It’s been two months to the day since the office time-keeper threw me under the bus. I guess it should be no surprise that she strikes again. The first time bothered me, but this one absolutely pissed me off. They say, “It is better to be pissed off, than pissed on.” But I am not so sure I agree (since I feel like it was me getting pissed on that pissed me off).
[Mr. CEO here] – Seriously, that was a disgusting image you just painted in my head. Hold on to your computers, tablets, and phones, THIS one is going to be a fun read. GYFG texted, messaged and called me about this one from work. I had to talk him off the ledge that day.
It’s true, I was absolutely fuming.
Before we get into the latest rant, let me first describe to you the kind of employee I am (or at least was until this recent “talk”):
- I do whatever it takes to get the job done on time and as promised – and usually I over deliver. (Mr. CEO – I can attest to this. I was a witness to MANY over-deliveries in our time working together. GYFG doesn’t slack off and is often reaching out to others to help out if they need it because he finishes his work faster than most).
- I make myself available before and after the work day (taking calls from our CEO at 6am and calls from my boss, the CFO, at as late as 10PM at night).
- I am no stranger to an 80-90 work week when necessary (however, unlike some in my office, I don’t wear the amount of hours worked as a badge of honor, studies show that you actually become less productive over time).
- I am a team player. I go out of my way to help anywhere I can within the organization. (see Mr. CEO’s comment above)
- I am very ambitious. I do what it takes to get promotions and bonuses like a good corporate monkey (Mr. CEO – GYFG knows how to “play the game” with the best of them. He can talk and work with anyone. I’ve seen him diffuse a lot of “fun” meetings over the years).
- I am self-directed (meaning I don’t need you to hold my hand). Please don’t micro manage me! Tell me what needs to be done on the back of a napkin and let me run with it.
- I am loyal.
- I play the office politics game (not because I enjoy it, but because it’s sadly how you get ahead).
- I have canceled many social events in the name of “getting the job done.” Sorry friends and family.
- I consider myself to be very accommodative and flexible. I work on the weekends when necessary. I have even worked while on vacation when absolutely needed.
- I am entrepreneurial. I will treat the business as if it were my own and act as an entrepreneur on the company’s behalf.
This is how I would describe myself as an employee and company-man thus far in my career. However, this last episode has pushed me into reflection mode. It is one of a long list of things that I hate about working in the corporate world. I am a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Do you ever feel this way?
I have always operated under the philosophy that if I scratch your back, then eventually you would scratch mine (spirit of the law vs. letter of the law). My commitment and loyalty should not be a one-way street though. There needs to be reciprocation for me to want to stay somewhere for the long-term. Something I am now sure of is that it will never work out in the long-term for me where I am now!
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back as they say. I am done being a company man. Starting today, the company I work for will only get what they pay me for (40 hours a week). If I end up working more than that in any given week, I will find ways to get the extra time back. This means there may be weeks that I work 60 hours, followed by a few weeks where I only work 35 hours to make up for stolen time.
Letter to my boss outlining a new paradigm
In the past, I have gone above and beyond the call of duty. As you know and appreciate, I have done whatever it takes to get the job done. Sometimes that means working long hours, like during the last 3 months of 2014, when I worked 80-90 hours a week (for 12 straight weeks). I have given up many weekends in the name of “getting the job done.” And how many social events have I cancelled? I pose this as a question because you are very aware of the commitments you have asked me to cancel.
I assumed that we had a reciprocal relationship. That was my bad for making such a dumb assumption (Mr. CEO – Come on GYFG, you know what they say when you assume!!! It makes an ‘ass‘ out of ‘u‘ and ‘me‘).
The reality is that there is plenty of overtime for the salaried professional, but “undertime” doesn’t exist (Mr. CEO – I think we have to make sure we’re very clear here – it’s a pipe dream that we will never ever see come true. As long as you’re working for someone else, you’re helping them to achieve their dream). I have been very accommodative over the past 13 months while under your employment. All I was asking for was some flexibility in trying to attain some semblance of a work/life balance. Or at the very least I need a better work/life blend. This has proved to be an unreasonable request based on our last few conversations.
Time is the most precious currency we have on this earth as it’s scarce – I CAN’T BUY BACK THE TIME I AM GIVING YOU!!! Once it is gone, it is gone forever. I can’t afford to be wasting my time working all the time. The reality is that I don’t live to work, instead I work to live.
I have no desire to work the kind of hours you put in. You may enjoy putting in 16-hour days and working most weekends on a regular basis, but I don’t. And frankly, I won’t (Mr. CEO – That’s one thing I can’t wrap my head around either GYFG. As a parent and husband, I want to get into the office, get my work done and get home to my family. I want to spend time reading, exercising and spending time doing what I love instead of sitting in the office for 2/3 of my day. I work my tail off just like you do, GYFG, and I don’t see the benefit in working a 16-hour day if I can get the work done smarter and faster. And it sounds like you don’t either).
You see, I thought we had an understanding. More importantly, I thought you had my back.
But these past few months have proved me wrong. First it was the Friday I left early in order to get ahead of traffic for a trip to Vegas with my wife. You had things that needed to be done so I promised you that I would work from the car by tethering to my laptop via my iPhone, while my wife drove us to Vegas. For 5 hours I worked to get what you needed done so urgently while taking multiple calls from you to review the work I had sent.
I even promised to be available to work 4-5 hours each morning on my weekend while on my Vegas trip. As you know, I am up about 4-hours before my wife. So I got all the work done that our CEO needed for his meeting on Monday morning.
Yet, when I got back from my vacation you called me into your office to chat. You informed me that “the office time-keeper” had informed you that I had not booked a half day of vacation when I left the office early on Friday. Instead of standing up for me, knowing full well that I was actually still working even though I was not in the office, you lectured me.
What the HELL is that about?
I kept my cool. I reminded you that not only was I working the whole trip on stuff you asked me to work on, but that I also put in another 8-10 hours on the weekend during my trip. I explained to you that I was not going to submit vacation time while on “the clock.”
You proceeded to back pedal and asked that I communicate with you ahead of time. Apparently I should have let you know that I was not going to be submitting vacation time for leaving the office early on that Friday.
OK, fine! I will send you a pointless email reminding you that I will be leaving early and not submitting vacation time because I am a team player and I will put in the time necessary to get work done so you won’t have to do it in my absence.
(Mr. CEO – So he didn’t stick up for you? He didn’t think about all of the hours you had put in over the past months or that even though you missed 4 hours of work in the office you worked for 5 hours in the car? I can’t even imagine how you kept your cool GYFG. Situations like this just continue to reinforce why we need to work for ourselves and not work for someone else’s dream. He should have stuck up for you. He could have handled the conversation and situation much differently)
NOPE! He didn’t stick up for me at all. I decided to accept this as a one-off occurrence and move on.
But then I got pissed on. Last week we finally got a week where I felt like I could breathe and find a little bit of balance. I left at 5pm every day last week. Yes, I only worked 40 hours last week. Please don’t faint, I know it was a real shocker and an offense of the worst kind. Why would I want to work anything less than 60 hours??? I don’t know what I was thinking.
Oh, and let me tell you, that week gave me some much-needed rest and brought a little balance back into my life. It was going to allow me to keep doing what needs to be done when those crazy weeks happen.
But then we had another talk…
Yesterday you called me into your office to chat once again. You informed me that “the office time-keeper” had let you know that I was working abbreviated days.
I explained to you calmly that the fact we were even having this conversation was frustrating. What wasn’t acknowledged was the many extra hours I have put in over the last 6-months, the time I put in before I ever even get into the office, the phone calls I take to discuss work, and the emails I answer on my personal time.
Again….What the HELL are you doing here?
You said you understood, but then you contradicted yourself when you said it would be best for perception if I spent a minimum of 9 hours in the office every day. You don’t want people to think I am getting any kind of special treatment.
(Mr. CEO – OK, seriously?! Who cares what people think? All that should matter to Mr. Boss Man is that you’re getting the job done. That should have been enough for him. A good boss would have been able to tell the team to mind their own business and not worry about what others may or may not be doing. I wonder if those people could work less than 16 hours a day if they kept their eyes on their computers instead of watching the doors.)
Wrong move my boss man. Now you will be getting a completely different type of employee – one that will not come natural to me. But you earned it.
Starting today you will get 100% of my attention – for 40 hours a week. I will not be working on weekends. I will not be answering your calls after I leave the office. The CEO will have to wait to talk with me until I get in the office.
Starting today I will be finding ways to strategically slack. This will be the only way I will be able to get any of my time back from you, the thief.
And don’t worry, I will make this transition as seamless as possible.
You should also know that I will be planning my escape every free hour I have outside of the office – This is War!
And so that all my cards are on the table, you should know this is a war that you can’t win. You don’t even have a fighting chance.
I am sorry it has to be like this. I thought I was more than reasonable. I wasn’t asking for much, just a little reciprocation.
I am really looking forward to our new adventure together!
Your Loyal & Strategic Slacker
p.s. please be on the lookout for future correspondence with other things I am now compelled to share with you.
[To Be continued in another rant for another day]
Have you ever felt like writing one of these emails? What happened that sent you over the edge? Did you actually write the email and not send it? Please share your stories in the comments below. Or if you prefer, I would love to have a series from the readers if anyone is interested in guest posting on the blog.
– Gen Y Finance Guy
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