Are you opposed to working past 5pm?

For once, I had an uneventful weekend. I had plans to go out Friday but was seduced by what I like to call a coma nap. I fell asleep at 5 p.m. with the intent of rising at 9 p.m. to meet with Alec and company at Black Finn, but the whole waking  up on schedule thing didn’t exactly happen. After an exhausting week, I simply wanted to catch up on sleep. I chose not to do anything Saturday either, so I browsed the Internet’s fun women’s blogs.

For the past year, my favorite women’s-relates sites have been Jezebel, HuffPost Women, Gawker, TheFrisky, TheHairpin, Salon’s life section, XOJane, YourTango, and Glamour, but I recently added a new blog to the mix: The Grindstone. Part of B5Media, The Grindstone focuses on young women in the workplace.

The site has some hysterical entries like, “Work  Isn’t A Sorority Ladies: Sharing Personal Details Can Be A Detriment” and deals with frequently debated issues such as giving up one’s career for a guy, but the most interesting story I’ve seen so far is, “Pardon Me But I Refuse To Work Past 5 O’ Clock“.

For one, I’m of the opposite mentality, but I’m also much different than Ms. Lindsay Cross, the writer of the post. She’s a working mom and has to pick up her daughter from daycare by 5:30 whereas I don’t have children or a husband. Before accepting her job, she made it clear that she needed the freedom to leave everyday at a 5 o’ clock, so her co-workers shouldn’t make her feel bad about it. Naturally they do, and while I sympathize with the frustration of putting in extra hours as someone else sticks to the bare minimum, Ms. Cross made her requests known from the beginning. It’s highly annoying to have to explain that kind of thing more than once.

Though I often show up to work a half hour early and take off later than my designated leave time, I respect Ms. Cross’s reasoning. Growing up, I always went to daycare, which is a miserable but necessary rite of passage. I had the chance to interact with kids all day, play outside, and run around the playground, all of which were much more beneficial to me than the television time I had on weeknights. Though I enjoyed having adventures with friends at afterschool daycare, I hated being the last kid picked up. All of my friends went home earlier than I, especially my closest buddy Alyson Herme. Her dad usually arrived at the school around 4 p.m. I always felt loneliest upon Alyson’s departure, mostly because I had at least another hour and a half until my parents would collect me. More often than not, they came later than all the other parents. At least once a week, they showed up at closing time, causing even the daycare employees to think my folks had forgotten about me. When the daycare hours extended to 7 p.m., my parents decided to work even later, so I know the pains of waiting for hours on end for my mom and dad. Props to Ms. Cross for ensuring that she doesn’t leave her little girl waiting forever at daycare.

Alyson, her little sister, and me circa 2003!

Such a restrictive schedule probably won’t help her get ahead at work, but as long as Ms. Cross recognizes that, she should have her needs met. In our workhorse culture, that’s no way to a promotion.

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2 thoughts on “Are you opposed to working past 5pm?

  1. Hey Laura, it’s Ms. Lindsay Cross. I just want to say thanks for taking the time to read The Grindstone and for the understanding you’ve shown about my post. I realize that lots of people work intensely long hours because they are dedicated to their job and want to move up. While I do enjoy my job, it’s simply not my only priority. I just wanted to say thank you, because it’s not very often that people take the time to look at things from both sides. And this post makes me want to be a little more understanding when I’m dealing with the people who will be staying til 6 and simply don’t understand why I can’t join them. After all, they’re just operating with their own priorities too.

  2. Hi Lindsay, thank you for your intriguing post and comment. I totally understand where you’re coming from and think it’s great that you’re dedicated to a balanced life. You made it clear from the beginning that you need to leave work at a specific time, so the others should respect that. It would be problematic if you hadn’t mentioned it prior to your hiring, but you went out of your way to find a job with flexible hours. Like I said, it probably won’t help you get ahead right now, but family comes first! There’s not much to understand about the folks who stay late. Most just want to go above and beyond. I do it but wouldn’t shame someone for taking off ON TIME and wanting to have a life outside the office. If you’re happy with your own work performance and life, you don’t need to berate someone else’s choices. They may just be jealous you have people to go home to.

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