Posted by : Halima Khait Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Many people who know me know I've been having some difficulty with my supervisor of the past nine months. One of our issues has been my attendance.
My previous supervisor wasn't a stickler for time. She knew I'm a hard worker with high standards for my work product and that I'll do what it takes to deliver something I'm proud of. Oftentimes, this meant working long office hours, continuing to work from home once I "got off," monitoring my Blackberry on evenings and weekends and working 20 hour days when on business travel. It was not something that was required of me, but because my last supervisor didn't expect it, but was so appreciative of it, it motivated me to work harder to support her as best I could. So we had an understanding, I had office hours of 8:30-5, but she didn't trip if I got in at 9. And if nothing was going on around the office, she'd release me to go home in the evening an hour or two early.
I got spoiled.
When my new supervisor came onboard, she quickly made it clear she wants me to account for every moment I am on the clock. Her reasoning is she is signing my time card to verify I worked 40 hours a week, so she needs to be sure I'm actually doing so. My counterargument: I work more than 40 hours a week, but don't claim it (for overtime or compensatory leave) because I enjoy what I do. Being the low person on the totem pole, we all know the end result. I was informed I could not work outside of my office hours without prior authorization, that I must be in the office from 8:30-5 and that I have to check in when I arrive in the morning and when I leave in the evening - in person if my supervisor is in the office or by e-mail if she's on travel. Tight leash that's contributed to huge amounts of tension between she and I.
Imagine my shock when I checked my personal e-mail last night and had a message from my supervisor asking if I wanted to arrive 30 minutes later than normal today because my check-out e-mail yesterday evening was time stamped 30 minutes later than my usual departure time. I had to stay late to deliver a priority product with a tight deadline. I replied by thanking her for the offer, but let her know I planned to arrive at my normal time because I have another project I'm working on and I wanted to get as early of a start as possible on it.
It has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get here and I'm under no pretense as to the cause of the offer. This is all an ongoing process that I can't get into online, but it does have me thinking about the nature of people. Initially, I concluded that when left to their own devices, people will do the right thing. Very naive, but in my defense, I had just woken up when I came up with it.
A couple hours and a couple cups of coffee later, I've come to two summations about the nature of people:
1) We love blanket ideas because we believe they protect us. For example, it's easy for my supervisor to have a blanket distrust for her employees. Perhaps she got burned in the past by an employee with dishonest time keeping methods, so now she thinks it's in her best interest to distrust all her employees and treat them accordingly.
2) When left to their own devices, people will do what it's in their character to do.
These bullets are completely juxtaposed because the second asks for us to release our proclivity towards the first; release our tendency towards blanket ideas in favor of handling each person and situation on an individual basis. And perhaps therein lies true human nature - juxtaposition.

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