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Bargaining for more flexible flex time

Ok, I'm sure I'll get flamed to pieces for this one, but here goes.  At my current employer, I've got flex time, with core hours of 9am - 3 pm.  This means that so long as I am here between 9 and 3, I can work any 9 hour shift (including a lunch) that I want.

Now.. my daughter gets out of school at 3, and it's a 30 minute drive.  It would be a beautiful thing indeed if I could convince my manager to allow me to work 5:30 - 2:30.  Yes, I'd miss 30 minutes off of core hours, but in practice, I never, EVER have a meeting past 2:00, and if I did, I could make alternate arrangements for that day.

The alternative is to enroll my daughter in the after school latchkey program, and pay $300/month for the privilege of having some stranger watch my kid for 30 minutes each day until I'm able to come pick her up (the program actually lasts 3 hours each evening, but I don't NEED 3 hours of coverage).

Now, plenty of people take advantage of the flextime here, which is to say they use it, not abuse it.  Plenty of people have sporadic schedules, and as such, meetings are scheduled way in advance.  I have a mobile phone, and I can dial into the LAN here from home.

How do I present this without getting my head bitten off?  Anyone?  I don't think this is an unreasonable proposition.  Granted, the rules are for everybody and all that, but we're talking 30 minutes, and I'd still be working 9 hours a day.  (if anything I'd be more productive, with 3.5 uninterrupted hours each morning, since most of the business comes in at 9)

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

So you're afraid to ask your manager a simple question about work hours, yet you have no problem coming here and ranting about everything else.

Is that what they call a "passive-aggressive weasel"? I'm not a native citizen of U.S., maybe somebody can help me understand this strange part of their culture.

Babu
Thursday, August 19, 2004

That's a hard case to make, although most core time here would start around 10 to 10:30 and probably finish around 4 to enable people to do the school run, at least in the morning.

Although I generally work from home and I can likely get to pick my daughter up from school every day I enjoy the days she's been in after school care and its going to be a bit of a pain from this year that she doesn't have after school club to go to.

You're going to lay yourself open to a couple of difficult questions:

ie 'Beryl and others have children in school and they seem to be able to make arrangements'

'Having you in at 5:30 might be good for you, but makes you unavailable to the rest of us in our core time'.

And so on.  The latter one is the one that would be the killer were I the manager because its not something I could defend either from other members of staff or other managers.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Hang tough until the next salary review, then suggest this option as a cost-cutting measure. You get an extra $300/month and the company doesn't have to give you a raise.

Another option is to make a suggestion, anonymous or otherwise, to the appropriate person or group that it might be beneficial financially to ask everyone whether or not there are financial burdens associated with hours of work that can be reasonably alleviated with policy changes. Naturally, for this to be a cost-cutting measure, the policy would also have to state that taking advantage of the policy would also cause a wage/raise reduction in accordance with the loss to the company of your time.

I did this at one employer in order to get my hours synchronized with my wife's commuting schedule, thus eliminating the need for a second vehicle. Public transit was horrific for the routes we would have needed to use. It didn't really cost my employer anything and it saved my wife and I a huge after-tax burden. Of course, with the way Canada's taxation laws are being interpreted these days, doing something like this now would probably get classified as a taxable benefit :)

Ron Porter
Thursday, August 19, 2004

==>You're going to lay yourself open to a couple of difficult questions:

as well as a few others:

" If we give you a half hour earlier than the rest of the folks, what do we tell Bob in Accounting when he asks for a half hour earlier than you?"

The issue is that you'll be setting a precedent that they likely don't want to set. They'll open themselves up to a lawsuit from Bob. They're giving in to your request, they'll almost *have to* give in to Bob's if he pushes the issue.

Once they give in to Bob, then Mary over in Legal will want yet another hour earlier ...

You see the point (I hope) . It's a slippery slope for them to deviate from the published SOP.

It all likely depends on your value to the company. If you're a great employee, they may work with you on this. It's a cost/benefit. They've got to weigh your value as an employee against the likelihood of associated costs (Bob suing 'cause they won't let him come in an hour earlier).

Sgt. Sausage
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Who cares about Bob? He has bitch tits.

Sorry... couldn't resist.

I am Jack
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I would enrol in the latchkey program, it keeps you're life simple but more expensive.  Although it only takes you 30 minutes you have to consider the possibility of traffic problems - if you are late what happens?

The latchkey program also gives you flexibility to work past 3pm if you need to attend an important meeting or finish some important piece of work - it might be rare but will mean a lot to your employer when you are then when you are needed.

Being a good parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world, being a good single parent is even tougher.  You've got to simplify your life as much as possible so that you are in the best position to respond to the unknown both at work and at home.

Chris Peacock
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Not being an American, I might have a completely skewed view on this - but can't your daughter just take a bus? Or wait at the school?

Genuine curiosity here - no offense intended. I know that I went home on my own starting in first grade, and I spent a lot of time in the school library when I didn't want to go home - but that was Germany, which might be a completely different story....

Robert 'Groby' Blum
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Seriously, why not just ask your manager?  Worst thing that can happen is that he/she says "no".

Don't forget to add since you'll be in early you won't have to deal with the annoying co-workers for the first several hours and be more productive.  My last job I got in at 5 so I could be a little more in sync with co-workers in Helsinki and it was fanastic.  I worked half my day before the rest of the crowd got in but got much more work done.  Missed all the traffic too.

Bill Rushmore
Thursday, August 19, 2004


Are there after school activities (sports, theatre, study sessions) or anything similar that occur semi-regularly?

KC
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I would agree with Chris.  I think the problem is that in reality a 1/2 hour may not be enough and really how often do you get out of the office at the *exact* time that you need (i.e. you try to leave everyday at 3:00 and end up leaving at 3:15 especially when the bulk of you co-workers are getting in/eaving later- they have no problem coming over at 2:55 and striking up a question/conversation). 

I understand that you want to spend time with your kids (and think its great) but maybe the after school program would be good.  Plan on picking the kid up everyday at 4, this gives you plenty of slack time, it gives you a chance to wind down from your work/clear your mind (and relax a bit), plus it gives your child a chance at some socialization/make friends. 

If your going to rush everyday to pick her up and potentially suffer career-wise for it, will either of you be better off for it?

Mike

MikeG
Thursday, August 19, 2004

How does you daughter GET to school?  Do you drop her off at 5:00 in the morning?  (Just curious).

I've found that companies that have 'core-hours' and flex-time like this tend to be more flexible than those that mandate the 9-5 standard.  Given that they've flexed to a 9 to 3 core-time, it doesn't seem to me the extra 30 minutes is going to make a huge difference.

Give it a shot with your manager, and see what he says.  Do point out the financial impact of a negative answer, and be prepared to say what you'll do at 5:30 in the morning when no one else is around.

AllanL5
Thursday, August 19, 2004

If memory serves (which it wildly may not), I think I saw an offhand comment in one of the MSDN blogs recently that Microsoft has *very* loosey-goosey hours. If that's true, how do they manage it? Anyone here who knows?

$300/month is a whopping big pile of money. I mean, you're spending the kid's college fund on daycare. You may not be able to fix this, but IMO it's worth a try.

Are you friends with any of the other parents who might be interested in swapping favors?  Or anyone in your neighborhood (like a high school girl) ho could babysit for a lot less money?

Lanie
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Thanks for the suggestions, all.

Allan:  I drop my daughter off at her mom's in the morning and she takes her to school before going to work.

+++Not being an American, I might have a completely skewed view on this - but can't your daughter just take a bus? Or wait at the school?+++

The school isn't going to allow my daughter to wait around on the campus for 30 minutes unattended on a daily basis.  In special circumstances, they'll accomodate.  Daily, no.  And my 6 year old can't take a bus home by herself.  Aside from that being completely out of the question from a parenting perspective, it's illegal here.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Er... a high school girl *who* could babysit. "Who."  I certainly don't want to typgraphically accuse any innocent teenagers of, well, you know.

Lanie (who really was an innocent teenager)
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Where to start?

Parents coddle their children WAY too much these days. We're due for a generation of overprotected screwed-up adults.

Kids can ride a bus at 5. I rode a bus at 5. Kids can be left with strangers.

As to how to approach your boss, grow a pair.

passive-aggressive weasel
Thursday, August 19, 2004

+++Kids can ride a bus at 5. I rode a bus at 5. Kids can be left with strangers. +++

As much as you may not think so in your conservative, broken head, the world is not the same place it was when you and I were 5.  I walked to school at 5, by myself, and home, by myself.  The way society is today, I'd be lucky if somebody called the police if they saw someone grab my daughter off the sidewalk and run, and there's plenty of people out there who would do it, too.  Take a look at your local registered sex offender list, someday.

The world has changed.  Sorry you can't deal with that.  As for overprotective, not at all.  I give my daughter as many opportunities for independance as I can while still making sure she's reasonably safe.

You don't just let a 6 year old walk across town by herself anymore.  Not a good idea.



UPDATE:  I pitched the idea to my boss, and he's all for it.  In fact, he says he'll appreciate the extra coverage in the mornings for production issues?

Grow a pair?  Grow up.  I wasn't asking for morale support, I was asking for opinions on how to present my case most effectively.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Good for you, muppet! So how did you approach this?

Ron Porter
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I made essentially the same argument I made in my OP, listing the benefits to me and to the department (increased coverage of production issues in the early morning).  I explained to my boss that this will save me $300/month, which is essentially a raise (review time is coming up), and that I'll be able to be more effective if I get here 3 hours before most of the business folks.

It was surprisingly easy to convince him, actually.  I'm amazed.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004


Congrats muppet.

Nice to see that it worked out for you.

Now if I could just convince my boss of the same.... of course, I don't have kids.

KC
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Now you have to get up at 4am!  oh dear...

Chris Peacock
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Your welcome honey, I'm happy to drive you home from school. Yes honey, I'd love to play tea-party with you, but daddy has to slip into a coma right now...

Edward
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Although its past the point now, I got muppet's back on this.  His request was reasonable.

Clay Whipkey
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Edward - LOL

I've been meaning to be more disciplined about getting to bed earlier, anyway.  :)

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

"Do point out the financial impact of a negative answer, and be prepared to say what you'll do at 5:30 in the morning when no one else is around."

Good Lord! Don't do THAT!!

Well boss, I'll stroll in at 5:35, open my email program, get my coffee, make an english muffin, read the paper, and start working around 6:15...

Gustavo
Thursday, August 19, 2004

>Well boss, I'll stroll in at 5:35, open my email program, >get my coffee, make an english muffin, read the paper, >and start working around 6:15...

  And what's the difference from gettin at 9:00, open email program, get coffe, read JOS, and start workin around 10:30 ?

Ricardo Antunes da Costa
Thursday, August 19, 2004

"I explained to my boss that this will save me $300/month, which is essentially a raise (review time is coming up)"

LOL! What a doormat. You just talked yourself out of a raise.

Congrats on getting bent over.

passive-aggressive weasel
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Actually, I got a $4,000 raise two months ago thanks to a re-classification of my position, 3 months early for my review.  So I'm still doing just fine.

Thanks for your input, though.  Try again when you have a clue.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

How might you being there early benefit at least ONE of your internal "customers"?

Perhaps there is a need (or some job you could perform) that would REQUIRE you to be there early, perhaps taking the backup tape out of the mainframe computer (yes, that was once my job :-)  Got off early to go rock climbing). 


"Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else get your way."

Mr.Analogy (ISV owner)
Thursday, August 19, 2004

In my case, I work 30% of the time on payroll systems.  So coming in nice and early will allow me to provide quick support if the payroll cycle (run early in the morning) hits a snag.  This was part of my pitch.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I'm finding this whole flex time thing frustrating, in my particular situation.

Half the time now, when I go to find somebody, they're off early, or off for the day, or whatever. I'd say in a typical week that there's only ~20 hours where my whole group is in the office.

Not to mention the frustration of having to get something done by end-of-week, and two of the guys are running out the door on Thursday for their long weekend. Ugh.

As well, I used to find that lunch is a good time to socialize; go grab a quick bite and have a chance to talk about things other than work. Now, people have lunch somewhere from 10:00 to 14:00.

YMMV.

Edward
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Edward  -

Don't you have core hours?  Why don't you schedule time with the people you need to see on by-the-end-of-the-week issues?  It sounds like a large part of your problem is disorganization.

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

No, we don't have a serious problem.

The problem is that I want to ask a quick question of someone, but half the time they're not working yet/still.

Edward
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Annoying too is the occasional rush to get something done, and having to stay a few hours to do it. The people working 4 day weeks are already working 10-hour days, so they don't feel like staying much more.

And of course, aren't going to come in on their day off (usually Friday here).

Edward
Thursday, August 19, 2004

These are all typical arguments by folks who seem more jealous of people taking advantage of flex time than genuinely annoyed.  There are logistics to deal with in ANY office arrangement.  Simply being in the office is not the only prerequisite for availability.  All of your problems come down to organization.  There is no "quick question".  Nothing takes a programmer out of the Zone worse than having to stop their train of thought and change gears to respond to your "quick question"

Use email/voicemail.  Schedule meetings. 

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Okay. I'm sure your group works differently than mine.

That's fine.

Tim
Thursday, August 19, 2004

The previous was from me. Lousy low-power laptop battery ;-)

Edward
Thursday, August 19, 2004

It sounds like your group is different in that it's disorganized.  ;)

Your low laptop battery makes your name change? 

muppet
Thursday, August 19, 2004

I switched computers because of the battery. My part-time roommate had his name typed in there already...I didn't even think about checking it...

Edward
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Muppet,

I sympathize with you regarding your plight.  It is difficult in this day and age.

You have said you boss likes the effort you put forth and are well respected by him.  Surely he would go for this.

You are obvioulsy smart enough to be a great programmer (not sarcastic, I am taking you at your word).  Why not add to those book smarts and computer smarts and academic smarts with people smarts.

Read a book about psychology.  Talk to people.  Watch how others talk.  Start experimenting by saying different things to these annoying people and see what works best.

If you were truly as smart as you say you were you wouldn't have a problem with them.  You'd know how to handle them and of already remedied the situation.  If you were truly as smart as you think, you'd be CEO by now or have gotten yourself into a different situation (read: self-employment or contracting) where you didn't have to deal with people like that all the time.  Maybe you are just a self-mutalist or like self-pity?  I used to be like that.  Seriously.

You seem to be successful with women (in terms of sex and dating according to your posts).  Closing women and closing deals in the office are very much alike.  Handling women and handling bosses and co-workers to get what you need out fo the relationship are also very much alike.  Try applying like principles.

I have read over this post and it is in true honesty and I am truly trying to help.  I doubt there is anything in it you can flame and rebut (as opposed to actually discussing some of the issues).  So let's, for the (fantasy) life of god, keep it to the topic:

If you are so smart in other areas of your life, what makes you think you can't become a genious when dealing with people?  I believe you can.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

"I'll be able to be more effective if I get here 3 hours before most of the business folks."

Bahahahahaha!  That's a laugh.  Based on how much time you claim to spend at work taking care of personal business, surfing, etc. while people are in the office, how much more effective will you actually get done having 3 hours of time alone in the office?

I pity muppets employer
Thursday, August 19, 2004

Wow, my grammar is atrocious!

I pity muppets employer
Thursday, August 19, 2004

How old is your daughter? Can she not just let herself in, and avoid getting herself maimed or killed for thirty minutes?

(Says I, who was a latch key kid from the age of 11).

Mr Jack
Friday, August 20, 2004

And for that matter, have you no friends? No-one who could take her for a half hour after school - maybe some of her friends parents?

Mr Jack
Friday, August 20, 2004

Hmm... perhaps I should read rest of thread before replying. Seems like you've got it sorted.

Mr Jack
Friday, August 20, 2004

If 3pm is the normal school closng time round your way I think you should suggest it as a company/office wide policy change since you can't be the only one who has the problem. If your daughter's school is special then tough titty. Don't try and make yourself out to be a special case or the might decide you are just a problem case.


Friday, August 20, 2004

> And what's the difference from gettin at 9:00, open email program, get coffe, read JOS, and start workin around 10:30

At 6:15 you can still surf porn for a couple of hours at least until anyone else gets in.


Friday, August 20, 2004

Ask boss for the additional flexibiliy.
    If he says yes, problem solved.
    If he says no, look for another job that suits your needs.
 

Bella
Saturday, August 21, 2004

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