VEXED IN THE CITY
While the boss is away, can the employees go off and play?
DEAR VEXED: As usual, the office largely clears out over August. Of particular interest is the fact that my boss is going to be away in Greece for three weeks. But I’ve already taken my year’s holiday and I’ll be here. Here’s the thing: I’d love to use his holiday as a time to bunk off at work. I’ve been working hard all year after all. Is this fair enough? Or is it unwise to slow down just because the boss is away? Rob, 29, IT and comms
WE’VE just come out of the biggest recession since the Great Depression and only now has some sense of security begun to (tentatively) return to the City. And you’re suggesting “bunking off” while the boss is on hols? Not wise. You’re lucky to still have a job, and by your attitude I’d wager that you might not have one for too terribly long if you continue in this vein.
Right, telling-off over. But I do think you need to sit down and consider what you’re doing with your life such that you’re still thinking like a schoolboy in terms of bunking off when the teacher (or boss) isn’t looking.
Now, take the issues apart. You say you’ve been working hard all year and feel you deserve a break. If you feel that you’re not being compensated for your labour either by time off, promotion, pay or encouragement, then you should ask to speak to your manager about how you can increase your value to the company so that you’re not just blindly labouring away, losing heart.
On a practical, job-safety level, remember that office walls have eyes. Your boss may be technically away, but if he’s anything like my boss, he or she will have one eye on the office. And the office won’t be entirely empty – I presume at least one of your boss’s deputies will be around. Think of those who are left as spies reporting on your performance.
It’s understandable that you see August as prime bunking-off time – it’s true that so many people are away you can get lost (intentionally) between the cracks and sometimes it can be frustrating trying to get anything done as so many people are away. But think of it as a time for creativity, not dossing. Left to take your time over things you can imbuet them with your own imprint. Rather than thinking of how to do your job worse, think of how to do it better. It’ll make you happier in the end. Honest. firstname.lastname@example.org