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How Do You Handle This?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pete Incaviglia, May 7, 2008.

  1. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    A while ago, my SE ticked me off regarding my hours worked. Heck, I can't even remember what it was about now, but I started logging every single minute I work. It used to be that if I worked nine hours one day, I worked seven the next — so long as I was working 40 hours a week, I didn't care. And I knew there would be times it would be more than 40 in a week, but I knew there would come a time it would be less. But, for whatever reason (like I said, I can't remember) my boss called it into question, so I started working my 7.5 hours a day every day and asking for OT every time I work it. This has been going on for about three months now — maybe more.

    Then, Monday night, I leave a half hour early knowing I have to call someone a half hour before my shift started Tuesday. I stop by my SE's desk on the way out and say "I'm leaving now, but I'll be in early tomorrow to make that phone call." He knew about the call and said okay.

    It was the first time I've left early with plans of making up the time the next day in about three months. Because, I distinctly remember my SE saying, at the time of our disagreement, "If you ask for OT, you're expected to stay your whole shift every day." I was cool with that.

    Tuesday, my last shift of my work week, I come in early, like was planned and discussed. I then work one hour overtime because a game I was covering a) started late and b) went way, way long.

    I email the OT request to the SE (hell, deskers and news folks are always paid OT, and I'm entitled to it). And the SE responds with one sentence — no other words — just: Didn't you leave early Monday?

    Like, how do I handle this? I simply replied with what I just described, in a condensed version. But is it just me, or is this totally dickish of him to ask. I've been here two years, I've never pulled one over on anyone, not even when "management" isn't around on weekends. And I have no need to scam the company — especially of what, $30 extra dollars, before taxes? Give me a fucking break.

    Rant over. Opinions wanted.
     
  2. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Active Member

    Sounds like it's his way of sticking it to you because you're nit-picking about working exactly the amount of hours you're being paid for and no more. I'm not saying it's right but I've never got really picky about an hour or so of OT because there are plently of times I don't put in my full work week. Plenty of times I put in more. I figure it usually evens out, especially during slowtimes.
     
  3. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    Honestly, I think you let it go.

    Especially in this economy.

    I never really worried that much about an hour or two.

    Oh, and yes, he was being a dick.
     
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Pete,

    There are a couple different dynamics here.

    One is that it doesn't matter if you work 30 minutes one day and 18 hours the next, the federal law is you get paid overtime if you work more than 40 hours in a week. So working 7 hours one day is a non-factor.

    I don't understand if you are a writer or work the desk and write some, too, but one thing that could drive a SE crazy is a clock watching writer. Is he supposed to pay you 8 hours OT because you sat by the phone waiting in vain for the coach to call one day?

    If you went strictly by to book and documented every minute that you worked (which definitely would include calling coaches while at home, driving to games, etc.) the reality is that you would soon be more trouble than you are worth.

    That said, I really don't understand why it matters what your shift is and what time you leave. Do you have to be in the office to do all your work? If you are counting hours you are at your desk working, that's pretty cut and dry.

    However, if you are regularly getting OT, you better be producing.

    My suggestion to you would be to have a talk and get this cleared up. But don't be confrontational. I would think he would want you to leave early a day or two rather than get more OT.
     
  5. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Just so we're clear, I never used to care about my hours. I used to work whatever I thought I was roughly 40 hours a week. Like I said, sometimes 60 one week and 30 the next. And then, one day when I left early, it became an issue to the SE — but it was never an issue for him to expect me to stay late. Never.

    So, when that happened. It was time to get paid for every minute. Because if it's "okay" to stay late, but not to leave early, then I want to get paid for my work.

    And yes, he should pay me for waiting for a coach to call back. Or, take the call himself if I go home. And that's not going to happen. Ever.

    Oh, Ace, we're a union shop, so anything more than 7.5 in one day is OT. And, like I said, it was never issue until he made it one three months ago. As for producing, I am. And I've asked for exactly 4.5 hours of OT in 2008, including Tuesday's one hour. So, like I said, I'm not screwing the company, the section or my SE.
     
  6. pressmurphy

    pressmurphy Member

    It's time for you and the SE to sit down and hammer out a truce.

    Let him know where you're coming from and refresh his memory about the incident that sent you down this path a couple months ago. Help him to understand that you don't want to be a clockwatcher but also don't want to be taken advantage of. Let him know that you're willing to be flexible (within the rules of the bargaining agreement) and just want some assurance that he's willing to be accommodating as well.

    It's no fun working in an environment with resentment that threatens to boil over into hostility at any moment. And, being a rung lower on the toem pole, you're going to lose the overall head-to-head battle 10 times out of nine.

    Fix the situation while its still possible.
     
  7. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    I was flexible. When I was hired, it was HE who suggested "I don't care what you work, as long as the work gets done." Then, 15 months later, he's pissed 'cause I left early one day after working later the day before. That's what sent me over the edge. And it wasn't even like something didn't get done. He was just mad I wasn't at my desk when he came around the corner with an hour of work to go.

    As far as talking to him? He's the most unapproachable, unrelenting, least understanding man I've worked for.
     
  8. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    Are you a writer? If so, why the hell would you be at your desk anyway? Go out, find a story, and then the SE won't know how many hours you worked, because you were out in the field.
     
  9. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Couple reasons. 1) We aren't allowed to work from home. 2) We don't file from venues in town. The arena is within walking distance. As are the baseball and football stadiums. All writing is done at the office, unless I'm at a road game.

    That's why I'd be at my desk. Oh, and to write my weekly column.
     
  10. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Old editor to young reporter: "What are you doing in the office? There aren't any stories in the office. Get out and find a story!"

    Every manager I've had who required writers to keep office hours was, deep down, a douchebag. They are middle-level muckety-mucks who have no conception of how to measure a writer's output (quality and quantity), so they resort to measuring input. Get away from bosses like that as quick as you can, because they can really mess you up.
     
  11. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Like the others on this thread say, have a talk with the boss. And I agree, don't make a fuss if it's an hour or two of OT. Sometimes, things happen, and you have something extra to finish. That's one thing.

    Now, if they want you to work 60 and get paid for 40, that's a different matter. That's your time, and as the old saying goes, time is money. If they want you to put in all that time, then they better be paying you for it.
     
  12. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    So go where you've got to go, and if anyone asks, say you were interviewing someone for a story, or networking with the team you cover, etc, etc, etc.
     
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