my manager wants twice-a-day reporting on how I’m spending my time, affair is causing a scandal, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My manager is asking me for twice-a-day reporting on how I’m spending my time

My current manager has started making me do a daily “plan of day” and “end of day report” to send to him. I have to record in an Excel spreadsheet what I plan to do and what I AM doing every hour and send to him daily. The problem I have, is that there are 6 men in my department and he hasn’t asked them to do anything remotely the same. Is this discrimination? I would understand if my performance was bad, but I work my butt off and always have my projects done, plus I go above and beyond to help everyone else with their work.

It’s possible that it’s illegal discrimination based on your sex, but it’s also possible that it’s about something else entirely (a difference in performance that you’re not aware of, a difference in responsibilities, who knows).

Why not start by asking him for some insight into what’s going on? I’d say this to him: “Can you tell me a bit about why you’ve asked me to send you these two daily reports? Do you have concerns about my work or my productivity?” You might hear that he does, and then you can ask for more information to try to get a better understanding of those. But if you don’t get a particularly informative answer, you could say, “My understanding is that I’m the only one in the department being asked to provide this sort of reporting, and I’d really like to understand what’s making you feel you need this kind of oversight over me in particular.”

2. Do I tell a colleague his affair with a much younger woman is causing a scandal?

I represent the products of an internationally known man. This man, who is 69 years old, is openly having an affair with one of the reps who’s 25 years old. Not only that, he is promoting her constantly in social media, helping her to advance her career, and ignoring the rest of the reps, including me. He is posting pictures of her with him all over the world and at his home. Some of his followers have contacted me asking what in the world is going on. Other reps have reached out to me, angry, because he is constantly promoting her. He is getting questions on his social media about the affair and he doesn’t respond.

I’m a 60-year-old woman, and I’m afraid if I talk to him about it, I will come across as the bitter old woman. I’m concerned because I spent a good deal of my money investing into his business to represent him. Frankly, I have followed this man for years, and thought he had sound judgment. Now I don’t think so. His actions are affecting his business and mine. Do I talk to him about it? Or keep my mouth shut because his personal life is private?

What’s your relationship with him like? If he considers you a trusted advisor and you have a lot of standing with him, it could make sense to talk to him about how his actions are being perceived. If that’s not the case, though, it’s pretty unlikely that he’s going to be terribly moved by any conversation you have with him about this. You could certainly try, but I’d simultaneously be thinking about what you want to do if the situation doesn’t change.

3. Couldn’t I just pay my employer’s fine for letting me work off the clock?

I know it is apparently illegal to work off the clock, which is just ridiculous — I should be allowed to do what I want in my free time. I was wondering if a company does get fined and they have to pay the employee their pay from the off-the-clock work, what happens if the employee gives back the money to the company and pays the fine? What happens then?

No sensible employer would allow that, when they’ve already been fined and ordered to pay back-pay.

The reason that the law prohibits working off the clock even if you want to do it is because otherwise it would be too easy for employers to pressure employees who didn’t want to do unpaid work to do it anyway. The only way to avoid that kind of pressure is to make it totally illegal across the board. If you don’t mind doing unpaid work, perhaps you can take solace in the fact by complying with the law, you’re helping to protect other people from being forced into unpaid work that they don’t want to do.

4. My raise still isn’t in my paychecks

I have question about how long it should take an employer to give you a raise. The paperwork was signed by the employee and the manager and HR over a month ago. The raise still does not appear on the paychecks. Last time HR was asked about this, they said they needed time to change the rate of pay in the computer. Again, this was over a month ago and still no raise. What can I do from here? Keep asking them? I feel like this is a big deal even though my rate went up only a dollar.

A week before payroll is next run, contact HR again and say you want to verify that your pay rate will be revised before the next payroll run. If you’re dealing with someone low-level, say this to their boss instead (and explain there’s been a month of delay).

You should also talk to your boss and say this: “Since HR didn’t correct my salary in my last X paychecks, is there anything we can do before next week’s payroll run to ensure it’s correct this time?”

5. I’m going off the grid for a month in the middle of job-searching

I’m about to finish a summer internship and move out of my college apartment, and as I haven’t found a new job or a new apartment yet, I’m looking for a change. I’ve actually decided to go live and work off the grid for a month or so in order to learn about farming, get some writing done, and generally learn how to be alone. I’ve found a few great options not too far from home, and am generally very excited about it.

I have been sending job applications and intend to continue doing so until I leave, with the assumption that I won’t hear back or start the interview process for a while (or, worst case scenario, I will be close enough to home to drive back for an interview, given the opportunity). However, a big part of this for me is to live off the grid for a while—I’ll be accessible via a shared house phone in case of emergency, and will bring my smartphone, but will likely only check it once a week or so when I have internet.

At this point, I’m planning to set up an automatic email response giving a little detail, as well as the shared house phone number for urgent matters. That should work fine for friends and family, but what if a potential job contacts me? Does it look strange to take what is essentially a vacation (although I’m not looking at it that way at all) in the midst of the application process? Particularly considering that it may look like a particularly “hippie” vacation to take? Is taking a few days to respond (or even just generally seeming inaccessible) a huge problem if my automatic email response explains the situation?

The reason I’m applying now is that I’m realistic about how long the process takes, and will really need a job within a short time of getting back, so I’d like to get things started sooner rather than later. Should I just wait to apply until I get back?

If it matters at all, most of the positions I’m applying to are student or post-grad fellowships with start-dates in December or January—I know from experience that many of these due dates are early, but they have very long application wait-times.

It doesn’t look strange to take a vacation while you’re job searching; you’re not required to halt your life just because an employer might get back to you. That said, you do risk losing out on job opportunities if they can’t reach you within a few days; people are likely to assume you’re not interested and move on with other candidates.

Having an auto-reply (as well as an explanatory voicemail message) is a good idea. I wouldn’t go into all the details about going off the grid; just say that you’re away and only checking email weekly. Be aware that some employers won’t want to wait that long; if they’re moving quickly, they may just move on to other people. But some may not mind waiting at all.

As long as you’re okay with that, I don’t think you need to wait until you’re back before you begin applying at all. However, you also mentioned that you’re going to need a job pretty quickly after you return. If that’s the case, this plan might be at odds with achieving that, and it might come down to which is more important to you — having a job pretty quickly or taking the month away.

{ 666 comments… read them below }

  1. Steve G*

    As per #4 – I’ve gotten pretty assertive with HR in past jobs to get the raise retroactive back to approximately the time that the raise was supposed to go into effect. I remember at one job, the company was based in the south, and people earning less than me has already bought homes, and I was living in a 10X11′ room at the time, so I actually reached out to one of the HR ladies via phone and said in a round about way “you know, I don’t mean to be greedy, but I live in a rented room in a bad neighborhood, every extra dollar helps. Not to mention that I’ve worked 10 hours/day to help grow our division,” then that job gave me the two months raise in back-pay the next paycheck.

    I may not word everything perfectly, but when I see “income inequality” in the presidential debates as an issue, I think “no, no, no” such an issue should be grassroots at the employer-employee relationship level, with employees being more up-front about what they need!

    1. Steve G*

      And I forgot to add: don’t feel guilty asking about this.

      It is not the HR/Payroll person’s job to balance the books and worry about whether your raise is big or small, their job is to just process the request.

    2. Saurs*

      but when I see “income inequality” in the presidential debates as an issue, I think “no, no, no” such an issue should be grassroots at the employer-employee relationship level, with employees being more up-front about what they need!

      What? (Ack, etc) why?

      1. BRR*

        That’s how we think but you can’t ask for a salary based on what you need. Should I get paid more for doing the same job as a coworker because I have more in student loans? Should they get paid more because they have two kids and a stay at home spouse?

          1. Bend & Snap*

            I may or may not have a small Italian shoe collection. But I didn’t go to HR to get it ;)

        1. Dianne*

          Believe it or not, it used to be quite legal (and expected) in the 50’s and early 60’s for married men to be paid more than their single colleagues. Many companies automatically gave a raise when a guy got married.

      2. F.*

        You don’t get an increase in pay based on what you need (or think you need), but on the increased value you bring to the company.

      3. AMT*

        Well, clearly the reason poor people don’t make enough is that they never thought to ask for more! Yep. Problem solved.

        1. JustKatie*

          Reminds me of when Romney told students to ask their parents for money if they couldn’t pay for college. Just ask!

          1. James M.*

            I could only interpret him as suggesting that we each ask his parents for a few million $. My folks certainly don’t have that kind of walking around money.

    3. Blue Anne*

      Hrrrm. I’m glad it has worked for you, but personally, I would never imply to an employer that I need my raise to be processed because I have bills, instead of because that’s what was agreed.

      I would also not tell them that they should address “income inequality” by giving me a raise because I need more money, as opposed to because I am worth more to the company than I am currently being paid. (?!)

      And I would strongly advise anyone who asked me for advice against using those tactics. This is negotiating 101 – you don’t walk into your performance review and say “I need more money because I want to move out of my bad neighborhood”, you say “Here is the evidence of all the advanced and valuable work I’ve been doing for you, here’s what I think my pay should be in order to reflect that.”

        1. A Cita*

          You’re user name is killing me. I’m sure you meant it as you’re a super awesome person who hails from the Netherlands.

          But all I read is: Dutch oven + thunder = misjudged fart.

          Sorry, sorry! I’ll bow out now. Please don’t yell at me, Alison!

          1. Dutch Thunder*

            Haha, don’t worry – the nickname started as a joke (though you’ll be pleased to know no farting was involved) and I only use it cause it cracks me up. Might as well be laughing if I’m going to be anonymous!

      1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

        I believe that asking for a raise (or stressing a personal situation at all when discussing pay at work) is something Alison has strongly discouraged in the past as well, and comes under a lot of fire for seeming to be related to the “Well, Johnson has a wife and three kids to feed, and you don’t!” side of things.

        1. UKAnon*

          I *think* (and please correct me if I’m wrong!) that the distinction in Steve G’s case was that he’d already been awarded the bonus, he was just bringing up his personal situation to stress that he needed it to start being paid to him.

          1. Blue Anne*

            Yeah, I think that was the distinction, and in that case (although I wouldn’t do it myself) I can understand why he did. It’s not too far off saying “Look, the delay in reimbursing my expenses is putting a real hole in my budget”, which I have done.

            But he’s also suggesting that we can solve income inequality if employees “are more up-front about what they need” with their employers.

        2. Blue Anne*

          It’s honestly one of the first things I’ve come across in almost any professional/negotiating/personal finance book I’ve read. I can think of 3 it’s definitely mentioned in, off the top of my head. Alison has almost definitely advised not to bring up personal circumstances when angling for a raise as well.

      2. BRR*

        At the very least in Steve’s and the LW’s situation, not moving promptly on a raise (or at least when you said it would be done) is a terrible for employee moral.

      3. AMT*

        I agree with you that these aren’t great pay negotiation tactics, but in terms of trying to get a raise processed in a timely manner (as opposed to asking for a raise in the first place), I do think it’s okay to nudge HR into doing their jobs by saying something like, “Hey, I have bills! Move it!”

      4. danr*

        But Steve G. didn’t ask for a raise on that basis, he asked that HR process the raise that he had gotten. Putting it into personal economic terms got them moving.

        1. Blue Anne*

          Yes. And while I wouldn’t do that myself, I understand why he did. The problem is that he then went on to suggest that we could solve income inequality if people would just make their economic needs clear to their employers. You do not get a raise by saying to your employer “I’m struggling with my house payments.”

          1. Anjum*

            Yes, @ Blue Anne, exactly! Just because the personal pressure story helped him get the back pay in his situation doesn’t mean that’s the answer for all of the country.

      5. TootsNYC*

        Well, i think SteveG was guilting the lady who was dragging her feet. It wasn’t about -whether- he got the raise–it was just whether she was going to move her butt faster to make sure it got to him.
        Because it was going to have a big impact.

        But I don’t think that a retroactive raise is in the power of the HR person or payroll, and I think the raise should be backdated to the date the paperwork was submitted.

        Ask about it, though!

        1. Blue Anne*

          But if employees were more up front with employers about their needs we would solve income inequality?…

          1. JustKatie*

            Sure. Everyone who earns minimum wage just forgot to ask. Simple solution! It’s not like businesses have a vested interest in keeping pay down or anything.

      6. Stranger than fiction*

        I’m hoping what Steve meant by all that is just to speak up and all the rest was just about him making the employer aware that he’s aware others are getting paid way more?

      7. Steve G*

        Good point. It is probably better to say “this is what we agreed” and then let there be silence, instead of giving more information to fill any gap in the conversation.

    4. Violetta*

      I don’t see how income inequality can be solved at a “grassroots” when it’s disproportionally affecting entire demographic groups more than others.

      1. Blue Anne*

        Well you see, if everyone stuck in dead end minimum wage jobs just went to their managers and said “But Boss, I have a family to support”…

        1. Artemesia*

          Thus showing gumption. The money disproportionately goes to the very top because those at the top have the power to make it so. True even when a promised bonus based on productivity and profit increases is scraped off and given to the CEO and thus suddenly the profit margin is not there and so the person promised the bonus is SOL.

        2. Matt F*

          The great philosopher Chris Rock once said:”do you know what they’re trying to tell you when they pay you minimum wage? They’re saying ‘hey! If I could pay you less, I would, but it’s against the law'”.

      2. Steve G*

        But what sort of general approach do you recommend then? You can’t expect the government to dictate pay based on some sort of overlapping set of demographical characteristics.

        1. Violetta*

          Well, obviously. That is not something I would suggest at all. I would look for the candidate who has the best ideas on addressing the causes of income inequality. I.e. someone who gave a hoot about race relations and things like parental leave.

      3. RMRIC0*

        I can think of several ways…

        1) Striking (though this is tough because you’ve gotta eat, scabs, government suppression, a lack of buy-in from others and poor PR brought on by a methodical campaign to discredit unions and organizing)

        2) Revolution (which has the same problem as strikes writ large)

        3) Elections? Though this is shaky since corporations have all the money and it takes all the money to win elections.

    5. hbc*

      “People earning less than me had already bought homes.” That would make me *less* likely to take pity on you. I mean, you deserved the pay for the raise you got, but your failure to use your money to your long-term benefit (or your bad luck in the past, or whatever) isn’t my problem.

      1. A Cita*

        Maybe I’m misremembering, but I thought Steve G lived in NYC. Yeah, it would make sense that folks in the south could by a home when you rent a small room when you’re living in NYC. You don’t live in NYC for the cheap cost of living, large living spaces, and a relaxing subway ride to work. (I know. I live here. Even though my COL would be much cheaper if I relocated to where my work is. Totally worth the tradeoff.)

        1. BRR*

          I believe he does. It’s like how my mother in law was watching house hunters with us and was going on how she can’t imagine how anybody could spend 300k on a house because she lives on a farm in the middle of no where that was in the family and given to her. And how her daughter is saving for a house and they’re crying poor when they’re both engineers and live in a rust belt city where they can get a forever home for under 200k and we live in the mid Atlantic and can barely afford a single family house which would be at the top top of our budget.

          1. LBK*

            Watching House Hunters as a city-dweller makes me want to cry sometimes. “I just don’t think it’s enough for the money,” they say about a 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom house with a lawn and garage that costs less than a 1-bedroom condo here.

            1. BRR*

              I get frustrated too but I also understand there’s differences in costs of living. I want to always tell my mother in law people pay more to live here because it’s a more desirable place to live. I also want to tell her that my salary is far higher than anything in her area.

            2. One of the Sarahs*

              There’s a UK house hunting show, Location Location Location (& the sister-show, Relocation Relocation Relocation) which is full of obnoxious City (of London) types wanting to move to the countryside, wanting a 500 year old cottage with bags of character & original features, then complain it’s too dark/low-ceilinged, or to live in a gorgeous unspoilt village and then complain there’s no transport links… or want transport links and then complain they can hear the motorway when the wind’s in the right direction, & it’s hate-watching all the way, as Kirsty & Phil show them they’re asking for the moon.

              1. Collarbone High*

                The Americans on House Hunters do this too, and it kills me. “I want an original Craftsman house, with dual walk-in closets in the master bedroom.” Yeah, that’s not a thing, because people in 1920 had like three outfits apiece.

                1. Stephanie*

                  Even better is the Americans on House Hunters International who seem shocked, just shocked, they’re not getting a giant house in the middle of some European city.

                2. One of the Sarahs*

                  OMG yes – I want high ceilings and en-suite bathrooms in this Listed C16th cottage (listed = historically significant, have to have permission to structurally change things) – and I want a thatched roof but I want it to be low maintenance….

              2. RMRIC0*

                A friend of mine was visiting her partner’s family in rural Missouri (?) and she commented on Facebook how cheap everything was and it was so tempting to move down there. Of course come the end of teh week she reailzed how much driving it took to get anywhere so while those groceries might be a little cheaper you spend a lot in gas and time to get them.

      2. MegEB*

        I think Steve G’s point was that since his employer was based in the south, the cost of living was much lower than his, since he lived (lives?) in NYC. Which is true. It’s much cheaper to live pretty much anywhere in the US than in NYC.

    6. anonanonanon*

      I may not word everything perfectly, but when I see “income inequality” in the presidential debates as an issue, I think “no, no, no” such an issue should be grassroots at the employer-employee relationship level, with employees being more up-front about what they need!

      In a perfect, utopian world, sure, but telling an employer that you need more money because you have bills to pay or a family to support is not going to go over well. It’s also going to cause more problems if, say, they decide to pay a married employee more than a single employee because they have a “household to support” or if they decide to pay salaries depending on the number of children people have (side note: there’s a perfect quote about this in the season 2 finale of The West Wing). Employees should be paid based on what they bring to their job. Salaries are often unfair and sometimes not enough to cover bills, but it’s not an employer’s fault that someone has student loans, or bought a house they ended up not being able to afford, or has to finance a wedding or a new child.

      It’s part of the presidential debates because there’s tax inequality and federal and state regulations often benefit high income earners over low income earners. Partly because high income earners have become increasingly more and more influential in donating to election campaigns and swaying certain political platforms. (Not that I really expect someone who’s net worth is millions of dollars per year to really understand the plight of the middle or lower classes, but still).

      Besides, someone’s direct boss might sympathize with their employee’s bills, but in most cases there’s not much they can do about it. If you’re working in a large, corporate company, chances are raises and bonuses are set across the board and they’re not going to give someone a raise just because they feel like their living situation demands it.

      1. Beezus*

        I have seen it work at a very entry-level pay scale. I’m not saying it’s the best negotiation tool, but if someone’s a valuable worker, mentioning economic stressors tends to put an urgency on processing a pay increase that wouldn’t be there if it was negotiated as additional pay for additional value. “I can’t make it on 30 hours/week at $10 an hour anymore – I either need a raise, or more hours, or I need to look for another job” is a different negotiating position from “I’ve learned how to do TPS reports and I’ve taken responsibility for small package shipment cost reporting, and I think that’s worth an extra $1 an hour.”

        1. One of the Sarahs*

          The trouble is, it often only works for white men when this happens – for generations, married women were paid less than men because their husband could support them, eg

      2. Steve G*

        There are also a lot of people that seem shy to have conversations they need to have. I wanted to an example of a time when it was OK to push, I think the LW may partially feel like I did before the 1st time I had this conversation – that you are someone asking for more $ than you deserve. Then I realized that’s not the way it was, because the HR person processing my request didn’t care about how much my raise was, they were just sitting on the request, and my boss at the time didn’t care, because the raise was a rain-drop-in-a-bucket increase to the budget. And in that particular instance I felt it did eventually make sense to mention my living situation because their sense of urgency had been so low, and I do think the COL differences were a factor. They probably thought it was just a nice-t0-have increase, meanwhile I was living in a tiny room in an area most people wouldn’t walk through in the middle of the day and was desperate to get into a better place with a tad of privacy.

        My other point about income inequality perhaps wasn’t written correctly (now that I am more awake and alert!), but I do see a tie between alot of the letters here and this topic – I know the majority of the readers here are on the left politically, and fixing inequality is a left issue, but then we occasionally have letters + notes in the open threads about low salaries, low offers, or this situation, and the comments are always “your salary is based on your perceived value, not your expenses,” which is starting to seem counterproductive to me, because a lot of readers must be supporting Dem presidential candidates that want to fix income inequality, but the answer to individual situations where income inequality could be fixed, commenters always write: “your salary is based on your perceived value, not your expenses.” I don’t wholly agree with this. I think perceived value creates a general range, but that doesn’t salaries mean need to be towards the lower end of the range. Also, I think employee expenses do play a factor. Don’t open an office in NY if you want to pay Ohio salaries, for example. Don’t demand experience someone typically has once they are 35+ then want to pay a tad more than entry level. I don’t want to hijack a comment thread about a sidish topic, I just want people to be more clear and assertive about what they need!

        1. kt (lowercase)*

          the answer to individual situations where income inequality could be fixed

          That’s your problem right there. Income inequality cannot be “fixed” on an individual level. It’s a systemic problem. Correct raise-requesting strategy has nothing to do with it.

        2. anonanonanon*

          Also, I think employee expenses do play a factor. Don’t open an office in NY if you want to pay Ohio salaries, for example.

          But my employer doesn’t decide housing costs in the city. It’s not up to them to regulate apartment rent or mortgage prices. The average cost of a one bedroom in my city is around $2,000, but the high cost is because the state decided that there should be no rent control and that there should be more luxury housing instead of affordable housing. That is not my employer’s problem or their fault. If I went to them and said that I need to make $2,000+ a month just to afford my rent and bills, chances are they’d tell me to get a roommate or move to a cheaper location. They wouldn’t suddenly decide to up my salary because I made the choice to live in the city rather than the suburbs.

          Employers should pay a livable wage and employees should be more assertive about their rights, but I don’t think it’s morally right to demand that a employer compensate someone for their financial choices. COL varies by region, but a salary shouldn’t be based on the assets and choices you make outside of the workplace. That implies that someone who bought a house deserves more money than someone renting an apartment because the homeowner has more bills to pay. At that point, you’re starting to pay people based on perceived class and assets and not on their ability to do the job. (For the record, I’m talking about middle class white collar jobs, because these conversations are often about those jobs. Minimum wage salaries and raises are an entirely different conversation.)

          Salaries should be increased for a lot of lower and middle class workers, and corporations and businesses should provide livable wages for employees, but when you start to say you deserve a higher raise over someone else because of issues in your personal life, you’re treading dangerous ground. The high cost of college, houses, living, transportation, and other areas of life are not problems an employer created and they’re not problems they should be forced to fix. It’s something that needs to be fixed by the government.

          Besides, what are you supposed to do every single time you have an unexpected expense come up in your life? Ask your employer to give you a raise? What happens to the other employees? Do they not get a raise? It’s asking an employer to look at the private life of employees and determine how much they’re worth based on their outside lives. Coworker A shouldn’t be paid more money because they have a monthly rent of $2000 and Coworker B has a monthly rent of $1000.

          1. Koko*

            The employer doesn’t decide area housing costs, but they do have to respond to them. If your company is only making enough to pay “Ohio salaries” and you’re based in NYC trying to attract NYC talent, you’re not going to be very successful because people won’t be able to live on your salary. They won’t use it as a negotiating tactic – they just won’t apply or will quickly move on to something better-paying. Some companies do decide to headquarter in more remote areas for exactly this reason. Walmart’s HQ is in Bentonville, AR. That means the salaries they pay their corporate executives go a lot further than if their HQ was in NYC. It’s a trade-off, of course – some talent may not want to live in Bentonville, while some talent may not think the salary they offer was competitive enough by NYC standards.

            1. Another HRPro*

              Exactly. This is how the market plays into wages. A company sets wages to attract talent. If they don’t pay enough (aren’t competitive enough) they won’t be able to hire good talent.

        3. LBK*

          I see what you’re saying – that there appears to be some kind of cognitive dissonance between saying “you get paid what you’re worth” and “people should be getting paid more/paid more equally”. I don’t think you can conflate individual choices with societal averages, though; whether someone is doing a low skill job or doing it poorly, if they’re working a full-time schedule, they should at the very least be making enough to survive. I think that’s just a basic, no-brainer standard that if you work 40 hours and you still can’t pay for basic things like food and shelter, something is wrong and it’s not your work ethic or your ability to negotiate.

          Now, as we move up from minimum wage, I agree with you to an extent that the onus is on you to go after the amount of money you want and/or think you’re worth. But I think this is complicated by a couple factors:

          1) The severe lack of pay transparency and bizarre, almost creepy US culture around never discussing pay makes it really hard to get a good gauge on what your worth really is, particularly within your own company. Even if your company is on the high end of the industry average, you have no way to know if the person next to you is make $10k more for doing the same work since they probably won’t tell you – and if you can’t even get one person to tell you how much they make, good luck trying to identify patterns of wage discrimination based on gender, race, etc.

          2) The state of the economy and the job market puts even more power into the hands of the employers than usual when it comes to negotiating offers and raises. Now, I think it’s better than a lot of people say and that the kind of utilitarian, dictatorial bosses who actually do things like fire anyone who asks for a raise and replace them with someone cheaper are almost mythologically rare. The fears I hear about pushing for more money are, in my view, a little overly dramatic sometimes. But I do think people are more likely to take any job they can get rather than shop themselves around for a good offer, which does nothing to discourage the companies that do lowball their candidates from continuing to do so.

          3) Unconscious biases and socialization that prevent certain groups (most notably women) from being successful at negotiating. We’ve discussed it time and time again, that women are culturally less expected to negotiate so it doesn’t come naturally to them, and many who do are less successful because a woman negotiating is viewed as pushy or greedy vs. a man being viewed as smart and assertive. This ties back to #1 – a good way to overcome these biases would be for pay to be more transparent so that trends in women being paid less than men would be more readily apparent and therefore easy to correct.

          4) Lack of education and opportunity that disproportionately affects certain groups more than others (notably POC). Part of income equality is ensuring equality across different demographics of people, and while to some extent that ties into the unconscious bias part of #3, it’s also a matter of finding ways to get better opportunities for people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to or the education necessary for higher paying positions.

          All of these factors make it a lot more complicated than just going up to your boss and saying “Give me a raise because I deserve it”.

        1. Ad Astra*

          I made the mistake of reading the comments on this post, including several people who’ve apparently never heard of teachers assigning seats.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        “Employees should be paid based on what they bring to their job.”

        I’ll buy that up to a point. But it’s not a large leap to “if you can’t make ends meet on what the job pays then you should not take it”. If all the workers making at or less than 20k per year did not show up for work tomorrow, this country would come to a screeching stand-still.

        Annnndd… we would all be surprised by who did not show up for work, too.

        Over the last economic crisis we have watched employers pile more and more work on less and less people.
        Just as a consumer, if I can not afford something, I must forego it, I think that employers need to think along a similar line. If they cannot afford to pay the help a surviving wage then they should re-think what they are doing. I understand the argument that employers are not responsible for off-spring/out-of-pocket medical/ tuition loans/ and so on. But only carries so far, because if that is such a problem then employers should only hire people who do not have any of those burdens.

        What I am advocating for is a middle ground. A place where people who are doing the lower paying jobs can at least cover their basic bills for the month. We don’t have that here. My friend went into early retirement. She found that she would make more on SS than working. The amount was equal to one week’s pay per month. Yes, she will be getting one more week of pay each month because she is not working. And she does not have the expense of driving 25 miles each way to and from work every day. Social security was never intended to be a pay raise. But I am sure that there are many other people who are doing the same as my friend. Our country needs to find that middle ground.

        1. Steve G*

          I only buy it up to a point to. I saw a piece by Wendy’s today that said they really can only afford to increase pay $1.60 per hour (I think) based on their current profits, employee #s, hours worked – but if nothing else in the budget changed. I feel like it is a cop-out from supporting the increases in minimum wage. I think they need to do the #s different, saying OK, every retail employee is $30K salary, and then redo the budget from there, instead of doing the budget and using whatever is left to go towards retail-level employees….because I just don’t believe that with as busy as their locations are here (lines out the door) + the abysmal pay that their profit is so low on their locations here. I think the article was scare-tactic to discourage lower-income people from pushing for higher pay.

    7. TootsNYC*

      Everywhere I’ve worked, raises were backdated to the date of the form. So the first paycheck with a late raise would be a little bit higher.

  2. themmases*

    A coworker and I were once asked to do super detailed reporting of the way we spent our time. The reason turned out to be a big political mess.

    Because we provided support to many senior people’s individual projects, a site of their competitiveness was who got to use our time and how. This included nasty, unfounded complaining that we didn’t distribute our efforts equitably. We also reported to an admin who was primarily concerned with keeping the budget as tight as possible even when we were bringing in money, and who wanted to demonstrate that we didn’t need more people (we did, badly).

    If the OP wasn’t given a clear, performance or billing related reason they need to do this, that is a bad sign. My situation eventually blew over when the toxic people in question found a new target, but it poisoned the environment for us permanently.

    1. Steve G*

      this reminds me of the job I was fired from for “not being a good long term fit.” They made us do reports like this by the hour, but only submit them maybe biweekly……I “got in trouble” for having my schedule filled 100%, they thought it was impossible to be productive every minute of the day. I was like, should I bake in 3-minute bathroom breaks? WTF. Second, they used the logs to find inefficiencies in the system. My next job respected my opinion and finding such inefficiencies would have been a 2-minute conversation – Billy Bob, Angelina, and Gia all take 10 days to approve new pricing, not 2 days, as prescribed. But noooooo…political company needed months of logs to “prove” the inefficiency.

      (PS I am pissed I was fired from there, but very much relieved!)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        They are still looking for their inefficiencies, no worries there. But, you know, given enough decades, they will figure it out.

        My friend worked for a place that required an hourly report. Everyone grumbled, “Does A go under the X column or the Y column?” She and her cohorts spent hours trying to figure out how to make their activities fit into one of those two columns. Finally the boss said “The correct answer is 75% X and 25% Y.” After this my friend just took 15 minutes at the end of the week to fill out the paper. Sad to say, but someone, somewhere, took that report seriously.

        1. Steve G*

          One of the inefficiencies they solved was having us call – not email – regional Directors to get certain approvals? Well guess what happens when you call a busy director out of the blue and start spitting out #s and customer names? Either they say “email it to me,” or “yeah its fine.” I was then always thinking “what is the point of getting approvals if I’m putting the higher-ups in a position where they can’t/won’t analyze the data going into the approvals I am asking for?” I felt like we replaced on inefficiency (waiting for well-thought-out email approvals) with another (quick phone calls that demanded shot-gun speed thinking).

    2. Another HRPro*

      I wonder why the OP didn’t initially ask the manager. If you have a question about something, it is always best to ask about it. There could be a few reasons that the manager is asking for this information. 1) There is a performance gap, 2) the OP has complained that they don’t have the time to do XYZ and that manager needs to understand what is getting in the way, 3) the manager is having the position evaluated and needs this information as part of a time study (i.e., HR is reviewing the job to determine the appropriate level).

      1. JMegan*

        >>I wonder why the OP didn’t initially ask the manager. If you have a question about something, it is always best to ask about it.

        Yes! This seems to come up a lot around here, and in fact I would give the same answer to #4, the one with the raise that hasn’t come through yet. If something is happening that you don’t understand, or if you’re not getting something you’ve been promised, the first step is always to ask.

        I’d love to see Alison do a post called “Managers are people too, and it’s okay to ask them questions if you don’t understand something!”

      2. Happy Lurker*

        Yes, this. Plus it always helps to know why. Then you feel better about the task and can put more valuable information into it.

      3. themmases*

        I’m wondering that too and I think I probably wasn’t clear in my earlier comment (I was blinded by remembering my work nightmare!).

        Having to keep a really detailed log of your work is time consuming, and potentially stressful and alienating unless you know the reason for it. When this happened to me, even before I knew the reason for it, I found myself wondering if there was a serious problem with my work or time management that people didn’t want to discuss with me yet, second guessing my workflow and whether I could take a break, and feeling undermined that I would have to account for every minute of my time when as far as I knew, I was doing good work. And all those feelings cropped up again and again throughout the day because I was constantly going back to the log. It would be like my boss popping his head in my office every hour to remind me not to check personal email, but refusing to say whether I personally had a time management problem.

        I think unless their hours are billable or they are expecting a time study or something, many people would interpret this request as indicating a problem with their performance. Whether there is a problem or not, it’s unkind and ineffective to not be clear about the reason for this at the outset. I think a good manager would provide as much background as they can for a request like this. They need a clear reason for themselves that this is the best way to get information, given that it maybe alienate the employee and interfere with their actual work. If a manager can’t or won’t do this and has to be asked, I’d consider that a bad sign about their management whatever the reason for the log is.

        1. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

          I thought I was getting in trouble when asked to keep a daily time log, without explanation. With a quick question to my boss, it turns out that they were looking at adding Assistant Director positions for all senior management and were trying to determine where our time was spent.

    3. AMT*

      I really, really want an update on this one. There are so many (potentially entertaining) possibilities here.

    4. Shortie*

      My department was asked to do this once, and we later found out it was because the whole department was being eliminated. The executives wanted to know exactly what we were working on so they could decide whether to stop doing it completely or assign it to someone in a different department.

      If I were the only individual being asked to do this, I would wonder if my position was being considered for elimination or, like Alison said, if there is a performance problem I’m not aware of or something like that. And it could be something as simple as the boss not being as familiar with the OP’s work as with the other employees’ work (attempting to become familiar). I completely agree with the advice to just ask and thought that Alison’s suggested language was good.

    5. AGirlCalledFriday*

      Ooohh, I had to do this once. Working overseas, I have a masters in education and my principal had no experience nor education, aside from teaching English lessons (entirely different from certified teaching). My principal got weirded out that I was more competent than he was and started coming to my room and nitpicking about every little thing…things like, pulling out random notebooks and lecturing me on that student’s penmanship. Then he said he wanted me to send all my lessons to him and he wanted them written out and in detail and it was just….ridiculous. I believe I took it up with the founders and I never had to do it, thank goodness.

  3. Jeanne*

    For #1, I would be very concerned. I don’t know if it’s because you’re a woman. But he is either very unhappy with your performance or he is trying to make your life miserable so you get a new job. Hopefully, if you question him you can figure it out.

    For #2, I wish I could figure out who this is. I’m terrible at it.

    1. Stephanie*

      Ha, I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s curious! (But definitely stay anonymous, OP. :) )

        1. sally*

          He’s 65. (But maybe that detail was changed slightly for anonymity!) Good guess. I’m really curious too.

        2. Hellanon*

          No, sounds like some sort of multi-level marketing deal, with the products being DVDs or seminars, that sort of thing. Tony Robbins?

          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            This was my thought, too, although I couldn’t come up with the name pre-coffee.

            (According to Wikipedia, Tony Robbins is 55, not 69. Back to the drawing board!)

          1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

            I’m glad you said this. I too was/am curious, but I was feeling bad for the OP as this thread got started.

          2. Another HRPro*

            Darn. I totally get not guessing on here, but I’ve been trying to figure out who it is all morning!

    2. KH*

      #1 – I have had to do something similar for poorly performing employees before. But it is part of a performance improvement plan – it is clear to them why they are being micromanaged. There is a bad boss here. Whether this is to address a performance issue or being done for audit trail or whatever reason, employees will be more productive if they understand the value of the things they are being asked to do – especially the more mundane tasks!

  4. Cambridge Comma*

    #5, is there anyone you would trust who would be prepared to keep an eye on your e-mail for you and call you on the emergency phone number if any of the opportunities you were particularly interested in came up?

    1. cv*

      I was thinking this, too. Possibly even setting up a different email address only for job searching and having it forward to a trusted family member or friend who could call you.

    2. Graciosa*

      That would be a nice thing for someone to do, but it seems a little odd to me to abdicate responsibility for your job search to someone else. I’m not sure I’d want to take that on myself – if you forget or miss something (or have an accident that puts you in the hospital for a week!) it would feel as if you had cost someone a job.

      Logically, that isn’t true – there’s no guarantee that the OP would get the job even if the helper had provided notice of the interview – but it would feel that way.

      If the OP wants to take a month off, I think the OP should manage their own communication and live with the consequences.

      1. Judy*

        That is what we used to do back before everyone had email and cell phones. Your resume had a campus address and a home address. You expected your parents to call you wherever you were and give the contact information.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Of course, back then, no one would have thought twice if it took you a week to return the message, either.

      2. Cambridge Comma*

        If the OP asks someone, (s)he should make it easy for them to say no. But I suggested it because I would be more than happy to do it for a close friend.

    3. Stranger than fiction*

      That is a great idea because the group phone may make it sound like she’s in rehab or something

  5. Stephanie*

    #5: Yeah, I wouldn’t go into details about your trip. In job searching terms, a month isn’t *that* long, so if you got some applications out before you left, you’ll probably be fine.

    But I agree that if you need immediate employment upon return, this may be an issue.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      Certainly from my own job hunting experience, a month can go by very quickly with very little happening.

      1. Felicia*

        Last tme we were hiring, we didn’t contact applicants until a month after we posted teh job, which is how long it was up, and in my experience/industry, this was not uncommon.

    2. Monodon monoceros*

      The other thing for OP to consider, though, is the jobs that may be posted while they take a month off from looking. They may see a delayed effect from the month off, where they don’t have a lot of action in the job search later because they have a gap in the applications they sent off.

      I’m not saying they shouldn’t still go off the grid for a while. It all depends on how desperately they will need a job after their month away is over and how difficult they think it might be to find a job. If they can afford to miss some opportunities, then sure, go for it.

  6. Sandy*

    Just to put some hope out there, number one might not be all bad.

    My new boss put in a system like that for me last fall. At first I have to admit I was a bit grumbly about it, especially since I was the only one doing it, but it turned out well in three different ways:

    -the new boss knew that my position was way overburdened. A whole lot of new responsibilities had been added on (and on and on) without any backup. She was later able to come to me and ask me to go through the log and quantify how many hours I had been spending on X. Once she had a few months of hard numbers, she was able to justify to the mothership the need for an additional set of hands. New person starts next week!

    -my senior manager, who has been discussed many many times on this site for her particular brand of inappropriate, had/has a particular hate on for me. The log helped both my new boss and myself argue that no, her treatment of me was undeserved.

    -it gave me personally both ideas for my performance review and confidence and material for a new job search. It’s sometimes hard to remember what awesome things you did back last October, but it’s easy enough to scan the pages and say hey! I forgot about that! That was a really neat thing!

    I don’t have enough info to say that #1’s is a good thing or a bad thing or a discriminatory thing, but there might possibly be a tiny bit of a silver lining in it.

    1. Jennifer*

      I had a similar experience in a past position as well, it was as simple as my boss was just curious about how I spent my time and how many hours I spent on X vs. Y. But he explained that to me when he asked me to start keeping a log.

    2. Sigrid*

      I’ve actually done this kind of thing for myself in the past for just the reasons you outline. It allowed me to see where my inefficiencies were, it was a good record of what I was doing when, it allowed me to present the case that we needed more people, and it gave me traction with my psycho boss.

      That’s not to say that being required to log your hours isn’t possibly a sign of bigger problems, but the simple act can have its uses.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Hmmm…maybe I should start a similar log for myself, just as a self-discipline tool!

        And it might also be a way of calibrating an accurate sense of how long something should/does take to do.

        1. Sigrid*

          You should try it for a couple of days and see how you do! The trick is that you have to be 100% honest in the log. But it lets you see that you’re, for example, spending half an hour on Ask A Manager because you just have to read all the comments when you told yourself it was going to be a five minute break. I don’t do it every day any more — I’m well free of that psycho boss, fortunately, so I don’t *need* to account for every second of my day — but I still spend a day or two logging my time every month, or whenever I feel like I’m slipping in the work:procrastination ratio. It allows me to identify my bad habits and time sinks, and get back on track.

          There’s a few desktop apps that log how long you spend in each application, some of which even break it down by what webpage you were on when your browser is up. That doesn’t work for me, because a lot of my work is not on the computer, but if your work is mostly computer-based, that would be an easy way to do it automatically! I think LifeHacker has a list of the apps somewhere. (LifeHacker has lists for everything.)

          1. OhNo*

            Actually, my job has a time-tracking program installed on every computer in our department. Technically, we only use it to catch hours for certain tasks, but having a list of how long I spend on certain sites/applications everyday is an interesting study.

            The only problem I’ve run into with programs like that is that they don’t give you specific enough details – it will tell me that I was using MS Word for two hours on Monday, but not what document I was in, so looking back I don’t actually know what project I was working on.

            So it’s great for productive vs. nonproductive time comparisons, but not so great for figuring out how much time you spend on specific tasks or projects.

    3. vox de causa*

      I was thinking something like this – if this employee is doing a good job, it might be that the manager is looking for how they are accomplishing so much, so that they can use that to benchmark this position (maybe the other employees are not meeting their goals as well, and the manager is trying to figure out what this person is doing differently/better).

      Or maybe some other employee complained that this person was cutting corners and that’s how she was able to get so much done, and this is the manager’s way of tracking what is done and when, to prove that it’s high performance and not cheating.

        1. vox de causa*

          Not necessarily – if you have one person who is doing much better than the rest of the team, you’d only want their performance tracked, and then coach the others to model it.

    4. Erin*

      This is really good insight.

      It still feels like unfair micromanaging to me, OP#1, and I would gently ask what’s going on as Alison suggested. But if this continues, it’s helpful to remember Sandy’s good points here.

      For one of my jobs I do make a list at the beginning of the shift of what I plan to work on, or I write down what I’m working on as I go along. This system you’re having to do sounds like a better version of what I’m doing. To be fair, no one is checking up on me, and I wouldn’t want them to, but this system does sound like it could have some benefits.

    5. Ad Astra*

      Sounds a lot like a time study to me. Those can be very useful, but it’s odd that the OP hasn’t received an explanation about why she’s keeping such a detailed log of her work and what the goal is.

      I had difficulty with time management in middle school and teachers/counselors often assigned me similar logs to keep track of my assignments. To me, this practice says the manager has concerns about this employee’s time management.

    6. JenGray*

      Thank you everyone for the positive insights on how a log can be a positive thing. At my old job, I had a manager that instead of asking for a log would just grill us long term employees on how we did things. His MO was just to change the way we did everything. He once told my coworker that she had to give him ten (10!) reasons why we did something the way that we did it. It didn’t matter that the organization had been around for 20 years (so pretty much everything had been done a bunch of different ways and this was the way it worked best) or the fact that she had been at the organization for 8 years. Even if she had given him ten reasons why we do something the way we do- it wouldn’t have mattered because he just wanted to change things. I am all for looking at new ways to do things but not for changing things just for the sake of changing them.

      1. Artemesia*

        One of the downsides of being the ‘old hand’ is that you remember when that hare brained idea was tried 10 years ago and why it was abandoned — but new changey types think they just invented it and don’t want to hear about it.

        It is particularly egregious in public education. I have a couple of friends who retired due to the all the hassles of being forced to change methods that were working with their kids to try once again the same old same old ‘new methods’ that come around in cycles of about 15 years.

    7. Mockingjay*

      Could it be that OP #1 is known for detailed notes and observations? That may be why she was asked and not the others. Perhaps the manager is creating a benchmark of performance. Though the manager should have given some sort of background or rationale for the request.

      I have had to do similar logs. They were used to measure performance and staffing levels – did we have enough or too many people to do the job? When the logs were compiled into a monthly report, management could see that Sallie and John got through 6 tasks, but Susie only completed 2 of them. Does Susie need training in the other areas, or is she goofing off? And so on.

    8. SystemsLady*

      Something similar happened to a coworker of mine: the new manager wanted to watch her work for an entire day, and she was afraid he was looking to accuse her of doing unnecessary overtime.

      Turns out they were just trying to get a feel for how many extra jobs she was doing, and who they needed to hire to fill the gaps. And this new manager actually did hire somebody to help!

    9. Silver Backed Godzilla*

      I have a positive story about this situation too! Some time into my first job my manager asked me to let her know each morning what I’d be working on that day. I was really worried they thought it was a low performance issue as well, until she clarified that it was because everyone thought I was so great that people from higher up and other departments were sending her more and more stuff for me to work on, and she wanted to keep track of how much I was being assigned in case it was getting out of hand. So it’s not necessarily a bad sign!

    10. Elizabeth West*

      I wondered if it may not be something like your first point. Maybe the OP’s boss wants to justify hiring some help, or taking some of the stuff off her plate, and he just needs metrics.

  7. Just Visiting*

    Letter #3 makes me intensely sad and angry at the same time. People have fought and died for the right to be paid for their labor, and this person calls such hard-won laws “ridiculous.” I know millennials aren’t exactly steeped in labor history (for obvious reasons), but please think about what you’re saying, OP3.

    1. UKAnon*

      Yeah, I found that pretty mind boggling. OP, even if you have time and space in your life now to work constantly, it will eventually annihilate your health and work won’t always be your main concern.

      Many good employers encourage a healthy work/life balance so your work is of a higher quality, and it’s also a health and safety issue. Other employers would abuse staff if the law wasn’t in place and for those employees it’s a necessary protection.

      Starting a precedent that not only must you work unpaid every hour God sends but that you then have to pay your employer for the privilege of their unpaid beneficence… That’s scary.

      1. Tau*

        My company sat me down on my first day to inform me that they did NOT want people to work overtime except when previously agreed (which was apparently a rare occasion). The reason they gave was that working overtime really muddles the picture as to how much you can get done in X hours, which is something they very much need to know. I’m all in favour of no unpaid work from a worker’s rights perspective, but that made sense to me from a business perspective as well – that if you have an employee who’s putting in unpaid hours, you actually don’t know how much they’d be accomplishing with only the set hours and this can be a real problem. Particularly if they ever quit the unpaid work.

        If this doesn’t ring true to OP, perhaps some headway will be made that a company who’s willing to take advantage of you by letting you work for them for free, illegally, is… probably a company who’s willing to take advantage of you in other ways, too.

        1. I love work*

          I find work fun. I love what I do and it doesn’t ever make me tired. I’m 24 and I want the company to succeed. If I’m working 6-7 days a week that should be my choice.

          1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

            That’s fine for you, but it’s important not to allow companies to overreach because you are in the extreme minority here. Just because you want to doesn’t mean much to the law, who is more concerned that a hundred other companies will be forcing their employees to work sixteen hours and get paid for eight while alleging “they wanted to.”

            1. Charlotte Collins*

              Do people not read Dickens in school anymore…? You can find every argument for labor laws (and against predatory lending) that you need there.

          2. UKAnon*

            Right – until you find that you have overstretched yourself (and trust me, in six months’ time you will go over the cliff edge and be unable to function for a couple of months) and now you have to take time to recover and they are left trying to cover your work at some expense and inconvenience to themselves. That’s why managers control your workloads (or good ones do, anyhow)

              1. UKAnon*

                That doesn’t mean that you can do it indefinitely. Please trust me when I tell you that eventually you will crash and burn, and the longer you’ve been doing it the worse the crash will be. I had to overwork for a while – essentially I was doing 50-60 hour weeks for about six months, non-stop and without any kind of break – and now, a year later, I’m still not back up to full productivity.

                Besides that there are much wider concerns. How are you getting to work? Because working that much you aren’t safe to drive. If you end up killing someone on the road, will it have been worth it for the extra work? What about if you’re so spaced out that you injure a colleague or cause a health and safety breach that gets your company fined? You certainly won’t be doing your best work if you are working this hard, so your company is losing money in the sense that they could be getting far more for the outlay of your wages if you worked less.

                Like anything else in the work world this isn’t just about you and your preferences. Be glad that you work for a good employer who doesn’t let you break the law. Find other channels for your energy and creativity and let yourself do well at your job.

                1. work is the best*

                  i do not find it tough on me. For me this isn’t work. this is what I do for fun. I would rather be doing what I do at work then spending my time laying around at home

                2. Zillah*

                  OP, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’re being serious. If that is indeed the case, the best solution for you is probably to find a volunteer position or a second job; both would be far better for all involved and avoid breaking any laws.

                3. Ezri*

                  You have the right to enjoy work to the point where you want to do it all the time – but the law says you can’t work unpaid, so it’s really not up to you. In your case it is a restriction, but please try to understand that the law is there for a good reason.

                  In an ideal world, people like you could work in your spare time and others would not receive any negative treatment because of it. But we don’t work in an ideal world, and letting some people work for free opens up all kinds of bad doors – what if a company decides it will only hire people who want to work extra unpaid, or claims that it’s workers ‘volunteered’ for free overtime? It’s difficult to moderate and there are a lot of shady businesses that will abuse it, so there’s a law.

                  I recommend you take Zillah’s advice – find a way to do the ‘work’ you love outside of your job. You might be able to volunteer your time at another organization or blog about what you like. There are plenty of options between ‘work’ and ‘laying around at home’.

                4. work is the best*

                  My question tho is if I am paid for the overtime I simply just rip the cheques up, or just close down direct deposit

                5. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I don’t think it’s useful to say that a particular person will eventually crash and burn. Not everyone will (and we don’t know how many hours it is, just that it’s over 40). I mean, if Jane works 40 hours and spend 15 on her house and hobbies, why can’t Sarah work 55 hours and be just as happy?

                  But burn-out isn’t the point; it’s that the law is there to protect other people too, even if the OP doesn’t want this particular protection. It has nothing to do with whether someone will or won’t burn out eventually.

                6. Adonday Veeah*

                  As an employer, I MUST pay you for all hours worked if you are a non-exempt employee. You cannot refuse to accept this. If you work unauthorized overtime I can, and probably will, fire you for it. I’m sorry, but that’s life. Find something else to do with your extra hours.

              2. Dutch Thunder*

                work is the best – you sound like someone who needs his or her own business! I don’t know if you’re the letter writer, but perhaps a side business of your own would let you use that extra energy and love of work in a way that is both productive for you and not a legal risk for the company you work for?

                1. A Non*

                  That’s what I’m thinking too. You’ve clearly got the energy for it, you might find it really rewarding.

                2. Another HRPro*

                  Agreed. It is great to love what you do and want to spend more time doing it. But if that is the case, open your own business and do it for yourself!

                  I understand you want your company to be successful but by trying to work around employment laws you are actually hurting your company. Even if you don’t complain, someone else might.

                3. Elizabeth West*

                  That’s a much better idea than working unpaid overtime. Besides, if your employer lets you work unpaid overtime and gets into trouble, your job could vanish *poof!* just like that.

                4. Not So NewReader*

                  This is a great idea, seriously. Launching a new biz and running it could require 80-90 hour weeks. If you are up for it then you should investigate this.

              3. Chalupa Batman*

                Just my 2 cents here: for much of my 20s I was working in a job I loved, until I found that if I gave an inch, they took a mile. It made me feel good to be the team rockstar, and I was always willing to do what it took to maintain that status because I loved what I was doing. When things got hard for the company, though, instead of being treated as a valuable asset dedicated to helping an organization I cared about come through a rough patch, I was treated as a workhorse and potential fall guy. If I set reasonable boundaries, I wasn’t a team player. Giving nonstop without consideration for yourself feels really noble and even like a great career move when you’re doing it, but if things change, you won’t have given yourself any space to maintain control of your own time. The final straw was when my partner said “They don’t care one bit about what this is doing to you [he wasn’t so nice about it], so why are you allowing yourself to care so much about what they need?” I was making myself physically ill for a job that would always want more, no matter how much I gave. I had some great advocates and opportunities there, but ultimately I left that job feeling like I would be forgotten the next day, and with some damage to boot (maybe not trauma, but I definitely find that I have negative thought patterns that impact me at work now). Yeah, set boundaries to protect the rights of everyone else, but set them for yourself, too. Just because you want to do it now doesn’t mean you aren’t being taken advantage of. Don’t be tricked into thinking that work is the only thing about you that’s worth your time.

                1. JenGray*

                  Thank you for the very good example. I think you bring up a very good point of appreciation and loyalty. Some companies only care about you when you are making them money by selling products, securing contracts, etc. but when push comes to shove they really just consider their employees “a dime a dozen”. This isn’t the best way to run a business because in the end good employees will leave. I hope that most companies are found a middle ground where employees are shown appreciation & loyalty no matter the situation

                2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

                  ^ This.

                  It wasn’t until my body physically gave up (I fainted getting dressed for work and my boyfriend made me go to the ER) that I finally, decided to find a work life balance.

                  And the only reason I did was because when I called my boss to let him know what was going on his only concern was how long he was going to “cover for me,” and none of previous accomplishments mattered.

              4. Colette*

                How would you feel if you were laid off tomorrow? Would it have been worth it?

                How does your productivity change if you only work 40 hours a week? For a lot of people, there’s not a big difference (except if the extra hours are for a short period of time).

                1. work is the best*

                  if i was laid off tomorrow i would just find another job. “would it have been worth it” what do you mean? Working? No i feel i am just doing my job. If i only worked 40 I would feel I am being over paid, I wouldn’t be able to get as much done. I finish all the duties I am expected to do I decide to start working on side projects that can wait.

                2. Ezri*

                  work is the best – I think you have a really positive attitude and a lot of energy. But it sounds like you have a very low opinion of yourself if you think working 40 hours and getting paid 40 hours makes you ‘underpaid’. A job is you selling your services for an agreed upon sum, not you giving everything you possibly can to your employer. If you want to do that it is your choice, not the terms of your compensation.

                  You sound like a very hard-working and conscientious employee, but you have to be cautious with that attitude or you’ll be taken advantage of. Just of curiosity, what is your opinion of your coworkers who work 40 hours a week and then stop? I hope you don’t think less of them for that.

                3. work is the best*

                  My opinion of them is they are doing their job. The way I see it is after 40 hours if you feel you are done enough then that is fine. It would be the people who get to 40 drop everything and leave when that could cause delays in other peoples jobs or projects or what ever. Where I work I am not taken advantage of. They allow me to work it if I want. I simply love what I do and for me its more of a hobby than a job.

              5. Observer*

                Which proves absolutely zero. EVERYONE has their limit, whether they know it or not. Whther it’s 6 months or 6 years, something will have to give – whether it’s your health or your ability to have ANY sort of human relationship or even your finances.

                And, when that DOES happen, do you think that your employer is going to go to all sorts of expense to help you out? Highly unlikely.

                1. Ezri*

                  Not to mention the very disturbing trend in technology companies lately re. hiring young blood (I don’t know how OP is, this is just personal observation). When I graduated I saw more than a few ‘hip’ places snapping up college graduates because they can convince them working 80-hour weeks is good and admirable. But once those workers get older and want to have lives and families, they won’t be able to keep up.

                  A lot of labor problems have been made worse because a subset of the workforce says ‘I can do that’ when it comes to unreasonable demands.

                2. Another HRPro*

                  You really can’t judge other people’s work ethic and comfortable work life balance. Most people would say that I work too many hours. But I am exempt, enjoy my work and am happy with my schedule. Just because 40 hours per week is good for some doesn’t mean that everyone who works more than that will burn out. I’ve been working approx. 60 hours a week for about 20 years and do not suffer from burn-out.

          3. Sarahnova*

            I’m glad for you. But 1) at some point that will change; 2) unless you are exempt from the laws of nature, working constantly will reduce your overall productivity and your ability to be creative and find new solutions.

            (assuming you are OP#3) Your employer has sent you a clear message that they do not want you working off the clock. Perhaps they (wisely) guess that on top of being illegal, you help them to grow the company more by working a reasonable schedule. So your options are 1) find an exempt role where you can work round the clock to your heart’s content if you like or 2) find another way to fill your time.

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Yeah, really. If WITB fails to follow instructions about working off the clock that is insubordination. The fact that WITB does not mind, loves her job, etc has no bearing here. Her instructions were do not work off the clock and if she continues to do so she is vulnerable for a write up or worse. In a few places that I have worked it’s an automatic firing.

          4. jhhj*

            It can be your choice! Start your own company. You can (and sometime should) work all the hours in the week.

            1. BRR*

              Random thought. If you found your own company but pay yourself less than (what will be the new) exemption rate. Is that an exception?

              1. attornaut*

                If you start your own business, you aren’t an employee anymore. Only employees are subject to overtime regulations (and all sorts of other things).

              2. Sarahnova*

                As far as I know, when you found your own company you don’t have to pay yourself a thing unless you feel like it (or more pertinently can afford it). Lots of entrepreneurs don’t pay themselves for months at a time.

                1. simonthegrey*

                  This. We have a small business and we don’t get paid. The business pays for fees and supplies, costuming (which is part of the business) but we don’t earn a wage.

          5. LBK*

            This sounds like a recipe for a burnout. You don’t really sound like you’re willing to listen here, but I would strongly advise that you not do this to yourself long term. You’ll end up wearing yourself out and having to quit because you used up a century’s worth of motivation in a couple years, and it hurts even more when it’s something you used to love that you just can’t get interested in anymore.

          6. Lily in NYC*

            You keep talking about yourself and how you feel and how much you love to work. This is not about you or what you think. It’s about protecting worker’s rights. I often work off the clock, but I just do it and keep my mouth shut about it and no one notices or cares.

            1. MashaKasha*

              Yup. Self-imposed overtime is one thing. Mandatory overtime is another. It’s fine to work 25 hours a day, 8 days a week, as long as one don’t expects the same of his or her coworkers.

          7. LQ*

            You are 24. You haven’t been putting in 7 days a week that long. (Even if you claim you’ve been doing it since you were 14 which would have been super illegal.) If you don’t like lying around the house why are you lying around the house!? Find a hobby that’s as exciting to you as work. You options aren’t work and bad tv. They are work and EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD. Which is awesome.

            I’d highly recommend volunteering to do the kind of work you do for a cause you love. It will be like work without getting paid but also helping people and not hurting others who don’t want to work 7 days a week.

            1. LQ*

              Oh you might have professional associations related to what you do (everything has a professional association) and that might be a great place to put your above the base hours. And will help you a lot going forward.

          8. Erin*

            It’s great you have such enthusiasm and energy for work. For those hours you can’t be working for that company, you could volunteer instead for another cause you really care about. (Which you can then put on your resume and still count as “work.”)

          9. The IT Manager*

            “I love work” is probably a troll. His position is ridiculous. If not a troll and he is the LW, he is someone who wrote in for validation of his opinion instead of any actual advice because he doesn’t want to change. I really see no point in arguing with him because he’s not ready to be convinced.

          10. Ad Astra*

            If you want this company to succeed, don’t put it on the wrong side of the law by working unpaid overtime. Have you talked to your boss or HR about whether your position could be considered exempt?

              1. Elizabeth West*

                If your boss told you that and you are non-exempt and he is not paying you for the overtime, THAT IS ILLEGAL.

                If he gets in trouble, I’m willing to bet you’ll be gone faster than the speed of light. Cutting liabilities, you know.

          11. Cordelia Naismith*

            Part of getting paid means the company is showing they value what you do for them. If you work for free, they won’t value it, and they won’t value you. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s true. The workman is worthy of his hire (or her hire). Take the fact that they want to pay you for your labor as the sign of respect and value that it is, and maybe put your extra energy into a second job or volunteering.

          12. Katy*

            Troll, or incredibly naive. Actually maybe it is naiveté; after all, you think the only options in life are working and not-working (laying around the house). Ah, who am I kidding – troll.

          13. Sue Wilson*

            I want the company to succeed

            Apparently you want the company to succeed so much that you’re willing to get them in trouble with the department of labor, which will make them seem very unsuccessful. Presumably they know how they want to succeed, and maybe that’s not running afoul of the law.

        2. TootsNYC*

          working overtime really muddles the picture as to how much you can get done in X hours, which is something they very much need to know.


          1. azvlr*

            Not only does it muddy the waters for what a person in that role can do, but it can significantly alter expectations of what everyone else is capable of doing.

            Case in point: teachers. Teachers who regularly take papers home to grade or other teacher task that are not directly interacting with students might be viewed as going “above and beyond”, but what they are really doing is making it harder for other teachers to get paid the wages they deserve for the work they do because obviously someone somewhere is willing to do all those tasks that are impossible to do in a reasonable work day because it’s “for the kids”.

            So even if it were legal and YOU enjoy doing it, does not make it the right thing to do. Put your energy into a hobby or volunteer work.

            1. AGirlCalledFriday*

              ….ehhh…it’s not the same thing. When do you suppose a teacher has time to grade/lesson plan/attend meetings and conferences/organize and decorate the classroom/plan the afterschool or weekend activity or event they are forced to do? When you have the kids, you are teaching, but that’s only 60% of the job. There usually isn’t any time during the day to do any of the other things, so you kinda HAVE to do it after school and on weekends because otherwise school wouldn’t happen.

            2. RMRIC0*

              In RE: Teachers

              Between grading and building lesson plans, I don’t know any teacher that doesn’t take home a whole bunch of work after the school day. It’s why I only have half as many friends during the school year.

      2. Chinook*

        “even if you have time and space in your life now to work constantly, it will eventually annihilate your health and work won’t always be your main concern.”

        Early on, when I ran a summer day program, by boss made this exact point when she insisted I not stay and hang out with the kids during my lunch hour (she literally kicked me out of the building). She pointed out that there will be days that I want to have lunch to myself but, if the program got used to me being their to supervise, they will plan to have me there. I told my program leaders the same thing and we were all grateful at some point that summer that we were free to leave for an hour during the day.

    2. "Computer Science"*

      That’s where I’m at, too. If OP 3 is looking for more work to fill up their time, then they’re welcome to find a secondary position or volunteering gig. As a manager, if my employee tried to encourage me to disregard established labour law, I’d start up my red flag factory and see what other regulations my employee doesn’t think are valid.

      You have the right to a work/life balance, OP 3. If you’re looking to do work for free, consider volunteering. Don’t overburden yourself, or create unrealistic expectations for your time commitments with your employer. You’re welcome to do what you want with your time, but disregarding the law or your employer’s desire to operate within it just isn’t acceptable.

          1. Charlotte Collins*

            Yeah – how dare they work to establish the weekend, child labor laws, fair wages, etc.?

          2. Observer*

            Really? I thought you wanted the right to do as you want with your time? Are you really unaware that this is the main thing that labor unions fought for – to keep companies from FORCING people to work more hours that a reasonable person can work for starvation wages?

            You don’t have to be a lover of unions to understand some of this.

            TBH, this is not intended for the OP or “Work is best” (whether they are one and the same or not) because I’m fairly sure this is a troll. But, I’d like this to be seen by others (especially younger readers who may not be aware of typical work norms and issues).

            1. work is the best*

              Do i agree it is wrong for employers to force employees? Yes I do. What do i want to do in my free time? Continue to do my job because I enjoy it, it is a hobby for me and not a job.

              1. LD*

                People often want things that are illegal and/or bad for them or others. Some learn to live within the law. Some make themselves crazy arguing “WHY CAN’T I JUST DO THIS ILLEGAL THING I WANT TO DO?” Some hurt others by ignoring the law. Some pay fines or go to prison. Some get away with ignoring the law. Lots of options available.

              2. AJS*

                If you love your job so much what are you doing wasting valuable potential work time hanging out on AAM?

    3. MK*

      I see no reason to suppose the OP is a millennial; and the usual complaints about millenials don’t usually unclude working too much.

      Bu I agree that the comment was offensive, or at least offensively phrased, and shows a profoundly limited understanding about how the work world is to most people.

    4. Danielle*

      What makes you think OP3 is a millennial? The gotta-do-everything-I-can-for-the-company attitude smells like Baby Boomer to me (a “millennial,” who hates that term). From the letter, there’s exactly zero evidence toward the OP’s age.

      For the love of chocolate, let’s all please stop making assumptions, especially negative ones, about young adults.

      And I second the motion for OP3 volunteer his/her skills with a charity or non-profit.

      1. Blue Anne*

        It sounded like a Baby Boomer to me, too – but I realise that there’s not really any way to know and so it’s just my biases.

      2. Just Visiting*

        I am an (older, right on the cusp) millennial and to me the voice sounded young. It sounded like someone who didn’t have much experience in the working world and had maybe been an (unpaid) intern at one point. I admit that I could be totally wrong about OP3’s age.

        1. Chocolate lover*

          To me, it sounds exactly like my 60 year old father, who would think it’s equally “ridiculous” for telling him to not to work if he wants to.

      3. Lily in NYC*

        I’m pretty sure OP is posting in the comments section here and is 24 years old. If it’s the same person.

        1. Dynamic Beige*

          And if that’s true… being 24 years old with no spouse, no kids, no sick or aging parents to look after (I’m assuming) sure, I can see why they have all kinds of time, energy and think that work is great. Maybe it is. Maybe they have The. Best. Job. Ever. But things change. If they have found a job where work is like play to them, that is completely awesome — not everyone is so lucky. Whether this is their calling and they’ve found an industry that they can grow and thrive in for years to come, only time will tell.

          But one day, they may look up and realise they’re 40 (or some other number) and they can’t remember when they last went on a date. Or all their friends are married and have children. Or they’ve never been to Paris… because all they have is work.

          1. work is the best*

            all of what you listed tho I have no interest in, especially travel i would never pay a dime to travel

            1. Dynamic Beige*

              The one thing that I imagine must be very nice about Accounts Payable and inventory work is that it’s logical and somewhat controllable — at least compared to life which is all kinds of chaotic and messy. Neat rows of numbers, take this from that column and put it in the other, make sure everything balances out. In a way, I can see how that could be soothing. Predictable. Reliable. Math doesn’t lie.

              So if you aren’t a troll… I’m going to give you a suggestion. You need to find a new job at one of the really large accounting firms like Price Waterhouse Cooper. They will be happy to give you a salary and let you work as long as you want without killing yourself, unpaid overtime, the works. They will have tonnes of work for you to do. They may force you to take paid vacation though.

              1. work is the best*

                The company i have work for doesn’t care what I work. I was just strictly curious to others responses but my main question was would I be allowed to reject the “owed wages” and pay the fines that would occur because I can’t do what I want on my free time

                1. Observer*

                  I can’t do what I want on my free time

                  That’s actually not true. You CAN do what you want on your own free time. You just can’t do it for THIS company if they are not willing to pay you for it.

                2. work is the best*

                  I have been told I am not expected to work it but I can if I want. I personally do not want to be paid for it. Not that they aren’t willing to pay me for it

                3. LSP*

                  You can certainly take that extra money and donate it to a charity.

                  Or send it directly to me. Either way is fine.

                4. TootsNYC*

                  I can’t do what I want on my free time

                  You aren’t acting in a vacuum. Your company is affected by your actions, because you are working for them. You are endangering them, legally.

                  Sure, you don’t like the law–but that’s sort of like saying, “I want to speed, and I’ll pay the consequences if I crash. It should be my choice.” There are other people on the road with you. Even if you don’t hit them–your extreme speed is making their drive less safe, more scary.

                  Or maybe, “I shouldn’t have to wear my seatbelt if I don’t want to.” But there are other people on the road with you, and if you end up severely injured because you didn’t, THEY have to live with that knowledge.

                5. Another HRPro*

                  To be crystal clear. You can do anything you want. But your employer would be violating employment laws and they would be liable for back wages and fines. You would not be permitted to pay those fines or to not take the back wages. And if/when your employer gets into trouble over this they will require you to stop working extra hours without getting paid for them. And if you failed to do so, they could terminate you.

                6. Oryx*

                  But you HAVE to be paid for it. That’s what everyone is trying to explain and you seem to not understand. Legally, your job doesn’t have the option to NOT pay you.

                7. Not So NewReader*

                  I suppose you could send back the owed wages and pay the fines. But when DOL finds out, which they will, the job you love will be gone. Then you will have to sit in job interviews and have some type of explanation for what happened. You can’t tell potential employers that you did not follow instructions and that is why you lost the job. They will see you as someone who follows their emotions, rather than follows the rules/instructions.

              2. corporate UK*

                Ooh that is true. In the UK at least, if you go in at management level there’s no overtime. You work the hours required (and these are generally decides by you) and sign away your European Working Directive rights. Even below management you sign that away but you’ll have to submit incorrect time sheets.

            2. A Bug!*

              In my early 20s I had the same general opinion as you. Work’s fun, overtime is easy, why can’t I work extra if I want to? I was making ends meet with a little to spare to go into savings, all my wants were met, and I figured, hey, I don’t [i]need[/i] more, so why be greedy?

              I’m still not married, I have no plans to have children. But in looking back, I see how my manager was more than willing to take advantage of a naive kid in every legal way, so that he could show [i]his[/i] higher-ups how he was able to cut wage spending without sacrificing performance, earning himself raises and bonuses while everyone else was told that there wasn’t any budget for cost-of-living raises for employees. I regret not asserting myself and pressing to be fairly compensated for my work, [i]even though I enjoyed the work[/i]. I could have been doing any number of other things that would have been equally enjoyable and more personally rewarding over time, rather than lining the pockets of people who saw me as a resource to be exploited.

              Bottom line? If your employer values your work, your employer will pay you for that work. If you want to provide free work as a favor to someone, volunteer for a worthy organization, as so many people are suggesting. I’m certain there are plenty of volunteer organizations that would jump at the chance to have a driven, enthusiastic person on their team.

              1. Dynamic Beige*

                I dunno… I have a feeling this OP may have some issue like high-functioning Asbergers. BUT I am not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. I’ve known people like this though who had that condition, who saw things very black and white, I think this and it doesn’t make sense that everyone else says it works this other way because My Logic Is All. Like I said, no armchair diagnosis here… this feeling of arguing against a brick wall is just very familiar.

                1. Observer*

                  I don’t agree. There are a ton of inconsistencies in what he is saying, for one thing. For another, some of his (or her) comments are not particularly Aspergers – like. There is a very big difference between very black and white thinking and problems with social interactions on the one hand, and what this person is saying. And, there is also a big difference between black and white thinking and “my logic is all”. That is not something that is particualr to Aspergers.

                2. Observer*

                  @ridd, you are correct. I really only responded, because I think that there were some assumptions and stereotypes about this condition that were coming into play. But, even if I were wrong and DB were correct in describing the situation and condition, you wold still be right.

                3. Tau*

                  I have Asperger’s and am with ridd (and Observer, FWIW). I’m also, honestly, pretty sick of my disability being used as the go-to fall guy for all antisocial or rude behaviour, as the resulting attitudes and stereotypes make life harder for those of us who have it. Can we not?

      4. neverjaunty*

        Yes. And I have the urge to save this comment for the next time somebody rants about how lazy and undedicated millenials are as workers.

        1. Artemesia*

          They are as a rule pretty internet savy and often enjoy trolling serious oldies on serious sites.

      5. Anna*

        The OP actually gave their age, so nobody is assuming anything. They’re working off stated fact. Besides, it’s sounding more and more like the OP is a troll.

      6. KimPossible*

        I’m a millenial and to me it sounds like some of the Type A personalities I went to grad school with. They all have the mindset that you need to devote your whole life to work to get ahead of the competition and professional success is the only kind of success that matters. It sounds to me like the LW thinks this is the kind of work ethic that should get him promoted and instead he’s suprised that the company isn’t in favor of it. He doesn’t believe the company truly wants him to cut back his hours (it’s just a pesky law they have to deal with) so if he figures out a way to game the system he will look even more valuable. Of course I could be entirely wrong but I am interpreting through the lens of the people I know.

    5. anon17*

      I’m wondering if something else is going on with #3, and they either aren’t able to recognize that issue, or unable to effectively phrase a question more directly related to the issue. If the work they’re doing is more suited to being exempt, I can see frustration at only being able to work “on the clock” if that’s not enough time for them to complete a given task by a given date. In that case, though, the question needs to be “can this deadline be moved/how important is this deadline?” or “what am I doing wrong that I can’t get this done?” Or it’s possible the employer has counseled this person about not working as much unapproved overtime (or declined requests to work overtime), saying that they can’t pay it, and citing these laws as reasons why the employee just can’t work it.

      There really isn’t enough information to be sure, but my hunch is that they’re in some hot water about their time/meeting deadlines, and they’d rather accept essentially lower pay than lose their job — but that should be a question about performance or reasonable deadlines, not labor laws.

      1. Stephanie*

        This I could see. I’m in a nonexempt role that probably should be exempt. But due to the nonexempt status, I’ve got strict hour cut offs and mandatory breaks (this is a desk job primarily), which can be inconvenient and frustrating if I’m in the middle of something.

        But OP, I’d imagine those DOL fines aren’t small. You don’t want to pay those!

        1. AcademiaNut*

          I too was wondering what the fines would be for this sort of thing.

          I would guess that they would be set high enough to make unpaid overtime genuinely risky financially, and therefore would be more than the employee actually makes, even factoring in unpaid overtime reimbursement.

          1. fposte*

            From what I can see, generally they’re the money owed plus the same again; if the employee sues (rather than the DOL taking the action), lawyers’ fees and court costs could be added.

            I don’t know how it works taxwise beyond being sure the IRS still gets a part of that pay whether it came when earned or following a DOL action.

            1. Anna*

              Willing to hazard that whatever it is in Canada, it’s high enough to teach a lesson and if that were to happen, all the supposed good will the OP had socked away in helping the company to grow would quickly evaporate.

      2. I love work*

        I find work fun, that is what calms me down. I meet all my deadlines and never have a problem. I want to put extra time in to help the company who has decided to hire me and pay me. I don’t want to volunteer I want to work extra hours, 40 hours a week is nothing

        1. UKAnon*

          Then there is nothing to stop you taking a second job, volunteering etc. But what happens when you’re working a 90 hour week and so the company asks all of your colleagues to do the same even though none of them can meet that requirement?

              1. work is the best*

                I do mine quiet well. By 5pm I could go home because I have finished what I was supposed to do today but I decide to start working on others things. There is no “end” to my job

                1. Monodon monoceros*

                  The same can be said for many jobs, including mine. But most employers recognise that working unlimited hours is not a long-term bonus for either the employee or the employer.

                2. UKAnon*

                  But you don’t. You really don’t. I hate to be blunt because I’ve overworked myself sometimes for all the wrong reasons so I do understand your thought process to a point, but it seems like you are being deliberately glib about this.

                  Your boss has presumably told you not to work overtime, which is why you are writing for advice. You are not following your boss’ order. Who is doing their job better – the person who does the work they are assigned and follows instructions or the person who doesn’t?

                3. work is the best*

                  My boss hasnt said anything. This is why i asked the question. I have not been told anything about workign to much

                4. College Career Counselor*

                  I think you’re having fun trolling us. That said, if you’re some kind of workplace Übermensch, and working is the only thing that (apparently) brings joy, meaning or satisfaction to your life, I suggest you form your own company. As the owner, you’ll be free to work all the hours on all the days, unfettered by “ridiculous” labor laws (although you’ll have to adhere to them if you ever wind up hiring staff).

                  However, I think you may eventually find that working all the hours all the days doesn’t fulfill you the way it does now.

                5. Creag an Tuire*

                  Alternately, if OP wants to be “on the clock” for a boss 24-7 and keep working without ever worrying about overtime or other “ridiculous” labor laws, I have the perfect job for him.

                  It’s called the Army.

            1. Natalie*

              Maybe it’s time for you to find an exempt position, where you can legally work as much as you want.

              100 years of labor law should be changed and all of your co-workers should find new jobs because you won’t find something within the pre-existing exempt system that meets your needs? Selfish much?

              1. work is the best*

                i just don’t think they should be allowed to be fined for me wanting to work. I also don’t think employers should have to give paid vacation

                1. Natalie*

                  Too bad, that’s how things are. If you are actually a real person who wants to work 100 hours a week, there are options for you in the existing system. Focus your energy on getting one of the those jobs instead.

                2. Observer*

                  No, they should be fines for EXPECTING people to work those kinds of hours. And, although you claim that this is what you want and that your employer is totally not pressuring you, etc. you give yourself away in two ways. One is that you refuse to consider the idea of doing the same thing in two places – and your supposed reason ONLY makes sense in the context of an employer who is sending the message that you SHOULD be doing all of this extra work. Secondly, your statement that any employee who can’t meet such employer imposed expectations should “find another job” proves that this is NOT about free choice about how to spend their time.


                Troll. Seriously, this is a troll. Or… one of the really horrible, horrible managers talked about over the years here has found this haven and is now infiltrating it!

                1. Observer*

                  Actually, I think this is someone who is trying to make people who oppose unions look really, really bad.

                  Either that, or someone who just likes stirring up trouble. I think I’m going to read the rest of his / her comments, but not respond.

                1. LD*

                  That’s called volunteering, not employment, and there are actually laws concerning both activities. You can work for free, just not at the same place where you are already employed for 40 hours as a non-exempt employee. Have your fun working/playing/volunteering somewhere else.

                2. Zillah*

                  @ LD –

                  You can work for free, just not at the same place where you are already employed for 40 hours as a non-exempt employee.

                  I don’t think this is totally accurate. IIRC, employees of non-profits can volunteer their time at their place of employment – there just needs to be a clear distinction between their paid work and their volunteer work.

                3. YaH*

                  So quit your job, let someone else have your position and income and benefits, and then you can volunteer.

                  Assuming you’re not a troll, I find it hard to believe that with your willful obtuseness that you’ll have a job much longer. I have to wonder how clueless you are about other workplace norms and appropriate behavior.

            2. Ezri*

              If you start making this argument, there’s no end to it – this is why we have labor laws in the first place. Why should a business pay 10$ an hour when there are people who will work for $5? Why should they hire people who are only willing to work 40 when there are others willing to work 80? Why should they hire women at all who will just take maternity leave?

              The “maybe you should find another job if you can’t handle it” mentality benefits the young and healthy, and harms everyone else.

              1. work is the best*

                It goes both ways tho, employees are always trying to get more money. Employers are always trying to cut back spending. An employee can job search and do what they want to find a job that would pay them more and give a 2 weeks notice and leave after. An employer is not allowed to fire a person for cheaper.

                1. Who?*

                  Um, yeah, an employer is allowed to fire a person and hire someone cheaper, if they can find someone qualified to do the job who’s willing to accept less pay, or cut a current employee’s pay. It may turn out to be bad business practice if the cheaper employee turns out less good at the job than the person they fired, and the existing employee may quit rather than take a pay cut, but it’s perfectly legal.

                2. Anyonymous*

                  I was the best employee in my department and got laid off because I was making too much money. It certainly does happen. They found people who would work for less.

            3. Observer*

              You’ve just provided a great proof of why the laws exist.

              I thought you are a troll – but I’m beginning to think that you are not just trying to get a rise out of people, but to specifically push an agenda.

              1. Kassy*

                I think not a troll, but not someone genuinely looking for advice either. There have been several great suggestions made on here that OP3 has not responded to. He/she has only responded to the ones that allow for an argument. I have seen “start your own business” several times and have not seen a response to it yet.

        2. Sarahnova*

          Then you need to find a second job – your current employer has made it clear that they don’t want you working off the clock.

          Your saying that work “calms me down” also intrigues me somewhat. Could you elaborate?

          1. work is the best*

            i work in accounts payable and inventory control. I find it relaxing to work. You all may hate that it takes up your time. I don’t enjoy going out that much or partying or what ever. I enjoy working and that is my hobby

            1. LadyTL*

              What is going on outside of work doesn’t have to be partying or going out. When I worked 50 hrs a week days off and home time was things like doing laundry, being able to spend time with my spouse, having some time where I didn’t have to perform like a dancing monkey for someone, getting groceries and other basic needs.

              It’s not that people hate that work takes up time, it’s that people NEED time to having a life other than work.

              1. work is the best*

                I am able to work out 3 times a week, play hockey, do groceries and laundry and lay down and relax also.

                1. W*

                  If you set yourself up as freelance/own business (even on the side as you say you enjoy it) you could work as many hours as you want.

                2. SystemsLady*

                  And your house is sparkling clean, and you eat a healthy meal three times a day, and… Sure.

            2. Colette*

              I find it disturbing that you think anyone who doesn’t want to send a lot of unpaid time working hates work. It is possible to love what you do and also love your life outside of work – and it’s also possible to get laid off or fired (possibly for working unapproved overtime) from a job you love.

              1. work is the best*

                You all can decide to work the 40 hours or whatever and have a life outside work . I have a life outside work but I would like to be able to do just what you guys all can. Do what I want after the 40 hours or what ever. I want to be able to continue to work and not have to even think of a possible fine.

                1. Ezri*

                  There are people who’d like to run around naked or steal stuff or set of fireworks in public, but those things are restricted by law in most places as well. Sometimes the law blocks you from doing what you want to do.

                  I can respect the disappointment of not being allowed to do something you want to do, but I think people are getting irritated because you act like we are exercising some right you are denied because we choose not to work all the time. Everyone has restrictions in their lives that sometimes prevent them from doing things they’d like. Some people have kids, so they can’t go out in the evening as often. Some people want to travel and can’t afford it.

                  Commenters here have given you plenty of suggestions to channel your ‘work’ energy into other productive things. But w/ regards to your question, no, there’s no way for you to work unpaid overtime without breaking the law. That’s really the end of the discussion.

            1. Joline*

              I’m not sure if it’s been clarified yet what’s going to happen with designation unification.

              In the past CAs were exempt from the overtime provisions in at least several provinces. I’m not sure if I’ve heard if going forward (I’m CGA and in a union position where I get OT at the moment) all accountants will be OT exempt or none of them, but I’m assuming they’ll have to standardize. Whatever happens it’s really going to throw out pay scales in a lot of places.

        3. ImprovForCats*

          You realize people are suggesting you volunteer to do the work you already claim is fun, relaxing, and you would prefer to do for free, don’t you? Volunteer your professional services, specifically What is so wonderful about your company that you would completely reject doing the same work you adore so much for some organization that could really use the help?

        4. Not So NewReader*

          “I find work fun, that is what calms me down. ”

          Don’t answer here. But you may need to figure out why you need help calming down.

      3. I'm a Little Teapot*

        Yeah, I’ve been in nonexempt jobs where getting all the work done required working off the clock too. I worked off the clock on the sly because I was afraid of losing my job if I didn’t – but this is a bad situation, not something I’d have chosen because “work is the best!”

    6. Blue Anne*

      Oh for…. I completely agree, but could we maybe quit it with the “This person seems clueless about important things, they must be a millenial” stereotyping?

      1. Just Visiting*

        Fair enough, but I’m an older millennial and it was a gut reaction based on the question’s phrasing. A lot of people 5-10 years younger than me have very off-base notions about work, they believe that their employer is doing them a favor by keeping them on or that work should be a “learning experience,” instead of labor traded for cash/benefits. I’m totally willing to admit that I could be wrong about their age, this cluelessness isn’t restricted to millennials (and it’s not a person’s fault for being clueless, it’s something instilled in them by the owning class).

        1. Blue Anne*

          I am also an older millenial, and that does not make it acceptable for me to stereotype millenials any more than it makes it acceptable for me to stereotype baby boomers.

          If we’re speaking purely in anecdata, my experience with people my age and younger is pretty much the opposite of yours. They are almost entirely very hardworking young people who are realistic about the labor market and their current place in it.

          So let’s just try to avoid the stereotypes? Everyone has gut reactions but assuming they’re correct is a problem.

            1. Blue Anne*

              Yeah, I’ve now found that in the comments. Still doesn’t justify the stereotyping, though.

            2. SystemsLady*

              I’m 24, too, and most of my cohorts older and younger (even the single ones) would find this completely ridiculous.

            3. Honeybee*

              Yes, but people made the assumption before the OP stated their age, and have made this assumption and others like it in previous threads. There are also tons of hand-wringing articles all over the Internet like it. It’s quite irritating (and often inaccurate).

        2. Blue_eyes*

          I would think that people 5-10 years younger than you are simply young adults who are still learning about the work world. That has nothing to do with their generation. Younger workers are always going to have a higher proportion of “clueless” among them because their less experienced.

        3. Honeybee*

          That is youth, not some sort of generational dysfunction. Most people in their early 20s feel grateful for the opportunity to enter the workforce – the Boomers and the Xers probably felt it when they were in their early 20s, and so did the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation. Often younger people misplace that gratefulness or have expectations about the labor force that are corrected when they get more experience.

    7. Elysian*

      Other people are saying it, but I feel so strongly about this I feel the need to say it again, in one post, all at the same time.

      This is bad for you. Eventually you will not want to work 70 hours a week, and once you set the expectation that you will, it is so hard to go back. You can’t go back. But one day you’ll have something worth staying home for – dog, spouse, hobby, whatever – and you won’t be able to pull back. This will also be bad for your health. Our bodies just aren’t meant to work this much, and even if your work isn’t physically demanding, it still takes its toll. On some of us faster than others, but on everyone eventually. Working for free also drags down your hourly rate. At some point you’ll want or need a raise or more money, and if you’re willing work for free, why would anyone ever give it to you? You’ll never be able to get the house/car/keep up with the cost of living/afford to pay for services you can’t do for yourself when you’re working so much because everyone will know you think your time is work nothing. You’ll also get less productive over time. Trust me, after a few 70-80 hour weeks, you’ll NEED to work 60 hours to do what you used to be able to do in 40 because you’ll be so strung out.

      This is bad for your coworkers. It sets the expectation that everyone will work for free, and maybe that seems good when you’re on top, but you won’t always be on top. What if you decide 70 is what you can do, and someone else does 90? You’ll look like a slacker, and you’ll need to work harder to keep up. You can’t do that forever. Your coworkers can’t do that forever. It’s a downward spiral.

      This is bad for your company. They’ll never know how much it actually costs in the marketplace for labor to accomplish the amount of work they need done. They may plan razor thin margins and can only meet them because you’re kicking your own butt working twice what you were hired to work. When you get hit by a bus, they’ll need to hire two people to replace you, and they might not expect that. Or they’ll start expecting everyone to perform like you, which is worse because those people will quit or get sick trying to keep up. You’re not doing your company any favors.

      This is bad for the economy. If people work for free, they don’t have money to buy things – both essential things like food and housing, and non-essential things like birthday gifts and fancy cars. They end up living with their parents forever because they can’t afford rent, or living on the streets or in a shelter. We have to expend more public money on social welfare systems and healthcare to care for all the people working for free, and we won’t have the money to spend because no one will be earning money on which to pay taxes. We’ll also need to hire half as many workers, so twice as many people will be employed at all.

      So the labor laws are there to protect you. They’re also there because its not all about you.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          I agree. A huge part of the work world is being able to see other people’s perspectives. WITB is not able to do that.
          Nor is she able to separate her emotions out of the question. This has nothing to do with “loving” or “feeling”.
          WIBT, employers want employees that are able to follow instructions and not allow their emotions to guide their actions. These are some of the basic skills necessary to hold a job.

      1. kt (lowercase)*

        Standing ovation.

        And the paragraph about the economy is… kind of a tragic description of the actual economy. Especially, since we’re on the subject, for millennials.

    8. Ad Astra*

      I was with you until you assumed this person was a millennial and implied that all millennials think labor laws are ridiculous. :(

      1. themmases*

        Yeah, I find this theme in the thread that millenials do not understand or value labor laws ridiculous.

        Millenials are overwhelmingly not the people in management creating positions like unpaid internships or roles that are so overburdened people feel pressured to work 6 days a week. Sure, millenials are taking these jobs– we have rent to pay. What generations are the people *creating* them from?

        1. ridd*

          As a millennial, I look forward to the day I can join a union. Don’t know when/if that’ll be. I thought I was eligible for union membership at my current job, but I’m not. :(

        2. Honeybee*

          +1 billion. We’re not in positions of power to create the so-called “1099 economy.” We’re working these jobs because we have to and have few choices because of our relative youth and lack of power in the economy.

    9. OriginalEmma*

      Millennial chiming in…I read Dickens, I read The Jungle, I learned about the muckrakers, How the Other Half Lives, etc. The labor movement was very well covered in my American history courses.

    10. Honeybee*

      Don’t blame millennials. I know a lot about labor history, and my dad is in a union, and I feel very strongly about labor law. I’m 29. I have lots of friends in my age group who do. Opposition to labor rights – like many traits ascribed to millennials – spans age groups and generations.

  8. Knitting Cat Lady*

    Why do you want to work off the clock? Without getting payed, no less. I could understand if it was off the books…

    Over here, workers are insured by their employers while working and on their way to work. In case there is an accident. This doesn’t apply when working off the clock. No idea if the US has something similar.

    1. I love work*

      I’m from Canada. Because the employer is nice enough to pay me I can work a few hours for free. Even tho I work an extra 30 a week because it’s fun to work. If I get hurt that’s my own fault I don’t care

      1. StarHopper*

        That’s not how this works, but it seems you are determined to not listen to the good advice of Alison and many others here. Companies are not “nice” to pay you. You have something they require, and they ought to pay you for it. Any company willing to overlook 30 hours a week in unpaid overtime is not a good company to work for. And if it IS a good company, you are risking the job you love so much by working overtime without authorization.

          1. Former Diet Coke Addict*

            Regardless of your personal feelings, your employer cannot and should not circumvent the law just for you. To put it baldly, the fines and trouble the Ministry of Labour will bring down on them are far more important to them than your feelings on thr matter. How can they know you won’t turn around in three months and file a wage claim? They should be far more worried about that than keeping one employee happy.

            1. work is the best*

              They know i would never do that because that “wage claim” shouldnt even exist and I would pay all fines the ministry would put on them

              1. Natalie*

                How on earth would be book the money you gave them? There’s no account in their GL for “fines our employee paid on our behalf”. It wouldn’t surprise me if its actually illegal for them to accept that money anyway.

                1. work is the best*

                  i also don’t have to accept the money. i could cancel the direct deposit so i would never receive the back pay.

                2. Natalie*

                  That doesn’t address the fine, so they’d still be on the hook for that.

                  For someone who works so much you sure have a lot of time to talk here…

                3. work is the best*

                  could easily just give the money to the owner and they can put it into the company as money going into the company

                4. Dynamic Beige*

                  could easily just give the money to the owner and they can put it into the company as money going into the company

                  Wow. Are you independently wealthy? Did you win the lottery or have super rich parents or something? If you’re 24, work two jobs, own a house, have no student debt and don’t need money, you should write a freakin’ book on how you did it (unless you have won the lottery or have super rich parents, because not everyone has that leg up in life)

                5. HRChick*

                  You could not cancel the direct deposit and still work. You’d be a huge legal liability. And very weird.

                6. Ezri*

                  Yeah, getting paid is not something you ‘opt out’ of. It’s not about what you want, it’s about the company complying with the law. If they don’t transfer money to you for time you worked, they are putting themselves in legal hot water. If you refuse to accept payment, then you are the cause of it and they can fire you for it.

              2. public servant, so maybe I shouldn't comment...*

                But honestly, you sound more than a bit weird. No one else loves their job that much. Especially, not to put too fine a point on it, when their job is A/P and not saving children’s lives or putting people on the moon. If you were my employee, I might be more worried about your inevitable breakdown than about labour laws. Because someone who loves their job that much, that they would cut their wage in half and offer to pay tens of thousands in fines to boot in order to do that, might also be a person who punches someone who overrules them or lies down on the floor in hysterics after someone makes a different decision than they would have.

                1. work is the best*

                  people can do what ever they want i don’t get mad, I don’t work for the money exactly i work because it is fun for me and i enjoy it.

                2. the_scientist*

                  At this point, I’m 100% convinced that this is pure trolling, but you’re absolutely right that if there was a real person like this employed somewhere they’d be a huge liability for the reasons you just mentioned.

                  Also the MOL won’t just be like “sure, yes, random person. We’ll let you pay those fines that your company accrued for breaking the law. Seems legit.”

                3. public servant, so maybe I shouldn't comment...*

                  Agreed on the trolling, it’s actually kind of a funny take on the “but you don’t work for MONEY, do you?” attitude among employers.

                4. work is the best*

                  im not a troll 100% i work becasue for me it is fun and being paid is the bonus and I am able to live.

                5. kt (lowercase)*

                  Then get a second job. Better yet, a volunteer gig, since you’re so averse to getting paid. I’m sure there are many organizations that would be very grateful for some free accounting services.

                  Also, it’s the middle of the work day anywhere you might be in Canada. Maybe you should quit arguing with strangers on the Internet and get back to work.

                6. Not So NewReader*

                  @WITB- You keep saying the same thing over and over. Are you reading and thinking about what people are saying here? Or are you just typing in the same sentences over and over?

                  People are spending a lot of time trying to help you. Do as you wish, obviously. But you have been warned that it may not play out well for you.

              3. Bertie*

                Even if you want to work for free and are willing to shoulder the cost of any fines levied on your company if they allow you to flaunt labor laws, perhaps you should consider how you doing so would harm your company’s professional reputation. You asking them to break the law puts them in a very awkward position.

              4. Beth*

                I am in Canada too and there are consequences for your employer beyond fines – this creates work for other people (that may be unwanted) and can damage the public and private reputation of the employer (which can make it hard to retain good staff and to attract new staff). I love work also, and there are lots of benefits to becoming a contractor in your field for evenings and weekends – you can deduct part of your rent from your taxes for instance which frees up money to order food or pay for a faster commute to create more time to work. You can also use the money to help others in need, or if you have some time to spare perhaps you could volunteer at a career centre. I believe you mentioned inventory and quality control – I work in a non-profit and volunteers with those skills and with lots of time and energy are in high demand and much needed in some communities. Working as a volunteer not only helps keep you busy it can create opportunities for new and interesting paid or unpaid work in the future.

          2. Nashira*

            Look, it’s nice to want things, but there are honestly a lot of good reasons why your company doesn’t want you to work almost two FTEs, and why it’s bad for your long term situation and that of other people. Please don’t encourage a return to the bad old days when employers could be as predatory and abusive in their demands as they wanted. It’s bad for everybody else, even if you refuse to see how it would be bad for you.

            People aren’t saying these things because we’re lazy. It’s because of experience across a wide variety of situations.

          3. Anyonymous*

            Then just volunteer doing it somewhere else! Do your 40 here and go do it for free somewhere else. The law does not allow you to work free overtime. You can go ’round in circles all day complaining about it, but Alison gave you an answer. You can’t do it because it’s illegal. The end. If you want it to be legal, perhaps channel your energy into lobbying for unpaid overtime.

          4. Just Visiting*

            Why can’t you just donate the “extra” money to a charity? (And why am I arguing with an obvious troll?)

      2. Henrietta Gondorf*

        Oye. I don’t doubt that your heart is in the right place here, but this is (a) unsustainable and (b) making me really concerned about how you’re approaching your professional life. Being paid for your labor shouldn’t be treated as your employer doing you a kindness; it’s appropriate compensation for your efforts. If you love having your time occupied, there are tons of avenues for that which do not involve dragging your employer (whom you profess to love) into a legal disaster.

          1. Milkcrate*

            That got cut off.

            You may love work and want to do it for free. You may not care if you get hurt.

            But your employer cares. They care VERY, VERY, MUCH. And they don’t want you doing something illegal or burning out. You may think it’s ridiculous, but deal with it. Compliance on this is mandatory.

            Can you find a second job to fill the time? Perhaps a volunteer role?

              1. LBK*

                So wait, you work two jobs, you work 80-90 hours at your first job, you play hockey twice a week and you still have time to do everything else you need to do as a person?

                I’m finding this really hard to believe. We’re running out of hours at this point unless you don’t sleep.

                1. I'm a Little Teapot*

                  Yeah, I call bullshit too. Either dim-witted market-worshiping right-winger making up a character to support abhorrent views, totally lying, or just some chucklehead who ought to go back to the troll imageboards where he belongs.

                2. Hellanon*

                  +1 on the trolling. Who cuts their hourly rate effectively in half just for the lulz? Even start-up monkeys working 100 hours a week see it as an investment because they all secretly plan to sell their product to Google for bazillions of dollars….

                3. work is the best*

                  im not cutting my rate in half for the “lulz” I dont see it as cutting my wage whether or not I am. I am working extra because it is fun. I don’t believe they should have to pay me over 40 hours. I am not a troll

      3. Sarahnova*

        Okay, seriously, you are coming off as having lost touch with reality in a way which is going to bite you royally at some point.

        Your employer wants to pay you appropriate wages for time worked and to have insurance to cover them if you become hurt or ill in the course of their work. If you want something radically different, you are going to have to find another job. But you are cruising to hurt yourself, and right-thinking people will notice that and want no part of it, and in short order you will attract wrong-thinking people and you may hurt yourself and others in ways that you can’t contemplate right now.

        Take some time out and chill. There is something seriously off here. If you love your work so much, develop a hobby that presses the same buttons and do that in your free time. How much you NEED TO WORK is strongly suggesting to me that there’s something weird going on in your psyche here.

          1. work is the best*

            i dont care because it is my choice to work. I am not a troll I find work as my hobby and i want to do it as much as possible. I find employees have way to many rights.

            1. Sigrid*

              “I find employees have way too many rights” and we’re not supposed to think you’re a troll? Yeah right.

              1. work is the best*

                why should an employer have to pay for you to take vacation? they already pay you to work and now to not work to? An employee is allowed to job search and do what they want to try and find a job that pays more, yet it is considered wrong for an employer to fire you for someone who is cheaper? As an employee I find that I can get way to much at the expense of an employer

                1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

                  1) Because employees that take vacations are better employees. But more than that, employees are humans. It’s true that many employers would prefer robot employees to humans – they don’t need to eat lunch, they don’t get sick, they don’t have grandmas who die at inconvenient times, they don’t hope for promotions. But humans are living beings, alas.

                  2) Re: getting fired and replaced with someone cheaper. Um, what? This happens all the time. That’s what a layoff is.

                2. Chinook*

                  “why should an employer have to pay for you to take vacation?”

                  Simple – because it is the law in Canada in every province and territory. You can argue about the morality of it all you want but if you want that to change, feel free to contact your local MLA, MPP or MP. In the meantime, breaking a law is a grounds for being fired. This should be a good enough reason not to do it if you like your job.

            2. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

              Taking you at your word that you’re not trolling…

              This is the disconnect I don’t understand: your hobby, and other people’s rights.

              You consider work your hobby and want to do it as much as possible. Totally understandable. I feel the same way about reading, and if my job were to read I would totally want to do it beyond the hours I was required to do so.

              … but why does that mean that works have too many rights? You can very easily get a job that allows you to work more hours. (If Canadian labor laws don’t allow that, you can work for an American company, start your own business, become a freelancer/consultant, etc.) Your rights to do so are only constrained at the one type of workplace you have chosen. Everyone’s rights needn’t be adjusted to improve your worklife and life.

            3. Creag an Tuire*

              Mr. Prime Minister, shouldn’t you be out trying to win re-election instead of trolling an American website? Little wonder the NDP is kicking your ass.

              1. Book Person*

                ACTUAL, AWKWARD, LAUGHING ALOUD IN MY OFFICE. Maybe he has a lot of downtime between robocalls.

      4. Cordelia Longfellow*

        Also from Canada, and while you may not care if you get hurt, your employer and Workers Comp definitely do! Labour laws are there for many reasons, and I understand what it’s like to love your job so much you would do it for free. But it’s not a good idea, because that way lies burnout. Plus, from the employer’s perspective, you’re not actually helping in the long run. One day you will get promoted or move to a different job, and you’re employers are going to (a) have completely unrealistic (and illegal) expectations of your replacement, or (b) have to hire two people to replace you, which can be a real hassle if that requires a business case that amounts to “well, the last person did a bunch of work for free.”

        It may also help to remember that your time and your work has (monetary) value, and you deserve that. Don’t de-value your own work. If you don’t want to get a second job or volunteer, maybe instead take a course or learn a new skill that will help you at work. Any of these options are better than working for free illegally.

      5. Allison*

        do you work an extra 30 a week for free? this doesn’t seem real. I sort of get an extra hour or 2 of unpaid overtime, but 30?

        1. work is the best*

          it isn’t work for me. it is a hobby that I enjoy doing. Sure you may enjoy fishing, or reading or watching TV or whatever. For me working is the most fun everyone finds something they like to do. I often work 7-9 plus hours at home and to full 9 hours days on saturday and sunday plus time at home

          1. Sunshine Brite*

            That is absurd. That’s more than a hobby level of activities. It’s another full time job without pay or benefits.

              1. Sunshine Brite*

                I enjoy working out, spending time with friends, pets, my husband, reading, relaxing, taking care of my house, running errands, enjoying outside occasionally, visiting area attractions like museums, I have an interest in social justice and history and if I wanted to take more on I would volunteer my time at a few different places. I don’t volunteer so I don’t burn out as I work in a high stress career and don’t want to experience compassion fatigue.

                1. Sunshine Brite*

                  Oh, and thanks for insinuating that I must be a lazy party animal because I don’t want to work 7 days a week. I primarily work remotely so I could literally be working 24/7 if I wanted, but that wouldn’t be in line with my union contract, overall health, and my team’s best interest.

              2. Ezri*

                I play a lot of video games and I don’t feel a bit bad about it. I get paid for 40 hours, so that’s what they get. You don’t have to be doing something ‘productive’ with your free time to have value, that’s why it’s *free*. If you can’t work there are plenty of other things you can do.

          2. misspiggy*

            In which case, by all means start freelancing in your time off, and let’s hope you are able to look after yourself physically. But the structures of paid work have to be aimed at the average worker (as well as protecting the vulnerable) and you appear to be an outlier.

            1. work is the best*

              I workout 3 times a week for a total of 6 hours. I play hockey twice a week. Eat healthy and all that. No problems keeping up with chores

              1. Dutch Thunder*

                Are you sure you’re in accounts payable and not time travel?

                Average working day + breaks = 9 hours
                You work 7-9 extra hours at work most days
                You do 6 hours of sports a week, let’s call that an hour a day
                You do chores
                Do you sleep?

                24- 9 (work + breaks) – 8 (average time spent working at home) – 1 (work out) – 1 (chores) = you sleep no more than 5 hours a night. This is without any time spent eating breakfast, without showers and keeping in contact with friends/family, without watching the news or having the time to work out what else is going on in the world, without any time for a commute or in fact travelling anywhere, like a supermarket or a restaurant.

                If you are in fact doing this, your body will soon give way. If you are not doing this, you should keep your timelines of heroism straight if you’d like to convince us.

                1. work is the best*

                  i work 7 days a week, 7am to 9pm, i workout for 3 times a week for 2 hours, play hockey about an average of 2 times per week. I often spend the rest of the time at home either working or out with friends. I eat all meals mostly at work and at my desk I take a 5 minute lunch break and no other breaks.

                2. Elysian*

                  Well, let’s assume you work 7am to 9pm and work out for 2 hours after – that’ll get you home at 11pm. If you have a matter transporter you can get 8 hours of sleep and still be at work at 7am, but you wouldn’t have any commute, you would have to eat all your meals at work, and you wouldn’t have time to do laundry, cook dinner, or do a single household chore. You are either living with someone who takes total care of you (congrats! let’s see how long that lasts with this schedule), you are lying to us, or you are lying to yourself. This is an unsustainable schedule.

                3. Zillah*

                  Well, I work 6am-10pm every day and work out for 2 hours six times a week and cook myself nutritious meals and do my hair/makeup every morning and three times a week I also work four hours at my second job.

                  So there.

                  I will admit I don’t have time to do laundry, though – I generally have to have it sent out. :( I’m the biggest failure that ever failed.

                4. work is the best*

                  i live 5 minutes away from work. Everything is eaten at work. I prepare food the night before and take it all. Chores are done every night I sleep from 12-6:30.

                5. Zillah*

                  I don’t even need food. I just eat it for fun, but if needed, the sheer joy of doing work provides me with enough sustenance to survive for weeks at a time.

                6. Michelle*

                  So, during the week you work 7am-9pm, sleep from 12-6:30, and spend about 2 hours per day either working out or playing hockey. You also have a 5 minute commute each way.

                  So when you say that you do chores every night, and cook all of your food for the next day, and spend time going out with friends or doing extra work from home – you’re talking about exactly 80 minutes per day. And that’s not counting getting ready in the morning.

                  Basically, you’re lying. It’s not physically possible.

                7. BananaPants*

                  It’s a TROLLOLOLOLOL. Either that or dude is on amphetamines.

                  Work Life Balance Is The Best

                8. Lazy worker*

                  Until the schedule I thought there was a slight possibility this was a person in a manic “I can do anything! I HAVE to do everything!” state, but no, just a troll. It was kind of a funny one, though.

                9. Not So NewReader*

                  That’s quite a schedule you have there.

                  Why, you have no personal time, no personal life at all.

                  Makes me wonder what you are running from or hiding from. And I am still wondering why you need to calm down.

              2. Heather*

                Weird. I thought all of the Time-Turners got destroyed in the battle at the Ministry of Magic.

          3. Allison*

            Yes, and I have a hobby, but if it got to a point where I could get paid to dance (either teach or perform), I might still dance for free in my spare time, but I wouldn’t teach or perform anymore unless it was for a good cause. When a hobby becomes a source of income, it means that energy and time you put into it is valuable, people are benefiting from it, and you shouldn’t devalue it by doing it for free, unless it’s for a good cause where that free labor will help someone in need.

            But I don’t know why I’m wasting my time, I smell a troll. there’s no way a real person is this delusional.

              1. SystemsLady*

                They say you have to hear the truth on average 23 times on separate occasions to finally begin to reconsider a strongly held falsehood, so if they really are delusional, we’ve provided at least one of those :). (And clearly this isn’t the first)

            1. work is the best*

              not a troll. I enjoy work i don’t care if its valuable I want to be paid my 40 hours and the rest is what ever.

              1. Michelle*

                So take the “whatever” and if you don’t want it, donate it to charity. I don’t understand what the problem is. Are they paying you with a suitcase full of quarters and it’s too heavy for you to lug down to the bank?

                If the company is telling you not to work so they don’t have to pay you, then find a non-profit doing similar work and donate your hours to them. Nobody is locking you in your bedroom at night, are they?

                But obviously neither of those extremely obvious solutions will work for you if your real goal is trolling and complaining about employees actually having rights and getting paid, which is clearly the case.

                1. SystemsLady*

                  My husband and I are in a happy and privileged enough situation to be able to have the exact same attitude towards extra money, actually. That money goes in as a lump sum to charity and savings.

                  If you have as (frankly) messed-up an attitude about giving to charity as you do to working, at the very least future you might appreciate it when you suddenly need to travel to funerals or cover a large medical expense.

                  (By privileged I mean we work hard for our salaries, but our respective companies give us good benefits and bonuses in return for that, and the place I work is for the most part is very respectful of work/life balance. Lots of hard workers don’t end up at companies who give them the same, even at the same salary level.)

                2. Anna*

                  I know. IF this person is being honest (I have my doubts), and they love work so very much, then they should be willing to accept that in order to continue to do the work they love so much they have to accept the OT pay. All of us suck up things that are inconvenient about our hobbies. If work is this person’s hobby, JUST SUCK UP THE MONEY AND GET OVER IT! Sheesh.

              2. AJS*

                What in your mind makes 40 hours the magic number? Seriously, why not ask them to pay you for only 30 hours, or 20? Hey, just work for free!

      6. Samantha*

        It sounds like you feel like you owe the company something for “being nice enough” to pay you but that’s not the way it works. They didn’t hire you and aren’t paying you because they’re nice and they’re doing you some kind of favor. They apparently value and benefit from your work, and in return you’re compensated for it.

      7. Sunshine Brite*

        How can you not care if you get hurt in a worker’s comp situation that you’d be on the hook for all of it because you’re breaking the rules? I’m only 27, but I feel a difference in what gets to me at 27, then 24, then 21 and so on. I do my best to stick to my 40 now because I’m still reeling from years of full time school plus activities at a competitive liberal arts college then onto full time volunteering and an extra job to try and make rent onto full time grad school over half time work plus internships. It all adds up and it all takes it’s toll.

        I agree that this is an unsustainable lifestyle. Hopefully you can pull it back as you don’t find it energizing/reliving but something tells me that isn’t the case. With this much work, how are you exercising? Eating healthy regularly? Maintaining good posture? Resting your eyes from computer overuse?

        1. Dang*

          Not to mention what happens if you suddenly lose your job and thus your entire identity (or so it seems),

        2. Ad Astra*

          My energy level at 27 is SO much lower than it was at 24. These days I feel accomplished if I manage to put my dinner dishes in the dishwasher before bed at 9:30.

          1. Zillah*

            Ditto! It was so weird when I did grad school in my mid-twenties – I found that all nighters were no longer a thing I could really do, and it had only been a few years since undergrad.

            1. Natalie*

              Ugh, being back in college as an adult with a full time job ROTS. I don’t have nearly as much energy even when I’m just taking one class.

          2. Blue_eyes*

            Totally! I’m 28 and I’ve worked at day camp for the past two summers and this summer I’m already feeling like I’m too old for it. My body just can’t keep up with being on my feet moving all day and never managing to eat or drink enough.

      8. Michelle*

        OP #3, you’re either dense or a troll.

        It’s been suggested that you do volunteer work, and you say you can’t because you’re so busy working. What you seem to be failing to understand is that working without getting paid IS volunteering, and you solve your whole “problem” by simply switching those unpaid hours to a non-profit that does similar work. You get to do the work you love, and nobody gets in trouble for not paying you.

        You say that you just LOOOOVE to work, and you don’t care about getting paid, but you are in fact actually complaining about getting paid. Who complains about getting money they have earned? If you don’t want the money, donate it to charity. Who cares? Why are you still whining?

        You say that employees just have “too many rights.” Well, one right that you DON’T have is to expect your company to stick out their neck and break the law for you. Nobody has the right to demand that their employer put their company at risk like that. So suck it up, buttercup, life isn’t all about you.

      9. Observer*

        You will, when you can’t pay your bills.

        And, you can be 100% certain that your employer won’t cover them for you.

      10. Chinook*

        “I’m from Canada. Because the employer is nice enough to pay me I can work a few hours for free. ”

        As a fellow Canadian, I want to plead with you not to do this because, if too many people do this, it is bad for the economy. Let me explain – if you agree to do other work for free, that implies that you are taking that other work from someone else, which then makes their job expendable. This means there are less people working and, because your wage doesn’t reflect this extra work, less money going into the tax system to pay for all those nice things we have like healthcare, police and fire departments (among other tings). Plus, that person will be on EI, which means they will also be costing the government money.

        Basically, if your employer is willing and able to pay you AND someone else a living wage, don’t work harder to take that job away from someone else. This working extra for nothing doesn’t just affect you but also others.

      11. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

        “the employer is nice enough to pay me”

        You are giving them your labor in exchange for a fee. There is no *nice* about it.

    2. Sunflower*

      My first guess was this person works in a restaurant or bar. Since bartenders and waitresses work off tips and only make roughly $3/hr which basically goes towards taxes, whether or not they are on or off the clock doesn’t matter much to them financially. However, restaurants don’t want to pay overtime on their wages so once you’re at 40 hours, you’re done for the week even if you want to pick up shifts to make more money.

        1. TheLazyB (UK)*

          I have never enjoyed observing a thread without wanting to get involved quite like this one.

        2. KJR*

          It seriously has. I’m not sure why I am still reading. Kind of like not being able to tear your eyes away from a wreck. This person just keeps repeating themselves, and we just keep responding.

        3. Not So NewReader*

          I feel bad for the other LWs, because we just sunk a bunch of time into someone who does not want to be helped and did not talk about the other letters that much.

      1. Michelle*

        If that’s actually the case here, then working an extra 30 hours every week is pretty much taking someone else’s job away. A restaurant only needs so many servers at any given time. Are there really 30 hours per week of extra shifts that no one else wants? If so, the restaurant could hire another person, giving someone a job (who probably really needs it in this economy) and costing them less than paying out those 30 hours as overtime.

        But since OP complains about not being “allowed to do what I want in my own time,” I don’t think it’s a restaurant or bar.

      2. KimPossible*

        Very early on in my career I temped with a woman and OP reminds me of her. She had been hired as a PA but her boss did not need admin support so she was given more complex projects to work on. Then a new executive was hired and he actually did need her help with scheduling and correspondence. The company decided to hire someone else to assist with the more complex projects in order to reduce her overall workload so she would have time to do the admin tasks in her job description. I was hired as a temp to fill in while they were recruiting. This woman refused to give me any work to do and told me that she didn’t want someone hired to assist her. She didn’t want to give away any work that she saw as “hers”. She said she only wanted them to give her a laptop so that she could work far into the evening. She wouldn’t mind a promotion, but even if she didn’t get paid any extra money she still didn’t want someone she saw “as taking her work from her” brought into the company. She would rather work unpaid over time than lose ownership of her projects. So I guess the OP’s reaction isn’t too far outside the realm of possibilty.

        The OP has also mentioned a few times that she thinks it’s unfair that an employer can’t fire someone to hire someone else who would work for a lower wage. I’m wondering if OP is angling for a promotion/thinks she would be more competent than a more senior employee (perhaps because they are not as dedicated in her eyes because they don’t work overtime) and floated the idea that she loves her work so much that she would gladly take over and not even ask for a raise. Of course you can lay someone off for a cheaper employee. It happens all the time. But it seems someone told her it wouldn’t be ethical to do that and OP has a chip on her shoulder about that particular issue.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          OP has some strange ideas about how the world of work operates. And, surprisingly, she has no inclination to listen to anything that might conflict with her version.

  9. OP5*

    Thanks AAM! By “within a short time” of returning, I meant a few months–I have a tutoring job that I can take up again as soon as I get back, so it won’t be incredibly urgent. Ideally, I want to get back early November, set up interviews and finalize a job to start in January (considering I’m mostly applying to spring fellowship programs). I’m just nervous about that timing….but perhaps c’est la vie.

    Cambridge Comma, that’s good advice. Not sure if I have anyone that wouldn’t quickly forget about checking my email on top of their own, but I can brainstorm.

    1. UKAnon*

      It sounds like something of a once-in-a-lifetime (or at least very rare) opportunity, so if you’re in a position to have some work when you return, I would say relax, enjoy it and let the universe take care of the job search for a few weeks!

      1. Blue Anne*

        Definitely. I would jump at the change to do this, OP, let us live vicariously through you! :)

    2. Eva*

      Sound like a great opportunity, OP5, I say go for it! Just an idea – you could set up an auto-forward of your email to someone that is willing to help (so they don’t forget to check it!)

    3. Cambridge Comma*

      I wonder if you can devise an inbox rule for that. For example, “if e-mail arrives from [yourdreamteapotcompany] domain, forward to yourbff@their” Then they wouldn’t even need to check your mail. (Although not foolproof as you can’t predict the domain someone might write to you from, perhaps better than nothing.)

      1. Gandalf the Nude*

        If it’s not too late, maybe OP can set up a new job search email account and use that for all her applications. Then she could have a friend look in on the account without the risk of snooping through the rest of her inbox.

        1. Meg Murry*

          She doesn’t even need a new email address. If she uses gmail, she can just use the “period” trick – so instead of putting “megmurry @ gmail .com ” (added spaces to remove link) she could do “meg.murry @ gmail. com” on her resume, and then set an inbox rule to forward all mail sent to meg.murry to the trusted friend, or even to text her smartphone if she will otherwise have it turned on.

          That’s what I did when job searching but banned from using my gmail account at work and had crappy data service- anything sent to the address I was using for job searching sent me a text, and I could then go outside and hunt down an area where I got 4G service to read my emails.

          I would also recommend using a Google Voice phone number for calls – she could set it to forward to the house phone where she is staying while on this trip, or to her parents house, and then switch it back to her cell phone when she is done with the trip.

          But overall, yes I agree with the other posters that you can’t have it both ways – you might miss out of a job related call. Or you might sit around for a month hoping for a call only to get nothing, and have skipped out on the trip for nothing. You have to decide which would be better for you in the long run.

    4. The IT Manager*

      Warning: It seems a bit unrealistic to interview in November and start in January. That may be standard for fellowship programs, and if so disregard, but for normal jobs very hiring gets done in December with all the vacation people take and the holidays.

      The problem is a company may take a month or two to get back to you, but once they’re ready to interview they’ll only want to a take a few weeks to get through them. They won’t be willing to wait until you back to civilization to make their decision. This is where you as the individual job hunter have to accept that they have the power to set their timeline. You can opt out, but you won’t be able to get them to change their timeline without being an extraordinary candidate.

      1. Liz*

        This really depends on the program/company/team.

        I am currently in an internship that began mid-January, and I interviewed mid-December less than a month before the start date. This may not be normal, but it is what it is. With most of these programs, there is a set start date, but not a set hire date which leaves it open for late-hires in case of a dropout, so come November it is possible that OP may not have missed anything.

        I will point out that often the initial screenings take place long before the actual interview, so be sure to watch out for that. In my company, they screen everyone who makes it past the application, and then forwards them onto the individual teams, and the screening process can cover a span of several months.

    5. MegEB*

      OP5, I have to say, I’m incredibly curious (and jealous!) of how you found this opportunity. Did you just google “live on a farm for a month” or was there a specific program you went through? This is something I’ve always thought about doing, but never really knew where to start.

      1. OP5*

        Look at WorkAway (search “farm” or whatever other work you’d like to do) or WWOOF (for whichever country you might like to do). My more cynical friends have described it as voluntary indentured servitude, but I think of it more as a free extended gardening lesson and opportunity to learn outside instead of sitting in an office.

        I did the same thing in Argentina for 10 days a few years ago–really hard work but a great opportunity. Would love to do it for much longer, though.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’d love to do this, if I could avoid farming though LOL. I did it for free for a few years and meh. Don’t really want to go back (though I enjoyed keeping chickens).

  10. Saurs*

    I should be allowed to do what I want in my free time.

    Cool. Take up an unpaid internship and feed yourself on jerky made from bootstraps and right-to-work freedominess.

      1. Saurs*

        When o when will you cheese-eating surrender monkey lefties accept some Personality Responsibility for giving your sinuses the occasional coffee enema, I for one enjoy singeing the back of my eyeballs with espresso, in Mother Russia latte drinks you, why don’t you just go live in Colombia if it’s so great, etc

        1. UKAnon*

          Well, as a definite cheese-eating surrender monkey lefty (I just can’t give up goat’s cheese, ok?) I am very glad I didn’t have a drink to hand then!

        2. Blue Anne*


          Plus, you should just count yourself lucky that you have coffee at all! Your employer is under no obligation to provide you with hot water to prepare it with! or to provide you with a job! Kids nowadays…

          Of course, I’ve moved to the UK now which is a socialist death panel utopia, so my opinion as an American is completely invalid anyway.

          1. UKAnon*

            “Of course, I’ve moved to the UK now which is a socialist death panel utopia”

            Ssssh…. don’t tell the current Govt this, goodness knows what they’ll do.

            1. Blue Anne*

              I imagine that they’ll probably try to make it incredibly difficult for even the most educated and productive immigrants to come into the country. Then they might privatise the NHS, suggest that anyone using it in the first place is a greedy scrounger, and kick as many people off of disability as they can.

              Oh wait! ;)

              1. Elizabeth West*

                make it incredibly difficult for even the most educated and productive immigrants to come into the country.

                Wait, don’t do that until I get over there!
                *buys a tiny unobtrusive cottage and hides, writing novels and feeding chickens*

    1. StarHopper*

      I keep thinking OP 3 might be happier working in a country with fewer labor laws. I’m sure the 3rd world would love that kind of attitude!

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        That’s exactly what I was thinking! I know many workplaces in Asia and Africa in particular “encourage” all workers to put in 90+ hours a week and work many unpaid hours. Maybe the OP should try working there, because that’s where we would be without labor laws.

        1. Knitting Ca Lady*

          Japan comes to mind.

          But then OP would have to go boozing when the boss ‘suggests’ it…

  11. Student*

    #3 – If you want to spend your free time working, there are three legal options for you to persue instead of working off-the-clock illegally.

    (1) Get a “better” job. Exempt workers can work off the clock legally. Most exempt workers consider that a liability instead of a benefit.

    (2) Become a contractor. Contractors can structure their pay and hours as they like. They have to meet certain requirements to actually be legally considered a contractor. Then, you could at least opt to charge money for working in your spare time, too.

    (3) Get another job. Why on earth do you want to work for no extra money in your free time, when you could work for additional money in your free time? You’re essentially giving yourself a pay cut if you voluntarily work for free. Get a second job. Get a hobby you can monetize. Educate yourself on something job-related. Do some volunteer work somewhere. Do side contract work. What are you really getting out of working for free? Make sure you’re investing in yourself, not your company – the company isn’t going to reciprocate your donation.

    1. BRR*

      Good suggestions (and thank you for putting “better” in quotes).

      Also the OP could volunteer.

    2. Shannon*

      I really want to agree with #3. You said it a lot better than I could have.

      In this day and age and with this economy, I am hesitant to recommend that students go on to grad school if they really don’t have to, but, it sounds like the OP would really benefit from it since they enjoy their job so much. Or perhaps there are some certifications within their field that they could peruse (it sounds like a logistics or accounting type job.)

    3. Ezri*

      I like the contractor suggestion, that’s something I didn’t even think of. It sounds like OP wants the freedom to structure his own workday, and that would certainly do it.

  12. BabyAttorney*

    OP1, I do a similar thing at my job. Every week I put together a tracker identifying several things, including the person who made the request of my time. Due to my unique position, the person I report to administratively cant and doesnt oversee all requests for my time. The tracker is a way to identify my projects, what needs backup to be accomplished, and be aware of where my priorities are. Its reeeeeally annoying but I know it comes from a place of helping me to do my job more efficiently.

  13. Rebecca*

    #3 – there are other consequences to your behavior, and other non-exempt employees who work off the clock for some misguided reason: it makes it look like your team can do more work in the time allotted than they can really accomplish. When it comes to staffing issues, overtime pay is something managers look at, with workload, and companies make decisions on whether to add personnel, or not. I’m living with the consequences of both coworkers who worked off the clock, illegally, because they felt the work just had to get done, and a manager who said “no overtime” and despite repeatedly being told the extra work was happening, did not quash it soon enough. Now, we’re drowning in work, and she’s fighting to get another person. I’m very unhappy about this, and am quick to remind people that they brought this upon me, and them, with their own actions.

    And maybe I’m just grumpy this morning, but this got my hackles up “I was wondering if a company does get fined and they have to pay the employee their pay from the off-the-clock work, what happens if the employee gives back the money to the company and pays the fine? What happens then?” What??? Who does this??? Do not work for free, unless you’re volunteering someplace!

    I’d love to hear more about OP#3, his or her age, and what type of company he or she is working for.

    1. Blue Anne*

      Oh gosh, yeah, that hadn’t actually occurred to me. In my work, if I say “This account took me 60 hours to get done”, when it actually took 75, then

      1) we’re billing much less than we should be,
      2) the firm doesn’t realize it needs to take on more staff,
      3) the firm doesn’t realize the estimate it gave the client was way off, and maybe most importantly
      4) the person who does that account next year is pretty much screwed. They either need to work 15 extra hours or not do the work very well.

      1. UKAnon*

        I hadn’t thought of that either. We are a veritable mine of good reasons for not working for free today!

        1. Charlotte Collins*

          I work for a govt contractor, which means that I have to report all hours I work & where those hours fit in our workload (even though I’m exempt, so I can work more than 40 hours), so that my company can report that information to the federal govt. This means that we could get in big trouble and lose contracts if time is not reported or misreported. So, someone like OP#3 could potentially lose a company business and positions with this kind of attitude.

          1. Brooke*

            Ditto this, as a fellow employee of a government (US) contractor. Billing accuracy takes on a whole new meaning.

      2. Tau*

        Yeah, that’s another thing – if you’re working extra on client stuff, you’re essentially working extra for the client, but cheating your company out of the money they should be getting for those billed hours. I doubt this will make you many friends.

        1. Knitting Ca Lady*

          This! So much!

          Every hour of my work billed to the client gives the company 200€!

      3. Ezri*

        This is exactly the reason I get irritated when my team is asked to ‘pitch in’ on another team’s work when it is completely unrelated to ours. I’m all for cross-department support on occasion; but if we’re just all doing two jobs to cover for a labor shortage on another team, that’s a problem.

    2. AcidMeFlux*

      Don’t waste time or bile on a teen-aged troll (the verbal style is a big give-away on the age.)

    3. Ad Astra*

      I’m living with the consequences of both coworkers who worked off the clock, illegally, because they felt the work just had to get done, and a manager who said “no overtime” and despite repeatedly being told the extra work was happening, did not quash it soon enough.

      I am convinced this is how every news outlet in America operates.

    4. Adonday Veeah*

      Save your breath on this person. S/he appears to be unconcerned about any negative consequences of his/her actions on anyone else as long as s/he gets to do what s/he wants.

      And, as you may surmise from reading upthread, this is most likely a troll anyway.

      1. Rebecca*

        Yes, I saw that. Very sad. This is a legitimate workplace issue, and this person seems to be having fun at the expense of a very real problem.

    5. Michelle*

      What type of company? I’m guessing the type that’s owned by Daddy and employs “deadbeats” and plebes who do horrible things like expecting to be paid for their overtime.

  14. AggrAV8ed Tech*

    #1 reminds me slightly of my boss. He requires me to e-mail him with a “check-in” email every morning when I arrive (and if he’s off on vacation, a “check-out” email as well), which just seems redundant to the time sheets I fill out every pay period. None of my colleagues have every been required to do this (and if they were, it would have resulted in a hell of a paper trail against one particular former colleague in terms of his falsifying hours, which my boss ignored for his entire tenure here) and I’ve never had any problems with punctuality/leaving early, nothing that would give him cause to track my movements like that.

    There was actually a period of time where I conducted a little test to confirm suspicions that he wasn’t even reading the check-in emails (some mornings, I would have questions or pertinent information to that day included in the email, but when referred to after the fact, he would be oblivious to said questions/info); I stopped the “check-in” emails and it took him almost two weeks to notice. When he did, I told him I was having issues at home, mind was scattered, etc. and just resumed the “check-in” emails from that point.

    With my boss, I just think it’s a control thing, honestly, especially considering he didn’t require it of my colleagues.

    1. Graciosa*

      Why do you think its “a control thing” when it was not required of your colleagues?

      I’m not sure I would make that assumption. If there’s nothing wrong with your performance, there should be another reason for your boss managing you differently from your colleagues. For example, he could be experimenting with a new system and using you as a test subject for the pilot, or he could be trying to justify another hire (there was a good example of this upthread).

      But I would be pushing for an explanation of why I was being required to do additional work – of apparently no value – that my colleagues were not.

      If there really isn’t a reason, that does not speak well of your manager. I would call him on it.

      1. AggrAV8ed Tech*

        Definitely not a pilot, since I’ve been the only one required to do this for the past…5 years, maybe? And definitely not trying to justify another hire either; every colleague that’s been placed in my office over that time period, I’ve been told to take care of all the work during my shift, plus take care of things in advance that would take place after my shift (he’s flat out instructed me, “Make sure things are done so (colleague) doesn’t have to do it.”).

        I’d call him on it, but honestly, I’m not going to be here much longer for it to make a difference; moving out of state in a year and at that point, he’ll likely realize that his management style (of consistently pairing me with unskilled colleagues) will lead to a wonderful lack of efficiency in the department. :)

  15. BRR*

    #3 Is any part of this that you want to come off as a rock star employee to management? The way to do that isn’t by hours put in, it’s by results.

    #5 You might want to consider automatically forwarding your email to someone so they can contact you.
    Also if you need a job shortly after returning, it’s not just the possibility of missing employers setting up interviews but you’re also missing a month of applying for jobs.

  16. Not an IT Guy*

    #3 – In some jurisdictions, the fine can be up to $25,000. Speaking as someone who has done plenty of off the clock work (both willingly and unwillingly), even I wouldn’t want to be on the hook for that amount! (Unless required by my employer of course)

      1. Joline*

        I’m pretty certain you can’t even agree to it if you want to (i mean…if you don’t get caught, obviously, you’d be able to do it).

        You can’t sign away your rights under the Employment Standards Act unless you’re under a separate contract via a collective bargaining unit – and then you’re under the union contract’s rules. Even if you want to do so Canada doesn’t allow it because employers could then pressure employees into it.

  17. Allison*

    1) I sympathize, I had to do this at my first job. At the beginning of the day we had to fill out a form stating what we planned to do that day, and then we sent it to our manager, and had a “spotlight” meeting (yuck) where we went around the cluster of desks and everyone went through the list of things they were gonna do. With me, my manager took it a step further, and gave me a daily schedule, specifying what I was supposed to do during each hour of the day. When I asked why, he denied that there was anything wrong with my performance and said he was “just trying to help me be even better” at my job. Um, no. Clearly there was a problem and he couldn’t admit it to me, and that made me grumpy. I wouldn’t have minded the schedule had he just been honest and told me that he felt I was slacking, scatterbrained, whatever and/or I needed more structure than the other people on the team.

    And this is why, to this day, I absolutely cannot stand managers who refuse to tell employees when there’s a problem with their performance, and opt to wait until it’s so bad that the employee needs to be fired, or try to fix the problem without admitting there is one.

    1. LookyLou*

      I get the same stuff from my boss – I am clearly not trusted to manage my own workflow yet I somehow have no negative feedback? I found out through gossip that they suspected me of wasting company time and using time wasting tasks to look busy. I know that their management style is to trap an employee in a bad spot and wait until it is a HUGE issue before saying anything – so that when they do they can yell at you and have cause to fire you.

      1. Allison*

        Is this really a thing? I don’t want to think that my first company did this on purpose, but part of me does suspect it.

    2. Jeanne*

      I loathe that as well. If you can’t tell an employee you have an issue, you don’t deserve to be a manager.

  18. KT*

    For the detailed time report, it could be a good thing. My boss asked me to do this for a while and I thought there were questions about my productivity. It turns out I was turning out 2-3 times the amount of work other people at my level were doing, so he was using my time reports to show in detailed form how much more I was doing in order to get a restructuring and promotion for me.

    1. LQ*

      I would definitely ask because of this. I’ve been asked for detailed reports and summaries of everything I’ve done. It was so they could justify a promotion. But my boss did tell me why they were doing it. I think asking is important.

    1. LBK*

      I’m usually the last one to throw around that moniker but the OP’s comments here are kind of making me think the same thing. Either that or someone who needs a serious, possibly professionally delivered reality check.

    2. Liz*

      I’m starting to think that this OP is doing some kind of political parody. Even people who really believe this kind of thing tend not to be so blunt about it. (Not caring about getting injured on the job???)

      1. Allison*

        I’ll be watching this comment section to see how this goes . . . kinda wish I had popcorn . . .

          1. Windchime*

            It seems to be today. I’m amazed at how many people are trying to talk sense into someone who is clearly trolling the site.

            1. Observer*

              You are right. I’ve decided to stop responding to him (or her). Each statement is more ridiculous than the one before.

    3. oldfashionedlovesong*

      So after I read the letter, I was aghast.

      But then I scrolled through the comments and it started dawning on me what was likely happening. I just started watching The Newsroom (thank you Amazon Prime!), and I’m reminded of the arc where Dev Patel’s character wants to infiltrate an internet troll community to write a story on them, and has to “audition” by riling up the regular posters at a staid economists’ forum.

      Are we the staid economists’ forum?! Dev Patel, is that you?!

    4. ineloquent*

      You know, I’m going to work under the assumption that OP 3 is not a troll, but just a super energetic guy with a deep love of work and hockey. If so, OP 3, here’s my suggestion. You don’t have a choice on whether your employer(s) pay you for the ovrtime you work, and you also don’t have the ability to pay any fines or fees that the Canadian gov’t may impose on your employer for failing to obey the law. So, accept the money in good grace. However, set up a budget for yourself that covers all the expenses you have (YNAB is apparently awesome, if you need software to help you out). With any remaining funds, including your overtime pay, confer with a financial planner and start investing the crap out of it. Eventually, you’ll probably have enough to buy a house, or fancy art, or a hockey team, or start a company, or fund your entire retirement (whatever floats your boat). You could even start a political campaign that centers on your idea of what worker’s rights should be (I don’t agree with you, but you might get some votes somewhere). Have fun with it! Look at it as a new hobby!

  19. Observer*

    #4 – Allison is on the mark.

    Beyond that, needing “time to change the rate in the system” is a baloney excuse. Even with inefficient processes intended to insure that everything is correct, a month is WAAAY over, since changing the system is at the END of the process not the beginning.

    1. Jeanne*

      I get so sick of companies blaming computers for when they don’t do their jobs. Payroll systems are not so hard to use that it would take weeks to change a salary. I had my local tax rate change and they said they couldn’t change it in the system. I pushed back and amazingly it changed.

      1. Observer*

        They said they couldn’t change it in the system? Really/ You did them a favor in pushing back – that’s flatly illegal.

  20. OfficePrincess*


    Have you followed up with your manager to find out when your raise is supposed to take effect? I’ve worked in places where there were set dates for everything – fill out your review in December, manager takes their review of you to upper management in January, go over your review and find out your raise in late January- early February, raise takes effect March 1 for example.

    1. Judy*

      I was wondering what the paper signed was. I’ve only been given notice signed by someone (manager, etc) when I have received a raise, and it usually has an effective date.

      If OP4 was given a paper with an effective date of last month, the company would be required (in the US) to give back pay, right?

      1. OhNo*

        Might it be a contract? My position has contracts that you sign to work there, so you get a new contract every time you have a change in pay.

        OP, definitely push back on this, and please check in with your boss. I had a similar issue after my hours changed at my current job – HR kept “forgetting” to add my new vacation and sick leave time to my profile. It wasn’t until my boss raised hell about it that they actually got it done.

    2. Not the Droid You are Looking For*

      I had an employee who waited two months to tell me her raise had not hit! Reviews were in December with paperwork submitted within 48 hours of the meeting and raises went into effect January 1.

      End of February/early March my employee asked when her raise would take effect. I immediately went to HR to follow-up. Turns out even though her paperwork was logged, the raise wasn’t put into the payroll system. On the next paycheck her raise was in effect and we paid her the two months back pay.

      Please, please, please let your manager know! I was horrified that this had happened, as was our HR team. In your case, your manager going to HR and pushing the case will make a difference.

  21. Vegetarian Librarian*


    Are both or one of these people married? I’m asking for clarification because I’ve heard people use the word “affair” even when neither person is married, simply because their relationship is playing out in the workplace.

    If they aren’t married, I’d only go to him with business concerns. Tell him that he’s shooting himself in the foot by favoring this woman. If either of them are married, I’d tell him the above, plus I’d strongly consider telling him that this affair is harming the business. There are many people who’ll stop supporting him if they think he has bad morals. (I’m not saying this from a place of personal judgment, just that I know many people think that way.) I agree with Allison that he probably won’t be super receptive to having his morals questioned, but when it starts to hurt your business, then you need to say something.

    1. fposte*

      I was wondering about that too. “Prominent man is involved with young woman” isn’t exactly a scandal–the reps understandably find it annoying to have Girlfriend prioritized, but the social media questions may be “Is it true that you and Quarter-Lifer are an item?”

      And it may be that he’s not really damaging himself that much in that case, and it’s just a question of what to do about the annoyed reps. Which is worth bringing up, but it isn’t the same “You are bringing the company to its knees” issue.

    2. Another HRPro*

      It is clear from the OP’s letter that the “internationally known man” (I really want to know who!) is well aware that this is causing people to talk – after all, followers are posting comments about it on social media. And he does not seem to mind. I’m interested in how exactly this is impacting the OPs business. Have sales suffered? Is revenue down? If so, then that warrants a conversation. If the issue is just the scandal of it all and other sales reps being upset, I’m not sure if there is much the OP can do about this. From the way the letter is written, it does not sound like the sales folk are not actually reporting into (i.e., working for) the “internationally known man”.

      1. Dynamic Beige*

        I have a feeling that he doesn’t drink often… but when he does, he drinks Dos Equis.

        Not that I’m saying it’s That Guy. Hefner has someone young enough to be his great-granddaughter and some people get in a tizzy but nothing ever really happens. Unless this particular company’s items are based on some moral proposition (Pat Robertson! *snerk*) I think the problem is that old shill that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

        Yes, I can see why it’s annoying to the OP to watch someone she has respected and admired to go all nutty over someone half her age and behave like a stupid horny old goat… but until those sales figures are down substantially, any complaining on her part is just going to look like sour grapes. Unfortunately, promoting such a relationship on social media may make him *more* popular in certain demographics, depending on the product or service he is connected with. It is totally not fair to play favourites like this, but he’s the Boss and he obviously doesn’t care.

        If I were you OP, I would start putting a plan in place for retirement (if you haven’t made one already). Problem is that even if things sour with this Chippie (and who knows, she may only be angling to marry him in order to gain control of the company when he dies), odds are that he’ll just find another one.

    3. Lisa*

      I was totally about to comment on the word ‘affair’. If they are not married or with other people, its not an affair. Affair denotes sneaky behavior, when in fact these two people are just dating and appear happy.

      Maybe OP should focus her talk with him and his use of social media as it relates to his gf vs. the fact he is dating someone whom people think are inappropriate for his age. And people really need to stop putting personal stuff on business social profiles, and/or stop friended your VC while also posting things that person shouldn’t see.

    4. Panda Bandit*

      Yeah, I was wondering who is actually married here. I’d think the constant pictures of them together all over social media would eventually filter back to wife or husband and the problem would sort itself out.

  22. Ro*

    #3- What bothers me is how much time (paid or unpaid) you want to spend on one thing and one thing only, work. Even if it was perfectly legal, where is the balance in your life? Diversity of interests? Maybe my impression of this is off. Maybe I’m prejudiced against accounting- the all-consuming passion you described makes more sense if we’re talking about an artist, someone who has a religious calling, a scientist, etc. But you cite you’re grateful to your employer and that it relaxes you. It doesn’t make sense to me. I think it would really be beneficial to you to develop other interests too. Also, how is a person able to develop relationships with other people (also a hallmark of a healthy and balanced life) if you’re working all the time?

    1. work is the best*

      i see friends at night, i play hockey and I work out and I also play xbox and other gaming. My work life balance is perfect. if I had a choice to go on a full 2 week trip all expenses paid or work. I would much rather work

      1. LBK*

        Assuming this is all 100% true, I think it’s best if you just find somewhere else to talk about it because you’re not going to get any advice you’re going to like here – no one is going to help you figure out how to make your employer break the law.

      2. TL -*

        Okay. Assuming a 70 hr workweek, no commute, 8 hrs sleep per night, 3 hrs of working out, 2 hrs of playing hockey, you have 37 hours a week left to commute, do household chores, see friends, ect. That’s five hours a day. Assume an hour to prep and eat dinner, that’s four hours. Assume another hour to get ready for work, that’s three hours. Assume an hour for getting to and from work plus getting to and from gym or ice rink (I’m assuming an incredibly short commute for everything). That’s two hours. Per day. So 14 hours per week to socialize, do chores, play video games, shop, lay down and relax, whatever…. That’s not very much time to do anything at all.

    2. cv*

      I’m assuming the OP is a troll at this point, but her views are also incredibly short-sighted. She’s 24, and says she doesn’t need the money from overtime, which I can understand. But the answer isn’t to not be paid, it’s to save that money. Even if you love your job and never plan to retire, you never know what will happen with your health, a close family member’s health, a car breakdown, your house getting destroyed by a flood/tornado/hurricane, etc. It’s pretty unlikely that you’ll be happy with or able to live exactly this life for the next 50+ years, so you should be using all the time and effort you’re putting in now in order to have more options and flexibility in the future, by being paid and saving the money.

      1. Blue_eyes*

        Right? If they really like working so much, at least make a bunch of money doing it. Who doesn’t like more money? If they’re already living just fine on their salary, they could make essentially a second salary and save/invest it all. Even if it’s not an especially high salary that would add up quickly and you could be sitting on a huge nest egg in a couple years.

  23. Allison*

    #2, approach this as an investor, which you are in this case. Tell him you’ve invested money in the company because you felt he had good judgment, but his recent actions are making you question that, and you’re not sure you want to invest in his products anymore. Focus your concern on the fact that this young woman is benefiting a lot from the affair, which is not only unethical, but could open the door for sexual harassment if she wants to end things down the road but fears her career will be in jeopardy because of it. It’s none of your business whom he gets involved with, but it becomes your business when it affects his professional treatment of her and others.

    1. Sigrid*

      I have the sneaking suspicion that this is an MLM business, so I don’t think any of the usual legal rules would apply. Don’t MLM sub- (and sub-sub-sub-sub-) contractors not technically work for the company? In which case legal sexual harassment might be iffy. And an MLM marketer isn’t an “investor”, so that angle won’t work either.

      All of this is moot if #2 is not an MLM situation, of course.

  24. That Lady*

    #3 – If you’re working for free, then you’re devaluing your work and the work of others in your field. Also, you say that you want your company to succeed. What’s going to happen when they have to pay huge fines for allowing you to work off the clock, and the headlines say that they employ unpaid laborers, and they go under because of the fines and the bad PR? Also, your company is NOT benevolent, did not hire you out of the goodness of their heart (companies don’t have hearts), and they will fire you if the numbers point that way.

    You have some sort of disorder where you think your time isn’t worth money, where you think you’re so lucky to have been hired, where you think that you need to sacrifice yourself for the good of the company. I promise you that you’re worth more than that, and that you need to spend some of your time working on finding your sense of self-worth. Please don’t minimize yourself this way. You have worth! Please treat yourself like you have worth.

    1. work is the best*

      ive already stated I would pay the fines. I would borrow on the house or what ever.

        1. work is the best*

          why because i find the fines ridiculous and I want to pay them ? please, not a troll i like to work and it is fun.

          1. Judy*

            I personally find it unbelievable that someone with a house could work 70+ hours at their first job, have a second job, work out 3 x 2 hours plus hockey game each week, shop, prep food and eat healthily, commute between 2 jobs, a gym and an ice rink, do personal care and sleep enough to be healthy. I might be able to believe that someone in an apartment who has a spouse to handle some of the food prep could do it.

            It takes my husband or me 2 hours to mow and trim the lawn weekly in the growing season. One of us spends an hour or two weekly weeding the bedded plants. We have 2-3 weekends in the spring and the fall that we spend long days doing the cleanup and prep work for the lawn and flower beds.

            I also find it odd that you’d be willing to basically pay fines that seem to be more than twice what you’re making. I’m pretty sure fposte said the fines were the pay due x 2, so 30 hours x 1.5 x 2 = 90 hours worth of pay for a year.

            1. Natalie*

              They didn’t say it was a nice house! Maybe the roof is caving in and the weeds are basically swallowing the walls. Why would he care if animals have gotten in, he’s at work all the time. And they provide much needed company.

              (Yeah, this is not a real person.)

            2. The IT Manager*

              Dude’s a troll!

              OT: Bedded plants seems like such a waste of time for busy people. I hated it when my new home was landscaped with them, and I didn’t even bother to deal with them as often as I cut the grass. It would be so much more convenient to have the pretty green grass run up to the house or the trees.

              1. Natalie*

                Grass doesn’t always grow well under trees, but what about an easy ground cover? They usually require minimal maintenance.

              2. plain_jane*

                I completely disagree. I have no lawn, just plants (primarily violets, geranium, lemon balm, ferns, oregano, barren strawberry). And they come up every year (mostly) and the ones that don’t, well they didn’t make the selection in my yard. I maybe put in 20 hours total over the whole season – it requires so little effort that I will go into neighbours’ yards to weed. Grass would be so much more effort and cost with a lawn mower. I admit to a small patch of about 6 inches square that volunteered, but it doesn’t get cut.

                (Caveat, I am in an urban area, plot is 18×90 – this probably wouldn’t work for my parents in their suburban house)

                I really like the owner before the person we bought the house from. She set up the garden almost perfectly for our needs.

                1. Today's Satan*

                  Ha. Yeah, that probably won’t work in the suburbs. My house sits on a 1/2 acre lot. Which isn’t huge, but no freaking way am I turning the whole thing into a garden. It takes an hour a week to keep it mowed (with a self-propelled mower). That’s infinitely less than I’d spend if I had to tend to a bunch of individual plants. Plus, I don’t have to get on my hands and knees to mow. :-)

          2. College Career Counselor*

            I know what you mean. I think environmental laws are ridiculous too, so I don’t follow them at work. But it’s okay because if my employer gets fined, I’ll just pay for it.

          1. Creag an Tuire*

            Or else, the Duck Club was real all along, and that’s why this poor hormone-addled 24-year old is willing to put in so much “overtime”.

            It’s okay, OP. You can admit it.

      1. First Reply Ever*

        If you are in Canada, you have to know that your company is in jeopardy. There are very strict labour laws in Canada, and your vacation time, lunch breaks, etc. are all mandated by law. You cannot be laid off in order to employ someone cheaper and there is no such thing as “at will” employment here. You are not “exempt” because that does not exist. If you work over 44 hours per week you must be paid overtime or given compensation time. You are a liability to your employer and unless you’ve been here less than 5 minutes, you know that. How selfish of you.

    2. Cordelia Naismith*

      If you’re working for free, then you’re devaluing your work and the work of others in your field.

      Agreed. If work is the best is being serious and isn’t a troll (which I’m finding it harder and harder to believe), then she clearly does not value herself and her work at all, which I find really, really sad.

      OP, if you give your work away for free, then you’re saying that’s all it’s worth. Is the quality of your work really that bad?

      Or maybe you feel that the quality of your work is fine, but you for some reason don’t deserve to be paid. I mean, you’re volunteering to be taken advantage of.

      Either way, it’s sad.

  25. Swarley*


    I don’t know how your organization operates, but as a comp analyst, it takes me all of 45 seconds to change someone’s salary in the computer; it sounds to me like they forgot. I’m sure if you bring it up to your manager it’ll be taken care of.

  26. Erin*

    #2 – I understand your wanting to stay out of and respect his personal life, but in this case, it is not separated from his work life. It sounds like this person is a public figure, publicly posting these things on his social media. And this woman also works with this person, right? This *is* work related at this point.

    Is it possible he doesn’t understand the ramifications of this? Is he just totally oblivious?

    In any case, I think you would be in the right to talk to him about this. Presumably you know each other well at this point. Don’t be defensive or angry or judgmental in your tone, but you would absolutely not be out of line to bring up your concerns.

    If possible, bring facts to him, not just speculation and gossip. If sales are going down in any way, bring those numbers to him. Otherwise, anything you have documentation of that you feel comfortable sharing with him I would.

    Example: Here is a email from an investor airing his concerns. Here is a text from this prominent person asking questions. Give him proof that this is something he needs to address and deal with, one way or the other. Show him if you can that he is not in fact advancing this woman’s career, but possibly harming it along with his own.

    1. LQ*

      When this relationship goes sour (because it will) how will the company deal with the ramifications of a potential high profile lawsuit from her? That might be one angle to point out?

      1. Observer*

        Maybe it will and maybe it won’t. It depends on both of them and what she is really looking for.

        I just saw a follow up article about Woody Allen and Soon Y Previn. They are still married. I suspect she got exactly what she wanted.

        1. LQ*

          Ok then assume that the relationship will work out fine. Everyone will be perfectly happy. You still don’t date your boss. You want to date your boss you or your boss go elsewhere. Having someone who reports to you date you is a recipe for disaster in the business world. And yes, I’m sure you’ll be able to find some example of it being fine. But for the most part that’s why we have laws about sexual harassment at work and such. Plus, assuming there are zero issues for the 2 parties involved what about the rest of the team who is not being treated well because the boss has a favorite? That creates a lot of team morale issues as well. Why should I bother to work hard when I know the boss will always only promote his favorite (aka the one he is in love with/banging/whatever)? If I’m a good employee I’m going to go elsewhere because that kind of business environment shows me the only way to advance is by sleeping with the boss.

          1. Observer*

            All true, and irrelevant to the point I was making.

            You claimed that everyone needs to be concerned about the certainty that the relationship will go sour. That’s not necessarily the case.

            If the OP does decide to approach the boss, it makes more sense to focus on the things that are clear and present. If the OP does decide to mention the issue of fallout from the relationship going sour, she’ll do much better presenting it as “what if” + “you really have to understand why mot people would be concerned about this”

        2. LQ*

          And for the record, most relationships don’t work out long term. Pointing to one and going LOOK isn’t proving a point. Most people have had more than one relationship in their life. It’s just how relationships are.

          1. Observer*

            Actually, it DOES prove a point. It proves that saying that the relationship WILL go south is not accurate. Yes, I’m pointing to an exceptional case, but that’s the point. You don’t allow for the existence of exceptions, even though they demonstrably exist.

  27. MashaKasha*

    #1 – I would absolutely, definitely follow AAM’s advice, talk to the boss and find out what on earth is going on. While I doubt that he’s doing it because OP1 is the only woman in his team, I can only think of three scenarios that would justify a sudden need to account for one’s every hour and submit reports twice a day:

    1) Employee is missing deadlines on everything and boss wants to know where this person is losing time
    2) Employee’s job responsibilities has been changed, possibly by the boss’s higher-up, the change is something boss disagrees with, and boss is gathering proof that this change is wasting employee’s time and or taking their time away from their main responsibilities. (Happened at OldJob when, technically, an offshore team was brought on to help us, but in reality, we all started spending a ton of hours helping offshore team, fixing their bugs, and reworking their messes. We all did and submitted timesheets for a month or two, until management finally saw the light, and terminated the offshore contract.)
    3) Boss wants to fire the employee, but HR wants him to build a case against them first, so he’s using the hourly timesheets to gather evidence that this employee needs to be let go.

    1. doreen*

      There’s a fourth, although I’m not suggesting that this is the case with the OP .Employee’s job responsibilities have changed, the employee claims that he or she doesn’t have time for the additional tasks and the boss disagrees. ( Had this happen once- employee said she didn’t have time to do the additional work but also couldn’t/wouldn’t estimate how much actual work time each case took. I kept getting answers like “it varies” or “three weeks” when three weeks was the time elapsed from assignment to completion and didn’t mean she spent 15 full days working on that one case. I had her start reporting exactly what tasks she performed each day . Either she suddenly realized that each case took more like three hours worth of work than three weeks or else she knew that all along and realized she wouldn’t be able to convince me otherwise – I’m not sure which, but the cries of “that’s too much work” ended)

    2. Hlyssande*

      Your example in #2 happened to a friend of mine, except that the manager who exported those jobs to India got a gigantic bonus and the company still hasn’t seen the light. :(

  28. KT*

    #3, I was having a blah morning, and I have to say you’ve brightened my day with your ridiculousness. $25,000 in fines, no big! Injured on work time, pfffffffffftttttttt idontcurrrrrr. Unions are the worst…paid leave is unfair…

    I salute you, master troll

    1. work is the best*

      not a troll. I find paid leave is ridiculous. I would never say I got hurt at work no matter what happened. I wouldnt want their rates to go up. It is unfair that the employer has to pay the fine. THey give you the ability to live by paying you for your work. What I am trying to do is just work because I enjoy it.

      1. danr*

        You should go into a profession that values working 25 hours a day. I can think of a few… teaching, law, farming.

          1. Creag an Tuire*

            Nooo, he needs to go into the military. 25-hour days, no overtime, and well, let’s just say they take the concept of “working vacation” to another level…

      2. Ezri*

        An employee can find another job if the employer goes under, you’ve said that yourself. An employer can’t do anything without employees. So maybe they aren’t giving us enough….

      3. Not So NewReader*

        At this point, I don’t think it matters if you are or are not a troll. You are asking people to respect your views and, yet, you are not able to respect theirs. Respect is a two way street. In order to get it, you have to give it, regardless of anything else.
        I hope you are able to find help with whatever your real underlying problem is here.

  29. LuvzALaugh*

    #1 It is possible that your manager is conducting a job analysis for your position and just did a half ass job of gaining your assistance in conducting it.

  30. LuvzALaugh*

    #4 Talk to the HR manager. Be calm and reasonable. Just let them know you are concerned you have not seen your raise in X amount of time. Also, on the rare occasion we haven’t gotten someone’s raise in on time, never that long, we have retroactively applied it. Meaning they got paid the extra amount from the start of the pay week in which the raise should have been issued. ASK for this.

  31. LizNYC*

    #4 The one raise I got at OldJob took about 4 months to show up in my paycheck (plus retroactive) because of the bureaucracy and people who had to sign off on it — and it was summer, so half of them were on vacation. I’d check in with your supervisor first, since mine gave me a heads up that such raises could take awhile.

    #3 Why would you WANT to work off the clock for an employer?

    #1 I used to have to do this for OldJob (can you tell why it’s my former workplace!?), but my manager had everyone in the department doing it — and it was only at the end of the day. We’d check in on priorities occasionally (and then inform me that “everything is a priority” … thanks). Are you newer in the department than your coworkers? If you’re friendly with them, maybe you could ask if they had to do something similar when they first started. If it’s completely out of character for this manager, then Alison’s advice is great.

    1. MashaKasha*

      My current job is leaning towards the “everything is a priority”. So I started keeping my own timesheets, tracking what I do by the hour, for my own sanity, and also because I might need to use this information for reference. It’s hard to keep track of what you’ve worked on when every few hours it’s, “hey, this is a new #1 priority, drop everything you’re doing and work on this”. and a short period of time later, “hey, here’s the new #1 priority, drop the old #1 priority and work on this”. Then a few days later, of course, it’s “why hasn’t anything been completed?” I want to have something with numbers on it that I can show to whomever is asking and say, Here’s why.

      But it’s one thing to track your work of your own volition, and another when you’re the only person on the team required to track it. I would worry. And I would definitely go ask!

      #3 boggles my mind. I need to know what on earth they’re doing that this OP is willing to pay their own money out of their own pocket to continue doing it for a few extra hours.

      1. work is the best*

        its closer to 30-40 hours extra. I want to work as much as I want because for me that is the best thing. I don’t want them getting in trouble because that law is silly.

        1. jhhj*

          Is it not possible that the law is there for a good reason and that your personal preferences are not part of it, that it is looking at broader impacts than whether one single person would prefer to work 80 hours for no extra pay?

          There are lots of ways you can add 30 hours of work to your week but you absolutely refuse to consider any of them.

        2. MashaKasha*

          OMG just open your own business already instead of making your colleagues’ life potential hell. You’ll have all the 100 hour weeks you want.

  32. Sunflower*

    #3- My guess is this person works in a restaurant or bar in the US? That’s the only explanation I can think as to why this person wants to work off the clock. Some weeks when I was really desperate for cash and would have picked up any shift, it was frustrating that I tried to pick up shifts and wasn’t allowed. I even asked my boss if I could clock in as someone else and of course they said no. Sometimes people who didn’t want to work had to and I was stuck at home even though I wanted to work. I totally understand why these laws exists though- For example, there are a lot of bars who ask you to clock out when you’re over time and work off the clock and for them, the workers were being taken advantage of.

  33. Ashcat*

    #1: Ugh! I really feel for you. I had a job a few years back that implemented these “daily tracking sheets” that everyone abhorred. They were infantilizing and time consuming and overall just ineffective. At that time I wasn’t a manager, but I filed this one under “if I’m ever in a position to manage, DO NOT DO THIS”! And I have held to that. We all pushed back, respectfully of course, and fortunately the boss was reasonable and eventually chucked the idea. I’d do the same, using the language Allison laid out. It’ll require some finesse, especially since it appears as though you’re being singled out here, but approach it from a matter of fact, is there something I should be doing different, collaborative starting point. This always goes over better than being on the defense. I hope this helps. And managers, unless you’ve got an employee on a PIP or the like, please oh please don’t do this!

  34. "More Than This" by Bill Murray*

    #2: I’m surprised there’s been so little said about this.

    I guess first off there’s the matter of whether or not Mr. 69 and Ms. 25 are married to other people. If so: problem. But if not, I think it’s falling into a fuzzy area of how it relates to the business. I mean, if this guy is selling E. D. Pills, then he’s probably helping the bottom line. If he’s selling investment opportunities that are supposed to help you settle down and enjoy life responsibly in your mature years, then maybe not.

    If you feel it’s really hurting the business, then as an investor, you’re justified in bringing this up. But I’d also have some hard facts and numbers to show that this ‘affair’ is indeed causing the business problems.

    Sometimes this stuff is for real, though; look at Jack Welch and Suzy Wetlaufer.

    1. LQ*

      Lets assume that they aren’t married, they really are in love and everything will work out perfectly. There is still the problem that having a subordinate in a relationship with their superior is creating friction on the team. This is why you don’t date people who report to you. There’s the potential for the sexual harassment suit. One person is getting preference doesn’t speak well and for the team as a whole, people being frustrated by someone being treated different not because they are better but because they are dating the boss.

  35. JC*

    OP #3, I feel a tiny bit of empathy for you because I also get satisfaction from putting in extra hours to my work. But I can do that because I am exempt from US overtime laws. If you love spending all of your time working, there are plenty of jobs out there that want someone who will do just that (where you would likely be exempt, if there is a Canadian equivalent). Why don’t you put effort into finding a job like that? Absent that, there are other things you can do with your time that fall between laying around and working at your primary job, including taking up a second job, taking classes that might prepare you for an exempt job where you can work all the time if you want, etc.

  36. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

    Re: working off the clock. There are all kinds of reasons I don’t want people to do this, even beyond the obvious legal issues. For one, if someone is working more hours than I think they are, I have an unrealistic idea of how long it takes to get the job done. If you leave, and someone else takes your spot, it may be really hard for me to figure out that there is, in fact, too much work. Also, you may be willing to do this now, but life happens and at some point you might not want to keep it up. What would happen then? Would your manager suddenly be okay with you doing less work than before? Also, it means that I don’t fully understand how much it costs to get the work done. It it really takes 15% more time than I’ve planned to pay for, that’s a problem. Either you will leave at some point, you’ll stop working off the clock at some point, or I will decide that you’re not that busy and I am going to put something else on your plate. Bottom line, it’s not a sustainable thing to do. Well intended, but not sustainable.

      1. Allison*

        no, that’s not realistic. at some point or another, everyone needs to take at least a time off and deal with something else going on in their life.

        1. SystemsLady*

          No wonder they feel overpaid for 40 hours of work :)…

          (I’m on vacation though, finally!)

      2. Ashley the Nonprofit Exec*

        If your spouse is critically ill? If your mom dies and your family needs your help? If you end up with a chronic illness that requires you to get more rest? If you have a financial emergency and have to take on a second job? It’s hard to know how you will feel about these types of situations if you’ve never experienced them, but, having managed lots and lots of people, I’m telling you that this is why I would be particularly annoyed with someone who insisted on working off the clock I’ve seen it happen over and over.

  37. The Other Dawn*

    I’ve read all the comments re: #3 and all I can really say is I’d fire this person in a heartbeat. I don’t want someone who so blatantly doesn’t give a shit about employment laws and how his actions affect the company and other employees in the long run. It’s just, “me, me, me.” No thanks.

    1. Sarahnova*

      Yeah, on the tiny tiny chance that this person is for real, I would be getting them out right quick. I do not want that massive liability around.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Ditto from me. It makes it even easier because this person keeps saying the same things over and over, regardless of what the previous poster is talking about. Total lack of comprehension going on there. Additionally, OP does not seem to have any sense/understanding of what the AAM community is about.

  38. TootsNYC*

    In a way, not working off the clock protects the business’ future. And any future person who might have your job.

    I’m exempt, but there’s no such thing as “off the clock,” but I do worry that when I spend a lot of extra time in a crunch period in order to not spend money on temporary staff, that I’m calibrating the expectations of the people above me to an inaccurate setting.

    They come to expect that X amount of work can be done with the budget I have, even if they blow their deadlines. And then they blow off deadlines ever worse, which makes my own life harder, and it is really setting up my successor, and any future staffs, and the budget manager. Because when I leave, the new person is only going to be able to hit my numbers if she sacrifices her life.

    That’s not good for a sensibly run business. You want accurate info, and having to pay for the work that’s being done is an pretty important way to measure.

    Think of it as accuracy.

    1. Beezus*


      Working 16 hour days and weekends isn’t sustainable for anyone forever, and it’s not something 99.99% of the available workforce is willing to do. Healthy, well-run businesses don’t rely on situations that aren’t sustainable or repeatable. They’re better off finding someone with a healthy work/life balance.

  39. Mimi*

    OP #1: I’d start looking for another job. Your boss is trying to harrass you into leaving. This is like a PIP without the actual PIP.

  40. Elizabeth West*

    Re #5—I haven’t read all the comments yet and don’t know if someone else said this, but I would think of that more as a sabbatical than a vacation. If you set that up in your auto-response, I myself wouldn’t bat an eye at it. Just make sure you can rely on whoever you’re trusting your urgent messages to so you will be sure to get them.

  41. Middle Manager*

    #1 – I would been very tempted to have done what your boss has done with a few I’ve supervised in the past. They never got anything done except when I was right there looking over their shoulder. I’ve seen everything from personal phone calls to internet games to Facebook getting in the way of productivity for one person while everyone else busts their arse. It’s demoralizing to everyone but the person who treats the workplace like their living room. But I would come right out and call it a performance improvement plan. In that case it would last for 90 days, and at the end of those 90 days there would be consequences for not showing improvement in productivity.

    If your evaluations have not shown displeasure with output or organizational skill, you might have a case. But first, you need to look at your own work habits and previous feedback very objectively before raising a fuss.

  42. Jeez Louise*

    Everyone’s being pretty nasty about #3. Once someone starts voicing an unusual opinion (even a trolly one) that doesn’t jibe with the commentariat, all gloves are off. Sheesh.

    1. Zillah*

      I don’t think the issue is that the opinion is “unusual.” I think it’s a combination of the way it’s being expressed and the fact that this opinion isn’t just “unusual” – it’s directly advocating harm to others. All “unusual” opinions are not created equal. “I love traffic jams because I find them relaxing” is an unusual opinion. “Employees don’t deserve rights” is a harmful opinion.

    2. Observer*

      On top of what Zillah said, #3 is also saying some things that are contradictory and / or just plain don’t make any sense.

    3. Jeez Louise*

      I didn’t read all of OP3’s comments and replies, but even before I stopped it was too much. Unfortunately, some (too many) of this blog’s readers have become the everything-police. It’s exhausting to read and wade through. I’ve been a reader for many years, but recently the comments have gone from helpful and entertaining (and on-topic) to a level of ridiculousness (political and otherwise). It is too bad, because I really used to get a lot out of people’s comments here. :(

      1. MashaKasha*

        OP3 lost me when they responded to “what if your management starts expecting crazy unpaid hours from your teammates as well?” with “well if they don’t like it, they can leave”. I’d say any level of snarkiness in response to THAT is fair game. Then again, I’m new here and don’t know what the comments section used to be like.

      2. Ad Astra*

        There were several helpful, on-topic responses to OP3’s issue until his comments made it clear he’s a troll.

        1. Chris*

          I don’t see anything that stands out as a troll. He seems to enjoy work, it is his hobby instead of others who like to fish or read. He doesn’t seem to want the company to end up having to pay more than 40 hours. Sure maybe that sounds ridiculous but maybe he has a good friendship with his work? All the get a second job comments, he doesn’t seem to want another job or volunteer else where, he wants to work there and help them out. Some people are just workers and enjoy it. What is wrong with that?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Saying he’d borrow against his house so that his employer wouldn’t have to pay legal fines for breaking the law to let him work off the clock?

            1. Chris*

              Big deal maybe he wants to because he truly wants to help the company. Everyone is so set in ways now that if it isn’t 99.9% of what people think they are deemed crazy or a troll. If he is actually serious. Good for him

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                Chris, you have the same IP address as the OP. (In other words, you are the OP.)

                Please cut it out. And I’m going to block you so that you can’t give into the apparently tremendous temptation of messing around with people here.

                1. Observer*

                  And, if anyone had any doubts whether this was a genuine post, I think this is the last piece of proof that it was not.

      3. Zillah*

        I agree that it’s become a problem, and while I still read the posts religiously, I’ve been reading the comments less as a result because I can’t take much added stress right now.

        However, I don’t think that the comments aimed at OP3 are an example of that. OP3 is clearly trolling.

        1. Jeez Louise*

          A late reply so you may not see it, but I see now that he was a troll. I appreciate that I’m not the only one who has had a similar response to the overall shift in commenting.

  43. One of the Sarahs*

    Re #1 – I’ve been in workplaces where this was instigated across the board to try to improve efficiency/understand jobs, and I’ve found it super-stressful, because I never worked out how to do it. If the phone goes I’m into the conversation straight away and find it hard to remember to note down the start/finish time – same for emails etc, and I always found the boundaries blurry about what work falls into what category (eg, I dunno, researching something, and emailing someone to ask for information I need, and then that email resulting in being asked something else… Casual chat over making a cup of tea leads to something that helps with work etc). And then managers would get grumpy about adding, I dunno, 20 mins each day recording what I’ve done with my day, because of trying to work it out… I used to just approximate, because I couldn’t focus on my work AND focus on recording my work, and it stressed me out trying to do it properly.

    So, a genuine Q for people who ask staff to do this, or people who have found it useful – what level of detail do you ask for/provide? How would you ideally like employees to do this, or do you have any tips about how to do it without it becoming a spiralling task in its own right?

    1. Ms Information*

      I’ve asked clerical employees to do this, but not by singling anyone out. I asked for a pretty high level, just the major tasks they worked on each day and we reviewed once a month. It wasn’t onerous and was enough to give me an idea of how they were spending their time and what tasks were moving forward, e.g. “updated web site” or “created poster” or “input statistics”. I’d expect to see 3-4 major tasks each day, depending on the day or week.

  44. Kassy*

    OP #3, I don’t think you’ll address this comment, but I’d like to see if you do.

    You want to work for free, okay. They’re going to insist on paying you because they have to, fine.

    But that you are rejecting the idea to donate the money…Do you understand what a difference that money could make for some people? If you don’t need or want it, that’s fine. Too many people out there are never satisfied with any amount of money – it’s good you’re not among them. So work the overtime, take the money, and feed some hungry people. Save the whales. Buy some kids some school supplies. What cause do you like? Someone’s out there raising money for it.

    I’m not at all trying to come at you from the “Why are you buying a candy bar when children in third world countries are starving???” school of thought, because let’s be realistic. But that you would rather “rip up the cheque” than let it do some good…I just don’t get it.

  45. Lulubell*

    Re: #5, I would create new out of office emails weekly. I don’t think there is anything wrong or red flaggish about being away for a week or two, but a month would send me, as a hiring manager, searching elsewhere. If you are already planning to check emails somewhat regularly, can you plan to check it once per week? If so, I would just set up a new OOO email with relevant dates for that week, so potential prospects won’t think you’ll be away for a while.

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