Getting Away With Not Working?

How much time is wasted where you work because people come in late, go home early, call in sick, inept at their job etc? Well the current place I am contracting I have never seen a bunch of employees abuse the system so badly. I won’t say where it is, but let’s just say it’s related to the government. No, I’m not saying people should come into work when they are sick… PLEASE DON’T! But when it seems they take sick time every week it gets kind of suspicious.

To make this more visible here, they usually email when people won’t be around. For the last two weeks, I have kept track of this and here are the results:

9/26
Sam out today.
Jayne will be out the rest of today.

9/27
Nancy will be in late.
Steven out sick.
Tom G working from home.

9/28
Tom G will be in late.

9/29
Jayne will be working from home the rest of today.

9/30
Tom G will be working from home this morning.

10/4
Fred out sick.

10/5
Fred out sick.

10/6
Martin will be in late.
Annie out sick.
Alice will be in late.
Martin went home sick.

This is just what was publicly announced. It does not include people that just came in and out without notice. Plus we have less than 20 people in our department!

If you can believe it, as I was writing this today, here is what happened:

Tom G will be in late.
Fred is out sick (he was out the next day too).
Annie will be in late.
Martin went home sick.

How can a department function with these work ethics going on? Well, it gets worse here. Let me tell you about some of the biggest abusers.

Annie is constantly coming in late, leaving early, calling in sick, taking long lunches and more. Most of here lateness, sick and early departures are due to her kids being sick, taking them to school etc. For the longest time I figured her husband worked long hours and was not around much. But then I found out he is an artist and works at home! So what’s up with him helping out!?!?! One day she had the nerve to bring in one of her sick, coughing and hacking kids and let him run around the office so he could infect the rest of us. I left early that day! When she actually is at work, she can spend an hour or more on the phone chatting with her friends. She disappears for hours during lunch. She also volunteers (a lot) to help out with company activities during work time so she can get out of working and there is more. She is a database administrator and made a huge mistake recently and cost the company 40K+! As the norm around here, nothing happened to her.

Zack is a programmer in our department. I don’t know first hand how good he is, but he has been working on the same project for two years and has not completed the first phase. I was told by another programmer that his project should have taken six months at the most. So why has it been taking him so long? Well maybe because for the last two years he has been working on his real estate license at work. He got his license and now I’m told he devotes around 80% or more of his day running his real estate business from his cube!?!?!

Stephen is another programmer that has been working two years on a project that should have taken him three months. I don’t know what his story is… yet.

Rob is a programmer that skills could be in question. About a year or so ago a hacker broke into the company and stole thousands of teacher and employees personal information (mine included). This made the news. Because of his sloppy programming, he stored this sensitive information in normal text files that anyone could open and read! As usual in this department, nothing happened to Rob after the break-in which has cost the company an untold amount of money.

I can keep going, but in summary, this is a typical government facility if not worse. What I mean by that is once you work here about two years it takes an act of god to fire you. So many people just shut down and wait for retirement (I’m told they have great benefits here).

I usually estimate 90% of the people here are in this mode. The other 10% actually do the work, but it’s very difficult because the other 90% are always trying to stop anything you are trying to do… because it might actually cause them some work.

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