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National go home from work on time day

November 25th, 2009

It’s striking that we have to declare a special National go Home on Time Day, and also striking (to me anyway) that I have only just found time to blog about it. My own chronic state of overcommitment is more of a personal choice than an imposition from above, but I have to take constant care not to expect a similar overcommitment from the members of my research team. On the whole, Australian bosses and managers are failing in that obligation, or don’t even recognise it. Anyway, knock-off time is coming up soon, so everyone, head for home, beach or pub as the fancy takes you.

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  1. paul walter
    November 25th, 2009 at 15:13 | #1

    The academics at Adelaide uni when I was there, almost to a person , had a strong duty of care ethic toward their students.
    The system relied on this, as it downsized and rationalised away and if you think about it, doesn’t that bespeak of an unsavoury element buried in the mentality of economic rationalism?

  2. Rationalist
    November 25th, 2009 at 15:27 | #2

    I personally think this idea promotes a poor work ethic.

  3. Jim Birch
    November 25th, 2009 at 15:38 | #3

    I see a serious problem here: if everyone knocks off, who will be left to track down Wilson Tuckey with the tranquilliser gun?

  4. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 16:00 | #4

    @paul walter
    Paul – in my experience – I do find that some economic rationalists appear have some compulsion to appear to be working harder than everyone else whilst enjoying it less…or is it just my imagination?

  5. Ken N
    November 25th, 2009 at 16:07 | #5

    “is it just my imagination?”
    Yes, Alice, I’m afraid so.
    In my experience, most people who work hard are doing it because they enjoy the work or the outcome.

  6. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 16:12 | #6

    PS – thats how I know JQ is one (an economic rationalist). He obviously enjoys his work far too much.

  7. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 16:12 | #7

    Ohhhhh… “is” should “isnt” in above post.

  8. Jim Birch
    November 25th, 2009 at 16:22 | #8

    There are also quite a few people who work obsessively because they can’t relax. There’s an interesting anecdote in the stress physiology book “Why zebras don’t get ulcers” about the unusual wear patterns on the chairs in a heart specialist’s waiting room. Read it if you have the time :)

  9. Rationalist
    November 25th, 2009 at 16:25 | #9

    Hide the decline, also.

  10. paul walter
    November 25th, 2009 at 16:28 | #10

    Alice, perhaps the guilt/puritanism thing. Much effort goes into appearing solemn, but the earnestness with swats belies the paralysis of guilt; very unproductive.
    As Ken says, work can be enjoyable and having puritan authority figures running about and getting under the feet of a creative person, is incredibly frustrating when that person is trying to get on with the real job.
    Ps, Alice , JQ is an
    economic rationalist”?
    Are you aware of the enormity and magnitude of such a serious charge?

  11. paul walter
    November 25th, 2009 at 16:31 | #11

    When I was in the workforce, I always preferred, “not bothering to go to work in the first place, having a sickie” days, as an even more advanced idea.

  12. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 17:35 | #12

    @paul walter
    In my direct and immediate experience Paul – puritan authority figures (who tend to be economic rationalists) spend more time watching costs and beating up on everyone else and making work life unenjoyable and miserable…and have not a clue how to really motivate people and get them firing on all four cylinders….how do I know? I have a number of superiors – one like the former and one like the latter..a motivator. The juxtaposition of having two such diametrically opposed superiors is threatening to send me into multiple personality disorder (….if I wasnt intelligent enough to realise the former is really missing something here).

  13. Sarah Palin Fan
    November 25th, 2009 at 17:35 | #13

    To combine the words economic and rationalist as a pejorative (peculiarly Australian), is ridiculous really.
    Hide the decline also.

  14. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 17:39 | #14

    @paul walter
    I corrected that horrible sloppy slip of typography Paul….I meant “isnt” definitely “isnt” NOT “is”

  15. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 17:39 | #15
  16. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 17:49 | #16

    @paul walter
    Paul – there is nothing wrong with that idea but why take a sickie? Why not just ask for a four day week or three day week of thats all you want. Ive always done that (well for the last twenty years) and I reckon I made more money on the two days on my own. Dont ask how..but Ill give you a hint… the real estate market was booming and I hauled rocks and made gardens and painted and did hard physical labour not for any boss and made more than they would have aid me to work seven days a week…..alas its over for now. Did I mind – no – except I appear to have a resume thats odd or strange to the anal workaholic eco rationalists in suits (like one of my superiors).

    Doesnt bother me. I can see their weaknesses but alas they cant always see my strengths.

  17. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:05 | #17

    Why not National Stay at Home Day? However if we do that please make it a Friday or a Monday not a Wednesday.

  18. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:13 | #18

    @paul walter
    Paul – here is another gender aspect to work patterns that eco rationalists cant get their head around. They keep wanting “the best person for the job”. I recently went in to look at the pay equity parliamentary inquiry submissions and what did I see? Submission after submission from companies and private schools saying “oh no we dont want anymore equity reporting requirements…bla bla..because we ALWAYS give the job to the “best person” regardless of sex etc etc”.

    They just dont get it. For women, to really help women and to help pay equity, they need to get their collective heads around the idea of “the best persons (note plural) for the one (note singular) job”

    Until they do that…there is no pay equity for women. Someone has to raise kids and often the primary responsibility for that falls to women (time off to deliver, time off to collect from childcare, time off to collect when ill, time off to be there to get the evening meal when other rationalists are working past their own bedtimes) and women, sad to say, dont have the luxury of being economic rationalists, yet get to be judged unfavourably by them for not being “there” often enough for 7pm meetings.

    I swear, dont start me on this….its a load of bunk.

  19. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:24 | #19

    @TerjeP (say tay-a)
    And Terje – if they make a national “stay at home day” – that is far too boring a title. It should be called a national “go to the beach day”. Its more Australian – it means something unique apart from “lets be efficient economic rationalists all the time” and its something that every time I do it..I think..”I really should do this more often.”

  20. paul walter
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:41 | #20

    Alice. you are being foolish.
    Fancy asking for a merit-based approach!

  21. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:49 | #21

    @paul walter
    Yes – how foolish of me Paul. Its not the best person for the job. Its the best economic rationalist with the most uninterrupted resume for the job (they may be boring unimaginative uncreative risk averse types and they will invariably me male at higher salary levels with a good woman at home).

    Do I have any objections? Yes, because they apply the same standards to women under underneath them that they were judged by and we (women) never get any damn pay equality because the bastards are in charge still.

  22. Alice
    November 25th, 2009 at 18:54 | #22

    It pays not to get worked up about it but some things dont change much. We have flexible communication, flexible technologies but we dont have flexible workforces because those eco rationalists in charge in many firms still lack real flexibility and real creativity. The flexibility is all one way “we will call you” (which means men) not “when, where and how long would you like to work? (suits women more)” Huge difference for women… and they just dont get it. No… “the best person (singular) gets the job (singular).”

  23. Ken N
    November 25th, 2009 at 20:51 | #23

    “In my direct and immediate experience Paul – puritan authority figures (who tend to be economic rationalists) spend more time watching costs and beating up on everyone else and making work life unenjoyable and miserable”
    Alice, I am sorry that you have made such poor choices of workplaces. You should have moved on sooner to a place more compatible with your needs.
    And one rational thing about the employment market is that poor employers do not attract and retain the best people.

  24. nanks
    November 25th, 2009 at 21:18 | #24

    @Ken N

    Where have you been?

  25. a student
    November 26th, 2009 at 01:25 | #25

    I wish I lived at a pub on the beach.

  26. fred
    November 26th, 2009 at 02:54 | #26

    When I was what was charmingly described as a ‘line manager’ I had to actively encourage some of my staff to take what was obviously badly needed time off for that individual on occasion.
    The usual reason for such reluctance was the inconvenience that taking some necesary time off would or could cause for colleagues.
    So I actively organized, with help from said colleagues, to ensure that we had procedures to fully cover any persons absence.
    Of course it was noticeable that person A was willing to do a bit extra for person B when B needed time off, and also B was willing to do a little extra for A similarly.

    But A, as an individual was still unwilling to cause inconvenience, extra temporary work load, when his/her need was involved, h/she whilst seeing the need for others to take time off occasionally and being willing to ‘cover’ for such was still unwilling to take advantage of the group ethos.
    Each of the dozen or so people, me included, thought it was a good idea but was still reluctant to be the person who took time off.
    We sorted it out eventually.
    Bloody work ethic!

    Did I describe that adequately?
    There has to be a jargon phrase which covers it.

  27. fred
    November 26th, 2009 at 03:02 | #27

    Actually come to think of it the extreme example was not in the slightest bit amusing and I blew my stack when I belatedly found out about.
    One of my colleagues, not in my ‘line’ of responsibility, explained her recent stretch of prolonged absence by telling me she had had surgery for cancer.
    She then told me she had delayed the surgery for some time because she was a vital cog in a major project that she was in the middle of when she was diagnosed.
    Our boss, in private consultation when she informed the boss of her situation, had asked her to delay the operation for some time, a couple of weeks I think, so the major project could be completed.
    And she had agreed.
    Duty, loyalty and all that.

  28. Alice
    November 26th, 2009 at 06:28 | #28

    @fred
    Fred – only an economic rationalist could ask for such a delay. Only a bullied or intimidated employee would agree to such a delay.

  29. November 26th, 2009 at 08:13 | #29

    Only an office psychopath would ask for such a delay. Sadly they are not uncommon and tend to accumulate in organisations due to homosociability.

  30. Alice
    November 26th, 2009 at 08:26 | #30

    @Ian Milliss
    You are right Ian.

  31. O6
    November 26th, 2009 at 12:03 | #31

    @19
    Would national go to the beach day be part of national skin cancer awareness week http://www.cancer.org.au/cancersmartlifestyle/SunSmart/nscaw.htm ?

  32. Donald Oats
    November 26th, 2009 at 12:56 | #32

    I would like to support my comrades in this truly grand and rather novel venture of going home on time! If I’d been able to do that several years ago, I wouldn’t now be coming up to the end of my 3rd year of LWOP. It is the business as a whole that sets the parameters for what is appropriate work behaviour and what isn’t, in so far as work intensity and work hours go. I can relate to the stuck on an “important” project, (important to whom? is the question to ask when your health is on the line) and being asked to delay leave for illness. Amazing story, that one, but all too credible.

    I’ll extend my afternoon tea at the coffee shop a to a bit later today, to show solidarity, comrades. Oh, blast! My careless use of words and now the jig is up – I’m obviously a footsoldier in the global AGW conspiracy to take over the world and to install a Communist Government; bwaahahaha!

  33. Alice
    November 26th, 2009 at 20:04 | #33

    @Donald Oats
    Arrrgggghhh…Im still here hard at it at home….Im getting eco-rat cranky DON.

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