Friday, November 03, 2006


It's time to play a game!

No, not the one about M and the sink trap. I'm talking about the In Your Humble Opinion game!

Topic of the day: Tardiness at work.

I heard a very lively debate about this recently. Personally, I'm rarely late for work. If I am, it's usually because a driver has crashed his car for any of the following reasons:

- It's raining.
- It's not raining.
- It's sunny.
- It's dark.
- It's snowing.
- It looks like it might snow.
- I swear to god I just saw a flake.
- Bob Ryan said the word 'snow' on the news last night.
- The sky sure has that funny look, the look it gets when it's about to snow!

Or it could be because:

- His cell phone is so much more entertaining than watching the fucking road.

Wait, what was I saying? Oh, yes. Tardiness.

See what just happened? I was all set to discuss a perfectly good topic and then I got completely sidetracked. Blast you, DC traffic! You're like a dysfunctional boyfriend that I can't stop thinking about, can't leave, because I need the dysfunction.

This time I'm leaving for good! I shan't think of you again.

Until Monday.

My love.

So anyway, yes. I'm usually on time for work. But personally, I don't care if you're not there at 8:00 sharp, so long as I'm not inconvenienced by it and our department can still provide good service.

Others feel:

a) A strong dislike of "clock-watchers"
b) A strong dislike of people who don't watch the clock
b) That being 10-15 minutes late is acceptable
c) That if you'll be more than 10-15 minutes late, you should call the office
c) That it's perfectly fine to stroll in 30+ minutes late every day

I don't know. I can understand all of these viewpoints, but is one more right than the others? As I said, the conversation I heard on this topic got very heated. Maybe it's a hot topic, or maybe people were just angry about the horrible traffic jam that morning, which I strongly suspect was caused by the guy who was trying to trim his nose hairs while driving.

Yeah, I saw you, buddy. Not pretty.


Blogger Lisa said...

I think it's okay not to be a clockwatcher on the way in if you are also not a clockwatcher on the way out and you get your work done during the time you are there. In other words, I'm okay with strolling in 10-15 minutes late if I know I can get my work done for that day and I can stay late if I need to.

The caveat: It's only okay to be late if no one is waiting for you.

Second caveat: Coming late to class is not okay.

What bugs me more in the office, though, are the clockwatchers who make a point of letting everyone know that someone is late. I used to work with a woman who would e-mail the entire department to ask "Have you seen So-and-So?" if you weren't there right when you were supposed to be. And, no, she wasn't the manager.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Frema said...

I am one of those awful people who is usually at least ten minutes late for work every day. OK, twenty, who are we kidding?

In my defense, though, my boss doesn't give a flying leap about what time I stroll into the office or what time I leave, so long as I'm meeting my deadlines (which I set) and performing well. That being said, I often stay late when I'm in the thick of designing or editing our company newsletters. That doesn't bother me at all.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

For jobs you punch in for (Taco Bell, etc.) I think one should be on time.

For jobs where you are manning (womanning) phones, etc., one should be on time.

For law jobs, where everyone comes in at 10 and leaving time is indefinite, come in at 10.

For yoga teaching, come in 5-15 minutes early (depending on location, popularity of the class, etc.)

9:55 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

I read an article that said people are crashing their cars because they are TEXT MESSAGING. Yikes. Watch out!

I used to work in an office where the boss always noticed if I was five minutes late, but never noticed that I worked five minutes later in the evening to make it up.

For the most part, I am punctual for everything, to the point of being anal.

That said, I don't give a rat's rump if someone is late to work as long as I don't have to answer the phones for them.

Not that I work, but if I did...

11:51 AM  
Blogger His suzy said...

I agree with what most people have said here: if you have a job where you NEED to be there at a certain time, whether because of punching in or taking phone calls or whatever, then it's good to be on time. Otherwise, I don't see the big deal, within reason.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

When I worked in a daycare center, the 5-10 minutes that someone was late seemed like an eternity. It meant that babies were not being attended to and that did not go over well with me.

Nose hair dude needs to keep that to himself in the confines of his bathroom.

And how DO women apply make-up (especially mascara) while driving? I jab myself in the eye just standing in front of the mirror at home.

DC traffic: you could always escape it and move to Ohio. ;)

12:18 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

Our band director had a saying that I always liked: To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Carolyn- from reading your blog, I think you work harder than I do. At least my job is over at 5:00.

This is very interesting, hearing all these different opinions.

What about the opinion that punctual people get the short end of the stick when others are allowed to come in late? One person had actually added up how many hours/days "off" the late people ended up with by being 20-30 minutes late every day.

Me? I'm too busy calculating the amount of time I spend commuting.

1:03 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

That's it! I'm moving to Ohio to live with Roxanne and the prancing man. :D

1:04 PM  
Blogger Frema said...

Liz - I don't really buy the "extra vacation time" line, because people are working longer hours than ever before, and employers expect their employees to be "on call" at all hours of the day. Many people answer e-mail, take phone calls, work on projects at night and on weekends in addition to the traditional 9 to 5, which is actually more like 8 to 5 these days.

3:52 PM  
Blogger bdogg_mcgee said...

Hmmm--see, I'm always early to work. Our hours are 8:30-5:30, and I normally get here between 7:30-7:45 am and leave around 5-ish. So I guess I'm not the best person to ask, since being late tends to set my hair on fire, figuratively, of course.

What gets me is when people who stroll in 10-15 min late and it's never mentioned, but I, who am CONSISTENTLY EARLY, get in trouble when I tell someone I'm going to be late b/c I'm getting a flu shot, and then the next day, come to work and get yelled at because I didn't tell anyone where I was. You see, though, I did tell someone, but that someone overslept that day and was two hours late to work. TWO HOURS!!!! And nothing happened to this someone. WTF?

Moral of the story: Put everything in writing to your boss. And the executive assistant to the President. (It's a small company)

I went way off topic there, didn't I?

Oh, btw, I once had a boss who used to put her contacts on while she was driving. I never understood that.

5:14 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Ewwwwwwwwww! Trimming nose hairs while driving! I guess it's not as bad as the booger eaters though.

I, personally, like to be on time and expect others to pay me that courtesy as well. When my employees (or friends for a get-together) show up more than 15 minutes late, without calling, I think that shows an obvious lack of respect for me and my time.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

Off topic, but my library finally got off its butt and got the new anna maxted i'll be reading it soon.

2:04 PM  
Blogger kj said...

liz, i lean on the being-on-time side of things. if i'm more than 5-10 minutes late, i definitely call. ok, ok, the truth is i want people to be on time. i can't help it.............


1:11 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Let me revise my earlier statement. I don't care if people aren't in by 8 on the dot. Ten, fifteen minutes late? Fine. Around here, only people who walk or bike to work have major control over the length of time it takes to get to work.

But we do have a small staff where I work, and we all depend on each other. We also have to staff a service desk, and customers depend on that. Constant, major tardiness really mucks it up for everyone, and that I do mind.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Liz - Maybe your paying job is over at five, but then your second shift starts.

You still have to cook dinner, maybe do a few loads of laundry, take care of Alex, do some cleaning, etc...

I guarantee you work as hard or harder than I do.

10:07 AM  
Blogger popscholar said...

Kinda random, but since we'll be in DC this coming weekend, I thought of you, Liz... Any good restaurant recommendations?

10:38 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

And I am leaving the DC area to go to Williamsburg! (land of many pancake houses and historic buildings)

What area of the city?

10:44 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Carolyn- you're right, there's always work to do at home, too. M really takes on a lot of that, though, since he has shorter and more flexible hours than I do. Gotta love working for the elementary schools. Sometimes I really wish I wanted to be a school librarian.

10:49 AM  
Blogger popscholar said...

We're saying just outside the city in Arlington, actually, but we're up for something in the city...

Why are you leaving DC?!

11:39 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Hmmm... it's hard to make just one recommendation!

If you like tapas, try Jaleo in Arlington (there's also a location in DC)

DC- Firefly in Dupont Circle is fun:

If you want to venture a little further south, try Majestic Cafe in Old Town, Alexandria.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I'm not leaving permanently-- just for a few days to attend a conference. :)

1:33 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

D also likes Jandara Cafe in DC. I like Tryst :)

5:21 PM  

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