On Mon, 30 Nov 2009 07:49:24 -0600, Swingman wrote:
I think you've got it. But it is interesting that I got a lot more
response to the afterthought on frequent flier miles than to the main
thread of shopping during working time.
As for those who thought I worked in a sweatshop, I was a computer
programmer for about 45 years. The last 15 or so as self-employed. I
went in when I felt like it, worked at home when I wanted, etc.. The
rare times when I conducted personal business at work, I got it approved
first. And as a freelance, I deducted any such time, and any long lunch
hours, from the hours billed.
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
There is a *big* difference between a salaried person and a
contractor. Charging a contract for personal time spent is (almost
always, but I'm sure someone will find an exception somewhere ;)
fraud. Salary, at least in theory, has nothing to do with the actual
The *theory* is that you're paid to do a job and measured on that,
rather than the number of hours sitting at a desk. In theory, theory
and reality are the same. In reality, they're different.
When I worked for IBM no one ever looked at my hours. I could come
and go as I pleased. The only rule was that if I wasn't going to show
up management should know about it, preferably ahead of time. THe
last decade or so I was there, working from home was perfectly
acceptable though again, management had to know how to get ahold of
Nowhere I ever worked (engineering) didn't have a listed set of office
hours as part of the employment arrangement whether there was a formal
contract agreement or simply as part of the package of information
personnel provided during hiring and/or orientation. "Theory" was there
was sufficient complexity in the work to keep one occupied those
hours...or more... :)
As noted in another thread, I've been in organizations that were at both
extremes (as well as in the middle) on actually keeping track or paying
attention to _when_ the hours were worked altho I've never been in one
that didn't keep track of which projects one was working on simply for
cost management and control; even in internal R&D organizations. It
would seem only if one was in a group that had only a single mission and
top-level budget could that not be required to have any handle
whatsoever on costs. And, of course, if one is working on projects that
have end-customers such as power nuclear reactors for specific
utilities, its clearly required to know which project gets billed
appropriately. And, of course, if one were working defense or other
gov't-funded contracts the paper reqm'ts to satisfy DCAA were
significant irrespective of the employer's bent w/o that "motivation".
The official policy was something like "7:42 to 4:40, give or take two
hours." The unofficial policy was "get your work done". Of course
this included being present for any meetings. Outside a couple of
years after IBM got a shiny new time accounting system and when I was
contracting to Lockheed Martin, I haven't filled out a time card for
thirty-five years. Other than the contracting stint, my pay has never
been tied to the time sheet.
Sure. I've usually worked on one product, though perhaps several
subsystems at a time. Where I work now, there is a spreadsheet we
fill out every month or three. There are columns for different
projects but I've never entered anything in any other than one
project's "development" column, or in "paid time off".
When I was contracting (DOD contract) it was only one project, so it
was just time in/out. ...and they screwed that up.
Every employer wants a salary based on 40 hours but many also -expect-
the salaried employee to work 60 hours a week for it. Many get it.
Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.
Has much to do w/ circumstances and workplace culture and how hours are
I've been in professional offices where rigorous hours were expected for
everybody including both departure as well as arrival. In that
environment, there's no room for personal time other than the mandatory,
short time to deal with stuff like answering the reminder phone from
dentists' office or home on the sick kids or whatever...
OTOH, I spent quite a long time (>20 yrs) in another organization that
was laisse-faire about individual hours as long as there was sufficient
overlap w/ colleagues that all necessary interactions occurred on a
timely basis. There, folks worked their own schedule and routinely
worked far over the "base 40" on own volition even accounting for
personal time taken while at the desk. Abuse would be fairly easily
observed as it wouldn't take long before an excess of nonproductive
hours would show up in that individual's output. Individual timesheets
and logs were required to be kept as backup documentation although never
routinely scrutinized; only the reported hours on the bimonthly
timecards were routinely used.
When self-employed and billing by the hour, obviously meticulous
attention to billing only hours actually working for the particular
client is mandatory.
 Part of that was owing to the fact that while this was a quite large
overall organization it was (at that time still) 100% employee-owned;
hence, there was an inherent self-rewarding financial incentive to do
well financially for the company as it was essentially working for oneself.
While that makes a lot of sense, properly run private companies offer good
incentives also. Profit sharing and bonuses work well. It also makes it
easy to find the slackers and get rid of them since they are taking "our"
Pride in doing a good job helps too.
Never said it didn't; simply was describing one particular organization.
OTOH, ime many companies that have profit sharing and/or bonus plans
tend to "top-load" the rewards from those more based on position than
actual performance. The company of which I was speaking (being a bunch
of engineers/scientists from the git-go) had a set of formulae the
founders had derived to arbitrate based on specific criteria.
What used to bug me was the guy who was making $30 an hour yakking on the
phone with his wife while the $300/hr consultant cooled his heels wating for
an answer he needed in order to get on with his job.
While not technically self employed, I worked as a contractor for
Lockheed Martin for a year. I regularly billed them for the 65-70hrs/
week worked. I wasn't paid an overtime multiplier but at my regular
hourly rate that would just have been a further embarrassment. ;-)
On Sun, 29 Nov 2009 21:28:29 -0600, the infamous Larry Blanchard
Hey, if the company handed me a ticket, they'd have the miles. If
they made me buy my own ticket on my own credit card, I'd certainly
expect to retain the miles. I'm sure that some companies specifically
state that they give the miles to their employees as yet another perq,
even if the employee uses a company card.
I have a couple friends who do a lot of both U.S. and international
travel for their company & gov't. Those mileage perqs are the least
the company can do for putting their employees in that tiring
situation week after week. My govvy friend then had a hell of a time
being reimbursed for the tickets he bought with his own money.
Management ethics sure have changed.
Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.
Who is the better worker? Based on a true story.
At the Widget Factory, workers wee expected to make 100 widgets each every
day. Anything less than 85 would get you a warning, three warnings you are
Stan goes to hs bench at the start of the shift. He takes a quick break
and is back in the allotted time. Takes lunch and promptly return. At the
end of the day, he is able to make 90 widgets, the best of his ability.
Richard punches in on time but is usually a few minutes late getting to his
Every half hour he is out taking a smoke break. At lunch, he is the first
to wash up, last to return. More smoke breaks in the afternoon. He alow
wanders down tot he supply room sometime chatting with othersa long htee
way. At the end of the shift he is washed up and standing at the time
clock, first to punch out. At t he end of the day, he's made 120 widgets,
yet some call him a slacker because he is always away from his bench so
Big Boss says Richard is no longer alllowed to wander away. He goes from
120 Widgets to 99 per day but Big Boss is happy because Richard is now a
New model Widget II is starting production. No one knows how to make it.
Richard ignores those trying. Engineer that designed part comes and tries
and fails after a day. Bring in tooling man at big bucks. He too fails
after a half day. Everyone but Richard goes to lunch.
Ten minutes later, Richard puts perfect Widget II on my desk and asks, "is
it OK if I go down to the storeroom?" Yes, you can and you can have a
Richard is his real names and he made parts on a Pines tubing bender better
and faster than anyone. He worked in spurts so no, your argument that he
could produce more if he stayed at the machine were proven wrong time and
again. Many people are best productive if just left alone to do their jobs.
Posted from work.
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