Tuesday, January 15, 2008


My Team Lead sent a message out today stating that on a regular basis we were going to be receiving a message from him summarizing our metric. This is, of course, nothing new as these updates have been instituted before only to fall by the wayside as they became too much work for managers to maintain. We'll see how long this attempts lasts.

This update has a summary of my instances of tardiness since the beginning of the year. I hadn't paid attention to the very stringent interpretation of the policy that was going into effect wherein being late by 1 minute was going to count as half a point. Being late more than 7 minutes was going to count as a full point. Accumulate 3 points would earn a verbal reprimand. 5 points gets you written up. 7 points and you get sent home for the day to repent you sins and 10 points would get you fired.

Apparently in the two weeks since the beginning of the year I had earned myself 2.5 points and the next occurrence would get me called down on the carpet.

I found it hard to believe that I had been late nearly 25% of the time and so I asked what the time stamps on those infractions actually were.

01/03 7:31AM
01/04 7:32AM
01/07 7:31AM
01/09 7:33AM
01/10 7:33AM

What a reprobate I am! A few minutes here and there and they are waving the big stick. And, even for my walking into work since I broke my hand I'm sitting at my desk typically half an hour before my scheduled start time. Quibbling over those couple of minutes and calling me "tardy" is a bean-counting absurdity.

I've said this numerous times before and no one seems to take it seriously, this is a failure to manage people. There are a few people who are problems. Managers need to deal with those people. Instead, they create metrics and numbers and other nonsense that is insulting to those of us who are doing our jobs well. In the past when I brought up this pattern of behavior, Management claimed that they were "collecting information", implying that they couldn't take any action without a mountain of evidence. But when they use "at-will employment" they are admitting that the numbers they collect don't actually matter.

I think that Managers are really attempting to avoid conflict. . . to avoid actually managing. . . by creating an arithmetic system. No decisions. No judgments. Let the numbers decide. Of course, that will collapse when they have to start disciplining the best employees for infractions that have nothing to do with their job performance.

Oh, they've done this before, too. Made a stink about tardiness and then abandoned it because the rules they set were not workable. Add to that the knowledge that the phone system times are often a few minutes off of the server time and has been that way for years on years. I was about to send an email to my Team Lead pointing this out when the Help Desk Programmer sent this out:

Note there is a time discrepancy between the ACD system time and 'actual' time as referenced to the NIST government time site. Time variance has been measured to be up to one (1) or two (2) minutes.

See? I saw that coming.

But I wasn't sure that was going to be enough. Recall my Handbook blog post a week ago that has the procedure manual including a requirement that everyone actually start 5 minutes early. I wondered if they were going to hold this up to say, "those couple of minutes wouldn't be there if you logged in 5 minutes before your start time like we require you to."

Not too long after the Programmer's message, my Team Lead sent me another message:

Due to the technical issues described, I have removed 4 of the 5 occurrences you have accrued because you very well may have logged in on time.

Pretty much saw that coming too. He went on:

I know that you arrive to work well before your scheduled start time. I suggest logging in earlier and remaining in aux (aux 9 will not affect your availability) until your scheduled start time, just to be on the safe side.

Which isn't quite the "log in early" requirement of the manual. The manual requires that I be logged in and taking calls. In this, he's telling me how to tweak the system so that I can avoid punishment but not requiring that I start early as it is stated in the manual.

And so, the downfall of this policy is underway almost as soon as it was implemented.

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