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Basically, in short, I'm a developer, in a company. We have some tight deadlines, which I don't mind. As it is now...we pretty much had no days off in three months, every weekend etc...we are small company but dealing with huge clients. Anyway, I'm pretty good with time, I'm normally in between 8.30 - 9.15, now considering I'm often here utnil 3am, I don't see the problem. The CEO mailed us this morning, to let us all know to be on time, 9am sharp. His wife he works here stolled in at 11.

I mean, we aren't on great money, I applied for a number of days off, just one here and there, non got accepted, we worked for three months, no overtime, no days off...and he mails us this. We've turned this from a good application to a serious enterprise application, with all the bells etc... And we get this in return.

I am thinking of writing him a mail, basically say, free ways, to make our lives easier. Sometimes I'm really in the 'zone' so to speak and I am getting allot done. Then, since I don't have a key to this place, I have to leave. It's stupid and pointless. Or another thing, when I leave at 3am and I'm expected back in at 8am, I have to spend two hours getting home bnad back, why the hell can't I just sleep under my desk on a blowup bed or something? Why waste time going home and back.

We are treated like crap, I don't want to have no job, I know it's hard to get one now, but I don't see why I should put up with this crap. I know allot of people leaving IT becuase of people, rather than the job. I'm half thinking about the same, I enjoy  what I do, allot of unix systems programming, I like it, but this is just useless. If I do leave ill probably have to relocate to get any job like this.

I'm wondering if I should just sent him an honest, non-abusive mail, outlining what I would like to see happen, things to make our work lives easier, what'ya think?

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Don't send mail, instead, step into his office!

Frederik Slijkerman
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

My standard answer to employers in the past who have wanted me in the office at a specific time is that I will also be out of the office at a specific time - i.e. the one they pay me for...

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

In at 0900 sharp , leave at 1700 sharp might do the trick.

Just me (Sir to you)
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

With something like this you don't have many options. The only one I can see is:

- Work 40 hours, 9-5. Not a second more.
- Get fired.
- Sue for wrongful termination, abusive work conditions, and harassment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

I think the response of "Walk in and tell him" is the best one. You might have a CEO that is just an asshole, or what is very possibly the case is that the CEO has no idea what you do.

If you walk in and say you want to talk about the email and tell him that you like to have a bit of leeway because when the job needs to get done you stay back to do it, you will probably fine he had no idea and only got to see people coming in late. Or, possibly there was a particular person he had in mind but didn't want to make an example of that person.

Only one way to find out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

If you continue in your current work habits, be sure to email your supervisor when you come in and when you leave.  If you come and go for lunch, do that, too.  This provides you a paper trail that you may need later, if you are terminated.

If you want to change your work habits, then I would suggest you be punctual coming into work and leaving to go home.

Bryan Shaw
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Learn how to get in the 'zone' from 9 right up until 5.

Some people deserve what they ask for.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

a) Start looking for a new job. Now. Not only are you being treated like crap, but unless your company does something besides software, it's going to be out of business in a year.
b) Start working 8:30-5 with a thirty minute lunch away from your desk.
c) As someone else mentioned, send an email to your supervisor when you arrive and when you leave.
d) It doesn't look like you're in the US, but do some research on contacting your local labor board or its equivalent. If you get noise about working 9-5, then make noise about reporting the company for abusive work conditions. You can't say anything so long as you're putting in 80 hour weeks voluntarily, but as soon as they hint they want regular unpaid overtime as a condition of continued employment, you have a case.

e) Start looking for a new job. Now.


Tuesday, July 8, 2003

I'm sorry - between a & b should be agreement to approach your boss (not the CEO directly unless you work for him directly) about the working hours and a request for a little more flexibility in the time you come in.


Tuesday, July 8, 2003

I think you should either politely e-mail the CEO or go talk to him yourself.  (Most on here have advocated talking to him directly instead of e-mailing him, but sometimes that's easier said than done.  It can be intimidating to walk into the CEO's office and start criticizing him.)

At my office, we had a rash of people people forwarding emails to the entire company.  In response, the CEO laid down this really draconian email policy - 100% for business, no attachments ever over a certain size, etc.  Most of us just grumbled to ourselves, but one guy took the initiative to email back and tell the CEO that he thought the policy was unreasonable.  The CEO responded by asking him to draft a more appropriate policy, which he did, and the CEO used that as the company policy.

If I were you, I would politely tell the CEO that when you are putting in the kind of hours you are, you think a little leeway on when you arrive is in order.  If he disagrees and still tells you to to be in at 9:00 sharp, then I wouldn't work one second over 8 hours if I were you.

And, start looking for another job immediately - one where the developers are respected.

One-Armed Bandit
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

If you are ballsy enough to walk into your CEO's office over this, make sure that you articulate your issues very carefully (no techy details) and don't show him a negative attitude. Trust me, if you have an outburst or even rub him the wrong way, you're probably toast.

Right way: Begin by asking him for a few minutes to talk. If he does not agree, do not force the meeting. If he does agree, calmly begin the conversation with him. Stick to fact & tact, and offer solutions if he gives you the opportunity. Wth a little luck, you may have his undivided attention for maybe 3 or 4 minutes.

Wrong way: Walk into his office unannounced, start yammering away about how you're treated like dirt, and demand that he do something about it or else. There are good odds he'll fire you on the spot and place a call to Security to have you removed from the building.

Good luck. The real answer, of course, is for you to find a new job. Start now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

golly, "find a new job"?  Is that good advice?

This kind of email is going to go around every few months or so.  Just be punctual for a while, as everyone will, and then it will all slip back to the normal routine soon enough.  If you're doing a good job, you aren't the target of this email anyhow.

constructive comment
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

I said "start looking for a new job" because if the company's revenues are based on the death march this guy's on, they're going to be bankrupt soon.

Alos, you cannot bank on the "we'll step in line, then things will get back to normal" routine - people are not cutouts, they're all different. No telling if Mr. CEO will decide it's time to "lay down the law" by firing someone to assert his power.

So - be prepared and try to have a safety net.


Tuesday, July 8, 2003

The poster works ridiculous hours with requests for vacation unanswered (or denied). Sounds like he's in a fairly thankless position at a struggling company.
It's common sense to begin the job search process.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Only question is, when is this poor guy actually going to get time to look for a new job?!

Of course, the real answer is to not allow a job to consume so much of one's time (exception: if you are saving the world from an asteroid strike, please feel free to put in a few extra hours on the weekend, mmm'kay?).  I realise that it's damned hard to push back sometimes - especially in a workplace that have a pervasive deathmarch culture going on. But you need to stop. I've been there and done that myself. Never again.

The only person benefiting from this is your employer. Unless you are getting paid by the hour, or unless you are getting a very substantial DIRECT financial reward (sorry, worthless stock options don't count), then all you'll get from it is a paycheque. So - the principal then, is a "a fair days work for a fair days pay". Quite apart from that, you absolutely need to be able to set aside time for yourself during the week - whether it be to be job hunting or to spend time working on skills that might be useful elsewhere. Think of yourself like a business - and value your time and skills (and development of skills) accordingly.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Computer programmers are considered exempt employees under the FLSA.  They are NOT eligible for overtime.  And it doesn't matter whether they are paid a salary or not.

"Computer-related professionals are exempt.

In recent years, a new exemption category was created under the FLSA to recognize the growing field of computer work - the "computer-related professional" exemption. Under this category, computer-related professionals such as systems analysts, software engineers and programmers are considered exempt employees"

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Not all states allow for that exemption by the way. California for example does not.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Abusive work practices are abusive work practices, exemption or not.

Labor standards can be enforced by the state, and the federal requirements are a minimum, not an absolute. Read that as "the federal gov't does not require overtime for computer professionals; this does not prevent the state from doing so." From that flows the idea that a state labor board can investigate a company for treating its employees like serfs.

And in a downturned economy, I suspect an elected Governor, County Supervisor, or DA wouldn't mind earning some headlines for beating up a company for taking advantage of its workers.

In general, just the hint of an investigation can turn things around.


Tuesday, July 8, 2003

No, it's pretty much the same in California except you have to be making the equivalent of $41.00/hr.

But... you guys think your economy is bad, move out here.  I rarely work overtime but even if I wasn't exempt I wouldn't complain.

Paul Lazier
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Yeah, but states usually follow the mandate set by the feds.  Cali is considered by some to be business-unfriendly, but I like to think of it as worker-friendly.

But for pols there's no sport in going after small biz, which is where the majority of the jobs & violators are.  You can make a name for yourself going after Enron, but if you try to take down Bill's surf shop you're going to damage yourself. 

Paul Lazier
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Work 9 to 5, don't be intimidated; ignore his emails about work hours. Look for another job.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

> Sue for wrongful termination, abusive work conditions, and harassment.

I don't think you can do that just becuase your company wants you to work extra hours. The company I used to work for pretty much demanded that you be available when and where they wanted you.
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

He mailed "us". Do you think it applied to you personally, or was intended for people who needed it? For example, it may have been aimed more towards tech support or sales people for whom there's a good reason to be in during core hours.

Sometimes managers are reasonable. When I worked all night to support a customer on the other side of the world for example, they didn't expect me to be working all day as well.

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, July 8, 2003


> He mailed "us". Do you think it applied to you personally,
> or was intended for people who needed it? For example,
> it may have been aimed more towards ...

"His wife he works here stolled in at 11."

Maybe he's afraid of her and is hoping she'll get it :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

I have worked in california. As a software engineer, I was required to work 7 days a week, 16 hours a day. There was no overtime. I was told if I didn't like it I wourld be fired with cause. I contacted the State Labor board and told them the situation. They told me I was an exempt employee and that unless my total income was less than minimum wage over a 40 hour week, I had no case. So you guys with this $41/hr stuff and employee friendly talk  are just plain wrong. California is the worst place I have ever worked.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

You can't sue because your company asks you to work extra hours. But in most jurisdictions if you refuse, and they fire you, you can sue for wrongful termination. Can't speak for the US unfortunately, and sounds like California may be an exception.

David Clayworth
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Don't talk to the CEO. I have worked for at least 20 different people directly and countless indirectly. Everyone says they have an open door policy, but I've found this to be a rare occurrence. In fact, I was even laid off once because I dared to talk to upper management and make constructive suggestions.

Work your job, perform well, and stay the course. Look for a new job if you're unhappy or talk to your coworkers and conspire to change things for the better.

Tom Fairlie
Tuesday, July 8, 2003


Life is flying by you, it's too short to spend unhappy and is too important to live in fear.

You will feel more self respect if you assertively raise your concerns rather than suffer
in relative silence (resorting to anonymous web boards to vent :D)

Things to keep in mind :

  1 - Whats your outcome ? 

        'The CEO admits people have been treated terribly, the organisation is hypocritical, all the
        credit for recent success lies with the developers, who will now have almost complete autonomy
        and will be swapping salaries with the incompetant management!  Oh, and the CEO's wife has now
        been appointed to be RW's personal assistant'

        Not going to happen.

        'The CEO acknowledges the developers effort has helped this project become a real success. 
        The CEO acknowledges that over the last 3 months the developers have put in a lot of hard work. 
        The CEO offers developers more flexible working hours'.

        Sounds very possible to me.

  2 - start off by describing the positives

        If the CEO is basically being told "send out an email apologising for recent misbehaviour and
        reversing some of your policies, this is of course almost impossible for him to do.

        If the CEO is told about how some of the developer guys are doing a great job and he should
        send out an email congratulating the team on the success or their efforts, this is much easier
        for him to do.  Allow him to be the good guy.

      "Hey Joe, have you got a few minutes ?" 
      "yeah sure"  "I have been thinking about what has been going on over the last 6 months,
        we turned CrazyEddy2000 from a small time application with some real problems into
        somthing really good....  we worked a lot of overtime and that was ok because we were
        all getting satisfaction in seeing the quality improve ...."

  3 - be very specific with your 'complaints', you dont want him to come away with the general idea you
      are unhappy but be quite sure what you want.

      Raise :
        1 - days off 
        2 - flexible working hours
        3 -  suggest he acknowledge the good preformance of somone else.

Use your judgement based on what you know about the CEO. 

I am often suprised that the things that are obvious to me often are not obvious at all to
people higher up the chain, but when you tell them they generally can see it.


Tuesday, July 8, 2003

You should post the mail he sent, and an explaination, widely on the Internet.  Try sending it to's Internal Memos site.

You should also tell your boss that you'll come in at 9 sharp if and only if his wife is also in at 9 sharp and she's under your desk waiting to service you orally.

Mister Fancypants
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

From what you said it sounds like a very small company and using the term CEO might be placing a corporate gloss on what is really a family company.

Family companies suck for their employees on the whole.  The family members always tend to end up treating the employees as servants and not people with rights.  They also sugar that pill by pretending that the company is a family and its such a great place to work.

Why are you working to 3am?

Is it an impossible schedule?
Inadequate resources?
You like working that late?
If you came in at around 9am and left at 3am and back at 9am the next day whatever you do is likely to be gibberish.

If you do talk to him, you may well find that it wasn't you he had in mind when he just said be in on time (it sounded from your post as though it was a general reminder), but if you make a big song and dance he's going to have a problem because if you are obviously treated differently it might undermine whatever it is he's trying to achieve.

On the other hand, he might just be an idiot but that's the least likely reason.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, July 9, 2003

If you are exempt they are not supposed to fire you based on not working a massive amount of hours, because exempt employees time isn't supposed to be tracked like that.  Firing should be based on bad work results, not based on showing face for insufficient hours.

If they fire you for failing to work X number of hours where X>40, you may be able to sue for being wrongly classified as exempt, and collect back pay for overtime you worked in the past.  I am not a lawyer so talk to one about your possibilities.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

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