A Matter of Timing

Image credit: ccrny.com

Image credit: ccrny.com

I read an article the other day that detailed some of the things that a new employee should never do. I clicked on the story because I wanted to see how many of them I could guess. Apparently the writer of the piece didn’t want to leave anything out – including the obvious.

Among the cautions was asking for vacation time during the first few months, complaining to your co-workers about your new boss, bad-talking your old boss or the people you used to work with, taking long lunches, spending time on Facebook and other social sites and calling in sick during your first month on the job.

The article expounded on each one as the writer attempted to spell out in black and white just why it was that the actions were unacceptable – at first. Apparently some of the behaviours become acceptable, (or should that be, expected), when the person has been there for a little while.

So while there was nothing inherently wrong with some of the requests – it seemed that when you asked was what mattered.

Take for example, asking for vacation before you even get a chance to hand in any “sick papers” – that is, within the first year.

Image credit: chicagocaptioning.com

Image credit: chicagocaptioning.com

In this neck of the woods, we can’t expect any time off until we’ve toiled for at least a year, so if we really need a break from the job we have to invent a death in the family or an illness that requires a hospital stay – the last for ourselves of course, and the first for somebody else.


…Because we still want the job, we just need a little break from it.

I’ve heard that there are some people who actually like the people they have to report to. And there are others who just don’t.

After you’ve been there awhile though, you’ll find that the proper place to gripe about that, is not with the other workers where there’s likely to be someone who carries messages that you didn’t send, but on the phone with your best friend while in the presence of your employer. Bonus points if she is left without a doubt that the “she” being referred to is her.

…Because we could probably do her job better than she does anyway – we’re just waiting for the higher-ups to notice.

Less than glowing reports about the people you used to work with won’t be acceptable conversation for shooting the breeze – initially.

However, if you wait long enough your co-workers will show their hands first – and then you’ll simply need to add your stories to the already colourful plate. Personality comparisons (about others), is a great bonding activitiy and can make fitting in a whole lot easier.

…Because our knack for telling stories has got to count for something. 

The article spoke about a “lunch culture” and as a new worker, you’ll do the one hour thing and actually eat your lunch during this time…

…Until your co-workers come back raving about the one day sale at Payless, and you understand then, why all the calls were coming back to you. After that, you’ll realize that the “culture” is one where the time taken for lunch is used for anything but actual eating, since kids need to be picked up from school, errands need to be run and bills have to be paid – literally. So lunch will actually be consumed in that hour when you get back and should be working.

…Because Saturday is our day off, and we don’t want to spend it running errands when we can do it during the week.

You should expect to have to wait to catch up with your favourite fashion sites, online magazines and news portals when you get home – or during lunch.

Is it time for Facebook? Image credit: forbes.com

Is it time for Facebook?
Image credit: forbes.com

But what would the workday be without being able to check out what’s happening on Facebook? Besides providing information, it is a source of constant entertainment during an interminably long day. Eventually, you find that being at home and being at work are much the same – you just have to dress for the latter. However, if you’ve been unemployed for a while, this habit will be a hard one to quit…

…Because before we got this new job, that was precisely how we spent our days.

The final infraction is really the biggest one for employers because it is frequently abused. Chikungunya notwithstanding, no sensible worker will want to have to take sick leave during that first month when you’re still thanking your lucky stars that you have a job.

When you’re more comfortable however, you’ll think it best to take those twelve allowable “sick days” before the year runs out. You might even see them as “personal days”, and think nothing of taking your kids for an ice cream in the middle of the afternoon, or catching an early movie since you’d be off the clock by then anyway.

…Because vacation days are not the only things we don’t want to save up anymore.

Am I talking to myself here?

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