Office politics – the working hours

May 29, 2008 10:57 PM

A pencil on a keyboard
protego @ stock.xchng

It’s a common perception that the working hours in Asia are longer. While it’s true for some industries, it isn’t for most of them. For example, it may appear that people leave work late but the truth is that they also arrive later.

And sometimes a lot of time is filled during the day either being idle or being unproductively distracted. Attending meetings where you don’t contribute or learn anything, and having lengthy cigarette or coffee breaks are not uncommon. Even worse (or better if you are a slacker) is when it’s a big corporation and being lost in a sea of people means that no one will notice you being gone for more than 20 minutes at a time.

So I never understood this appearance of working hard but hardly working. I’d rather show up on time, do my work and leave on time. A cousin who had work here and had gone back to Malaysia to become a self-employed boss had to educate his employees thus: I don’t care if you leave early, as long as you’ve finished your tasks for the day, and I don’t want to see you in here late just because you’ve wasted your day doing non-work related stuff.

Meanwhile over here in Oz, in some of my past jobs I’ve struggled to stay occupied and would look at the clock constantly like an anxious school kid waiting to get out of school. With my current job though, it’s the opposite. It gets quite busy and sometimes it’s hard to leave on time because I don’t want to leave things that I can do today till tomorrow, and thus compound my workload the next day.

Though for the sake of work-place harmony, I think I should try to leave on the dot more often. Because while I don’t want to be look like a slacker, I also don’t want to appear to one-up my colleagues by leaving later.

And I’m sure all of the above sounds just like Dilbert or an episode of Seinfeld: you want to look like you are working hard, but not too hard because no one likes a brown-nosing workaholic who makes everyone else look bad. Heh. :mrgreen:

8 thoughts on “Office politics – the working hours

  1. mf

    I will usually leave on the dot cos I hit the gym at 7.30pm.
    Another reason is becos I dun see the need to stay back when I hv done what I am supposed to finish. I nv really believe in staying back late EVERYDAY (occasionlly I do OT only when I hv major events), cos if you wan to finish ALL work, it’s impossible. You can nv nv nv finish everything. 😛

    There should not be an issue to leave on the dot if you have completed what was assigned to you. I hv colleagues who stay back almost every single day, claiming they are v bz, and claiming i dun understd their workload.
    No offense to anyone, but I see tat as inefficiency. OT? EVERYDAY? 🙁

    And yes, i’m slacking now with my breakfast, reading your blog, commenting when I have work to be done.haha.

  2. bunnygoeszen

    I used to work in an office where the execs were expected to leave only after their managers had gone home. I can’t remember the logic though but it was really very silly.

  3. BigZapfer

    Mate this was one of my biggest complaints when we used to work together and one the boss could never get their heads around, and was even more of a pain in retail.

    What different does it make if your not there exactly on the dot, I won’t stuff around and waste your time, I’ll give you the 8 hours your owned if thats what you want but I would rather work hard when we need to and relax when we don’t, I don’ wont to pretend that I’am working hard all the time, cause thats impossible.

    Real business don’t work like that, thats how they stay positive and grow – their realistic about work hours and rules.

    I would rather show you what I have done, not tell you and does it matter if the work is getting done and done well?

    OK rant over 😉

  4. blur ting

    I agree. As long as you finish your work, go home or to the gym. At least you’ll have a more wholesome lifestyle. A happy employee will contribute to the company in more ways than a grumpy and sick one.

  5. mooiness Post author

    mf: yeah I think sometimes it’s more a case of inefficiency than being hard workers.

    bunnygoeszen: It could be that it wasn’t something enforced by the managers, but maybe the execs don’t want to seem less hard-working than the others. So one stays, and then the rest end up staying too. 😉

    BigZapfer: yeah that used to annoy me too. That and the penny-pinching. Heh.

    blur ting: that’s right, but sometimes though the time spent at work is used unfairly to judge an employee’s worth.

  6. girlstar7

    I think you need a job that on one hand stimulates you enough so that you’re not bored and constantly clock-watching but on the other hand, doesn’t take over your whole entire life. Sounds you have found the balance in your current job, so that’s awesome! 🙂

  7. mooiness Post author

    sam: hah! the workload does feel like a bottomless hole sometimes – it never ends!

    girlstar7: it’s an effort to keep the work-life balance but yeah definitely better than being idle and bored out of my mind like before!


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