Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Should Be Working

It's 9:12am as I start this post. It's a Thursday, which is one of my work days. I work twenty-four hours a week. This was my agreement when I went back to work, and i's what I'm comfortable with.

It's not that way lately. My boss at my annual review in March made the comment that three days a week is now the equivalent of 30-35 hours a week. I'm not ok with that, and his boss and his boss are with me on the twenty-four hours thing.

So far this week, I worked my eight hours on Monday, nine and three quarters on Tuesday, and I had three hours of conference calls on my day off. They were spread throughout the day, which meant that it was exceedingly hard to run the errands and get the things done that I need to, let alone spend time with the wee ones. I had no Fourth of July holiday last week but worked as normal instead. Per my log, I've already worked enough hours as of yesterday to cover this week and next week, with a couple to spare.

And yet, I have this feeling eating at me that people think I'm not doing enough. That they might "catch" me during this seventeen minues that I "should" be working. Logically, I know I won't get in trouble if I don't answer my phone or email because I'm not logged in. Logically, I know I have and I am going above and beyond the time and effort that is required of me -- down to not taking lunch breaks because I'm busy working and often in meetings.

But I'm still paranoid that it's not enough. I still feel like I'm trying to get away with something because I'm not logged in ninteen minutes into the official workday.

I'll ignore the fact that my boss frequently doesn't make it in until 9:30. Who cares that the people in the office will spend an hour or more a day gossiping and doing their own personal things instead of working. Who cares that the entire office checks out on Friday afternoons. Who cares that there is a strong contingent of people who come in at nine on the dot, take an hour or more for lunch, and then leave at five on the dot -- putting in seven hour days.

I'm paranoid that I'm not seen as doing exactly what I need to do. And this means that everything at home suffers, from the dinners that I don't have time to always prepare to the gym workouts I miss to the playdates I have to cancel.

Needless to say, this paranoia -- which my boss feeds -- is driving me close to the edge. I have a deal with myself right now that I'll quit working once the school year starts, just to get me through the next two months. After that (if I don't quit), I'll tell myself that I'll stay until the end of the year to make sure I use up my vacation, which I haven't done in the three years since I started back part time.

It's not healthy, and I know I'm not happy. How do you justify quitting your job in this economy though?

9:25am. I really need to go log in and start work now.

13 comments:

Momo Fali July 9, 2009 at 10:53 AM  

It sounds like your boss is taking advantage of you, but you're right...it would be hard to quit any job right now. Hang in there!

Megryansmom July 9, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

Unfortunately, you are caught between a rock and hard spot, companies are struggling but they really need to do just a bit more to make their loyal employees happy. Especially when those employees are also mothers. Don't even get me started on corporate waste, I should quit my current job and become a consultant. Now chop chop back to work LOL

anymommy July 9, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

I felt like this when I worked from home, it's so frustrating. You are doing plenty and the proof is in the hours you work.

Finally, I asked for an independent contract agreement, where I was paid for work received with a set deadline and my time was my own. That helped, but I know it's not the kind of job you have, plus there were no benefits that way AND paying all my own payroll taxes was awful. My actual earnings plummeted.

Tough decisions, not sure what my point is except that I know this stress and if you like the work, you should try (ha ha, I know) to work to your standards and not worry about anyone else!!

Lady Di July 9, 2009 at 6:02 PM  

I hate that when you see people screwing off on the job and they seem to get away with it, yet you always have the "feeling" if you did it you would be the one that got totally busted and made an example out of.

I am a teacher and I know others that practically walk out the door right behind their students (even though contractually they have to stay an hour later). One time I had to leave early because my kid was sick, I couldn't find the administrator so I just left a note with the secretary.

I was so freaked out, but I just kept thinking, "Well if so and so leaves everyday and never seems to get in trouble what the heck am I worried about??"

Pop and Ice July 9, 2009 at 10:20 PM  

You have to not be intimidated. If they feel you hedging or nervous, they will take advantage. Work the schedule you've committed and if it becomes untenable to the company, you can then decide how to proceed.

Or just chuck it in sometime this year and don't worry about it. If you can afford to stay home for awhile or longer, go for it!

Unknown Mami July 10, 2009 at 12:09 AM  

My brother in law who lives with us just walked in and told us that he quit. He just couldn't take it anymore.

These are scary times, but be good to yourself. Don't let them take advantage of you.

Good luck.

septembermom July 10, 2009 at 10:16 AM  

Michelle, don't let them take advantage of your dedication and good work ethic. I understand your feeling paranoid. It must be so tough trying to juggle everything. You're a hard worker. Remember that you're doing the best you can. I used to work for lawyers who were always looking over my shoulders. It made me so jumpy. Hugs my friend!

Melisa with one S July 11, 2009 at 7:50 AM  

Oy. That totally sucks. I agree with the others: unfortunately it is indeed a sign of the times, but that doesn't make it easier to swallow. Hang in there!

Bee and Rose July 11, 2009 at 1:16 PM  

It's a challenge...You are a wonderful person with a strong work ethic. Don't let them take advantage of your hard working efforts!

I know when I start feeling as you do, it's usually time for me to make a change. Sending you hugs and prayers, my sweet friend!

Michelle July 11, 2009 at 9:34 PM  

Momo Fali - My boss isn't just taking advantage of me, he does it to everyone... he's not exactly a good manager. And honestly, much of it is my own guilt I put on myself -- which I'll fully admit is my fault.

Megryansmom - Yep. I made the comment a year ago April to my then boss that we're in for a period of little mobility but that if things don't improve at our particular company, there's going to be a massive fallout once the economy improves.

anymommy - The proof is in my output more than in the hours. I still do about as much as a typical full time person, even given my part time status. Definitely not going the contractor route -- too many pitfalls there, as you discovered!

Lady Di - That's EXACTLY it. And if I got "busted" is that even that big a deal? Priorities. Ugh.

Carol Lynn - It isn't the hedging or being nervous. My boss feels he's absolutely in the right that part time no longer means part time. We can afford for me to stay home -- although the extras my salary afford are nice! -- but it's hard to make that jump.

Unknown Mami - Wow! That had to feel good for him. I hope that he continues to be as happy. I may be joining him....

septembermom - That's the part that's hard to remember. I know it, but who else does -- especially since I work from home two of my three days.

Melisa - It's only a sign of the times if we let it be. If no one goes for the change, then it can't stick. A friend from college passed away on Thursday and left behind a six year old son. I keep thinking that I would not be satisfied with the way I'm using my time if that were me.

Bee and Rose - Awww, thank you! And yes, it is time for a change. I just need to figure out what that change is exactly. And then commit myself to it!

scrappysue July 18, 2009 at 7:47 PM  

i work 20 and it's great. i think i could manage 24, but 30-35? i have a friend who's doing that and it's practically full-time, esp when you have kids and a husband - ugh - i hear your struggle!

scrappysue July 18, 2009 at 7:51 PM  

i forgot to say 'happy saturday sharefest!'

Michelle July 18, 2009 at 9:30 PM  

scrappysue - 20 would be good. And at the same time, I have days (more and more frequently) when zero would be good. The wee one are at such an interesting age, and there are so many fun things to do with them!

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