Tuesday, July 01, 2008

7 AM to 6 PM

So I come back from vacation and it’s summer. When I left it was 65 degrees and now we’re nearing triple digits. That’s not the only thing that has changed since I left.

I decided to go to Big Lots yesterday on 200 South and the whole lot is torn up. And then Smith’s Marketplace is undergoing an extreme store makeover.

But the most significant change I’ve come back to is learning of the Governor’s mandated schedule change for all state employees. I love how I had to read about this in the paper. I thought maybe this was under discussion while I was gone, but no. Everyone either saw it on the news, read it in the paper; their spouse told them they read it in the paper, or they heard it through the grapevine. Thanks Governor Huntsman.

Apparently a survey went out to a random sampling of state employees AFTER the press release asking them how they felt about it. I’m sorry, but isn’t it less far-sighted to ask employees what they think about something BEFORE you tell them they have to do it?

Anyway, I didn’t get this survey. No one asked me how I felt about this new schedule. And I have some thoughts on it. So I found an interviewer who is interested in what I think:

Interviewer: So how do you feel about this new four day work week for employees?

Me: Oh, you mean the ten-hour work day? I think it kinda sucks. I mean, having Fridays off sounds great, but TEN HOURS of work in a row? Four days in a row? I have a hard enough time getting through eight hours half the time.

Interviewer: What’s the purpose of this change?

Me: To save energy I guess. By shutting state buildings down on Fridays, the state can measure how much energy is saved.

Interviewer: But the buildings will be open earlier and later. The energy hours still add up to 40...and aren’t a lot of offices open on Saturdays? Including where you work?

Me: Don’t get me started…

Interviewer: Sorry. So what are the hours you’ll be working?

Me: 7 AM to 6 PM

Interviewer: Is that too early for you?

Me: I don’t know, I’m up for it I guess. I recently started coming in at 8 AM rather than 9 and it hasn’t been too bad. It’s the ten hours in a row that make me tired just thinking about it.

Interviewer: How will this change your morning routine?

Me: Well, I doubt I’ll be able to work out in the mornings now.

Interviewer: So you exercise in the mornings?

Me: No, but I’ve been meaning to for awhile. So now it it’s NEVER going to happen.

Interviewer: So do you think you’ll have people coming in at 7 AM needing your services?

Me: Yeah right. I guess I’ll just check email and voice mail. I’m considering moving all my makeup and hair products to my office and taking care of that here. No one is going to need me at 7 in the morning -- or anyone else in this building for that matter. Maybe 7 AM can be our nap time. After waking up at 5 AM to get ready for work, I'll probably be ready for a nap by the time I get here.

Interviewer: This should help with your commute though, right? You won’t have to fight traffic.

Me: It only takes me about 6 minutes to drive to work in the morning. I’m not fighting any traffic. However, this will put a cramp on my walking to work when it starts to get dark. If I’m heading home at 6 PM instead of 5 PM it will be much darker. I’m not supposed to walk home in the dark – I hear there are bad people out there.

Interviewer: So what about Casual Fridays? Are you going to get to have Casual Thursdays now?

Me: Everyday is Casual Friday for me.

Interviewer: State Government observes all state and federal holidays. A lot of those fall on Fridays…will you just miss out on those hours off?

Me: Apparently we will still get eight hours of holiday and we just take those off during the week.

Interviewer: Some holidays are on Mondays, so you’ll get a four day weekend! That’s awesome.

Me: Yeah, except not really. Just because we get a Monday off doesn’t mean we get the whole day off. We only get 8 hours for each holiday. So I either come in to work for two hours on a holiday, or, work 11 or 12 hours a day during the rest of the week to make up for it. I am not working 11 hours. Not at my desk.

Interviewer: What about Gallery Stroll? That’s on Fridays. Isn’t your gallery open for that?

Me: Yes, we are. Thank you for asking. The upper echelons sure didn’t think to ask about that. Yeah, I don’t know how that will work. I guess we can come in on Friday nights and open the gallery. But if we’re shutting off the heating Thursday nights, man, in the winter it will be cold in this building.

Interviewer: How else does this affect your programs?

Me: Well, we have to completely redo our Traveling Exhibits schedule so we’re not installing or picking up exhibits on Fridays. That’s a huge pain – especially since I have to re-enter all 65 shows in our database with their new schedules.

Interviewer: It sounds to me that you’re kind of against this change.

Me: Yeah, I guess I don’t think it’s the best idea. But mostly, I’m put off by the way it was handled. I don’t like it when people don’t do their research or ask their employees how it might affect them.

Interviewer: Do you have a better idea for saving energy?

Me: Well, at staff meeting today I proposed “Dark Fridays” where none of us turn on our lights. I do that anyway just about every day. As we speak, I’m sitting in the “dark.” I mean, it’s daytime. We have windows. I can see everything just fine. It’s also freezing in here. Turn down the air, geez. Someone else proposed the idea of giving all state employees discounted UTA passes for the bus, frontrunner or TRAX. I mean, U of U students get them, why shouldn’t we?

Interviewer: Is there anyway the four-day work week could be a good idea for you?

Me: Yes. I’m glad you asked. Like I mentioned earlier, a four day work week sounds great. A ten hour day does not. How about we only work 36 hours a week instead of 40? I could handle coming in at 8 and staying until 6. How much more am I really going to get done at 7 AM? I’m a firm believer in being productive and efficient. Someone mentioned a study that proved employees gets the same amount of work done in a 35 hour work week than they do in a 40 hour work week. It’s just a matter of knowing how to handle your work load. I mean, we all have our busy weeks. There are days when I need to work 10 or 11 hours, but those are special events and occasions.

Interviewer: So would you only get paid for 36 hours a week?

Me: No, our hourly rates would have to go up. We’re doing the same amount of work. Pay us the same amount of money. It’s that ridiculous 7 AM hour that seems so unnecessary to me. Who is out and about needing state services that early in the morning? We’re staying till 6 PM isn’t that enough? Think how much energy we’ll save with hundreds of employees only working 36 hours a week instead of 40? No one thought about that did they?


Ang said...

That is NO FUN. I can't believe how poorly the situation was handled. You gained an extra blogging hour...7-8am :)

Maria said...

Ok- I'm probably not the best person to comment on this because I would love, love, love, to only have to work 10 hour work days with a Friday off-oh and Saturday.... and Sunday.

Trust me, it could be worse. And let's be honest here, this really just means more personal time for you at work. You can extend your browsing at Bannana Republic time. :) I realize you would prefer your personal time at your house and without Hunstman making you, but I'm sure you will find ways to fill up the time.

Ilene said...

Four 10s is good for some offices but as you have said, it is not the most practical for you on those days that deliveries have to be made, strolls have to be conducted, etc.

7am is awfully early. 6 is late. I wonder if you could some how mix up your hours so perhaps you work a partial day on Friday or something. I mean, is the governor really watching your office? Of course if you need something to do over your long weekend, take a trip up to Boise. It's really fun here.

Charlotta-love said...

I heard about that on the radio this morning. So, when there is a Monday holiday you have to work the extra 2 hours?! wow... that's not fun.

SRA said...

The energy hours adding up to 40...wow...how hard is that to realize? It's still 40 hours, just reallocated. And the thing about the wintertime and how dark it'll be when you come to work and leave to go home...so many good points you have...(yes, I'm Yoda)

Steph said...

Those Huntsmans are ruining everything for both you and me. I say we start a revolution!

Steph said...

P.S. The interviewing yourself idea was genius

Jergs Family said...

You make some great points - I didn't get how the 10-hour/4 days would help anything either. Hmmm. We'll see about this. Great blog Laura!

Average Joe said...

Holy turd!

How did you get a picture of me sleeping at my desk in a pink shirt!


Alex said...

4 10's would definitely rock for me, but i would only be able to hold that up for about 2 weeks tops. It would get pretty old after that. I can barely get up at 7:30 for work at 8. 7 in the morning every morning? No thanks.

Laura Lee said...

Maria, I actually thought of you thinking "Maria would love this" and then I thought, "wait...she'd end up coming in on Friday anyway." Maybe Casedata is who we have to blame for all the energy suckage seeing how their employees end up working around the clock seven days a week.

Ilene, I would love to work a partial Friday but that would defeat the purpose of saving energy by shutting the building down.

Steph, I'm sorry the Huntsmans are imposing on your life as well. All I can say is I voted for the other guy.

abel said...

I think you hit the nail on the head...how will it save energy if the offices are still open 40 hours a week....

Laura Lee said...

I heard another good one today: They think it will save fuel because employees won't be driving to work on Fridays.

Umm...I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you I sure don't plan on staying cooped up on my day off.

Huntsman was just appointed president of some western state federation and the environment is part one of their initiatives. So Huntsman needs to set an example by using us as pawns in his energy-saving experiment.

Kelly Durham said...

Horrible situation, fabulous post!

Andrea said...

Sorry Grapeviner, I got a direct email from the notorious Dr. Sunwall offical D.B. and he told us they were "minutes away from the announcement". All I have to say as a State Employee, I work Saturdays and Nights so suck on it! I'll decided my schedule.