. If you regularly work an extra 10 hours
a week (without compensation), you have just taken a 25% pay cut. If
you work this way for four years, you have just given away the
equivalent of one year of pay. Will your employer give you one year of
paid vacation after four years of this kind of work? I think not. I
don't know about all of you, but I can get a job anywhere doing
anything--as long as I'm willing to work for free. And that's just
what regularly scheduled overtime is; it's free work. I don't object
to the occasional overtime because the give and take between employer
and employee works out in the long term. But I view regularly
scheduled overtime as poor planning or maybe it's a management tactic,
I don't know. In any case, if that's what the job requires, you can
have it. I'll find work where the company values the employee as much
as they value their product. And I'll come to your funeral when you
die of a heart attack or stroke at age 45; as long as I don't have to
work because of a deadline.

Don Timmerman, dtimmerman -at- anl -dot- gov
Sr Tech Writer
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne, IL, USA

"If you don't have fun at work, don't go to work." D. Timmerman
"Don't return the favor, pass it on." D. Timmerman

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Chris writes,

<SOAPBOX> I absolutely, emphatically disagree. "Whatever it takes to get
the job done" was a phrase being thrown around loosely at my current job
about four months ago. It was just part of the lingo, until finally, in
a meeting to plan how to work yet another weekend and more nights, I
called someone on it. In a meeting where this phase was used a few
times, I finally couldn't take it anymore. "Would you work if your
parents died?" I asked the person who used the phrase most. "No." "Would
you cancel or postpone wedding plans for work?" "No." "Would you work
instead of going to your kid's birthday?" "No." "Well, then, you aren't
willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, and since you don't
mean it, don't say it." Remarkably, I didn't get thrashed for this.

I know this may sound really anal-retentive, but in the many pockets of
the computer industry, corporate cultures often creep up to and
sometimes cross that line. And for what? I'm all for deadlines and
trying to get good work out the door in a timely fashion, but will the
world end if we don't meet our latest unreasonable deadline? Will the
fabric of the universe rip inviting the dark overlords of the
netherworld into our dimension? Will the company go out of business?

I'm willing to put in reasonable amounts of overtime on a limited basis,
but I'm through putting my life on hold for weeks or months at a time to
meet arbitrary deadlines. And I will absolutely not kill myself for
people whose attitude is, "hey, they're salaried; it's free to have them
in here on the weekends, so get them in here." If you want me to work
the overtime, then put in a good-faith effort to avoid it. If it's a
last resort and something very important, I'm willing to stay. If it's
just convenience, not so much.

I work to have money to do other things, not because it defines who I
am. To paraphrase Dr. Laura, I am my kid's (soon to be kids') father. I
am my wife's husband. I am also a technical writer. If that makes me
unprofessional or anything, then so be it.</SOAPBOX>
Chris Hamilton, Technical Writer
Greenbrier & Russel

"Try? Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." -- Yoda

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