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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Working VS Shirking

I work a standard issue 9-5 type boring office job.
Since I have 40 hours a week in which to complete my work and no supervisor standing over my shoulder I can pace myself as I please. If I worked at my top speed the work allotted to me would certainly not occupy my 40 required hours and I'm pretty sure more work would be allocated to me to fill my time. I'm also not certain though just how long I could keep up my top speed. Maybe three full days in a row? Maybe two weeks? Then I'd be pretty burnt out.
As it stands my general work model is slack-slack-workreallyfast.

Today I was required to come into work since I used more vacation days than I had coming to me over Passover. The place was pretty much deserted and I worked at top speed uninterrupted. Between the hours of 8AM and noon I completed what I'd consider a normal persons's full day's work. Feeling honest enough about that I went home for the day. Had this been a normal day however, I would have had to stay on for another five hours-working slowly or more likely goofing off.

The whole concept of "face-time," the requirement to have your butt in your chair at the office for a specific number of hours per week, totally eludes me. I understand that if you are an ambulance driver, or a fire fighter or a waiter, you need to be at your post, but why is this necessary for a lame-o office job such as mine. Why is work measured in hours per week in front of a desk rather than units of work acutally accomplished?
I'm pretty sure a lot of the people who put in the "long hours" are not actually getting much done, and even fast workers such as myself, are slacking away a large chunk of their office time. This does not seem to be a very efficient way to run a business, yet every place I've worked operates in a similar fashion.

Tell me about your working style and whether you work in an efficient work environment. I've heard they exist I've just never seen one with my own eyes.


At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shifra. Work for me and I'll treat you right. I'd pay you for 20 "performance" hours a week and you'll make equal to what you are getting for your current 40 "slack-slack-WF" hours-a-week job. With more time for yourself and less guilt. Only one catch - You'd have to move to Canada.

At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the cost of living in Canada (unless you are talking about Toronto) being much lower than it is where I am I think that would be a pretty nice offer!

How did a smart, forward thinking person like you get to be the boss?
I thought you were required to reliquish your braincells once you hit management in most companies.

At 11:44 PM, Blogger Air Time said...

In my current job, most days there is less than two hours of work that needs to be done. If I could get away with it, I would leave, but if I left I wouldn't get paid. Which is why I have Air Time.

I had a job a few years ago in an ad agency where there was a ton of work to do. I worked quite efficiently, and was usually finished with my workload long before my coworkers. Unfortunately, in that sitaution, it meant staying late to help my coworkers make our client-driven deadlines. So here was the choice. Work hard, get done, then carry other people and go home after midnight or slack off, get my stuff done at an easy pace, and then go home after midnight.

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am talking about Toronto. And stop kissing up to me. It'll get you nowhere.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Eliyahu said...

very interesting post. i saw something in my professional literature about the tyranny of billing by the hour. it seems lawyers started this method of billing 60 or 70 years ago, and it was eventually taken up by CPAs. the gurus of the accounting profession now believe in value billing, not hourly billing. the theory is that this will result in greater earnings and happy clients. so far, i have not seen any guru suggesting that the concept be applied to employees. indeed, with the current wage and hour laws, it might be difficult.


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