The thread may be useful for anyone who is considering working from home or having a flexible schedule (e.g., working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days a week). I know why these options are appealing, especially for someone who lives a busy life outside of work. But I’m noticing something happening in my office. I want to see if my observations are accurate and whether others have seen the same thing.
I have a coworker. Let’s call her Clarisse. The two of us know GIS quite well, but unlike me, her job title is “GIS specialist”. She has formal training in it. She’s pretty good in it. I’m pretty good at it too, but my job duties are much broader. So I’m not the GIS expert in our office. My expertise is something else.
Clarisse works four tens. She’s never in the office on Fridays. I work a normal 9-to-5 day, five days a week.
For the past couple of months, our office has been dealing with an environmental disaster (literally) that has kept our boss on his toes. If the press calls with a question, he runs to whomever is at hand to help him with a response. For some reason, this keeps happening on Fridays. I know not to stray too far from my desk because of this. I’ve been called upon to do some some nifty GIS work that Clarisse would normally be tasked with. It’s been fun stuff and my boss has been generous with kudos. I’ve also gotten a token “bonus” out of it. But every time I’m doing a task in this arena, I start thinking about Clarisse.
So now that my GIS skills have been showcased, coworkers keep coming by to help with their projects. I’m a “GIS guru” now. And I’m loving it. I love making maps and I love that people like how I present their information. I like the professional connections I’m making with others. But I also feel guilty.
Clarisse once told me she feels underappreciated. I hate to say it, but she’s got good cause to feel this way. She used to be the one person on the floor who knows GIS. But now she has competition–someone who works Fridays.
So I guess I have seen the downside of working a flexible schedule. If you are not around when the boss needs you the most, you might as well not even be there. I guess if I was advising someone on whether they should work four tens or not, I would tell them to make sure there’s no one who can steal their thunder.
Have you noticed any other downside?