04 April 2008

Letter 4 - A letter to the ethics god

It doesn't end.

Yesterday I took the day off, which was great, so I thought today would go pretty well since I'd be fully rested (I mean, sheesh - I slept in until 6 yesterday!).

Well, I woke up at 4:20, got my chai at starbucks as usual and hit the ground running this morning. I finally took a break and went to lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time. That was awesome. It was great to catch up. We hadn't seen each other in about a month so a catch up was needed.

When I got back to work, it all started again - run, run, run. I was working late trying to get the last few things ready for tomorrow morning. Boss1 came down the hall and used both my first and last name and said, "what are you still doing here?"

He's never done that. It was almost like getting middle-named by your parents. I, being the sap that I am and running on lack of sleep and liquids, started to tear up a little (though I held it back) and answered why I was still there. Then I jokingly said that our Asst AG said I needed to mark down 2 hours of comp time.

Boss1 then got serious and said, "You better be marking down your comp time young lady. I'll sign off on it but you have to mark it down."

And I said, "It's not a big deal. I love my job."

"No you don't."

"I don't?"

"Okay, moe, you do love your job but you need to be keeping track and marking down your comp time. You like your vacations, too."

Then I thanked him for the day off yesterday and he looked at me like I was insane. hmm....what did I do wrong there?

So, now I'm having this complex. My lunch today went longer than I planned (we had a lot of catching up to do) so I was going to use my last hour of comp time I have on the books to cover that. But now Boss1 is telling me to mark down my comp time - which would be an additional 2 hours for tonight. So do I just mark down one hour for tonight, which would technically be inaccurate but easier on the paperwork, or do I do what my guilt-ridden stomach is telling me and just ignore it and let it go?

Here's the thing...often I feel like when I'm working later and supposedly earning comp time, I'm really just trying to make up for my lack of organization during the day and so it's not really comp time it's just finally finishing the work I should have had completed.

My job is great, and I work with a lot of people...many of whom come into my office and sit to chat about work things. Some of these conversations go quickly. Others end up dragging on for hours (literally). They are beneficial talks - they cover a gamut of issues we deal with at work, many of which we're trying to deal with all at once. But it also keeps me from getting done what I want to get done. So I stay late, when every one else is gone, and I can get so much more finished just by staying an extra hour alone. I kind of see it like making up for the time I lost.

But I know that others at my work place don't do this. There are some who, if they work a few minutes past quitting time, will claim an hour of comp time. Some have what they call "circle time" where it's comp time off the books, but can still be used whenever - they just clear it with their supervisor. Boss1 and I can't do this because we're in the spotlight too much with our higher ups, so we need to actually claim it. It adds extra paperwork and I have a hard time justifying it for myself most weeks.

I don't know. I go back and forth on this with some of my co-workers. One thinks I need to be claiming it and gets disappointed with me when I don't. Others think I should just take the time off in the same pay period, but I can't always find the time so I would and often do end up just letting it go. Or I'll take that extra 15 minutes for a run at lunch and then feel okay because I know I've worked at other times. But that's not right either. I don't know.

Of course, then as I'm leaving tonight 13 hours after I got to work today, the sun was still out, the air was calm, it was still warm, and it's a Friday night. I was heading home from work, alone, and thinking - what the hell am I doing. I should have left earlier and I could have gone running. Why didn't I?

Because then I wouldn't have gotten all my work done. It's a vicious cycle.

1 comment:

jb said...

i hear ya, sister. sigh. i work at least 11 hours a day, five days a week, and i have never once taken "comp time" to try to even out my hours ... i feel like i work to the extent that i can walk away at the end of the day and not feel completely overwhelmed when the next day starts -- i feel like that's just the expectation of my job, and at the end of the day i know that working a certain number of hours less on one day will just mean i'll need to work more the next day to get caught up. it is a vicious cycle ...