To every thing there is a season
So what's the real issue here?
"Coming in early sucks!"
Only you've already told us:
I get in at 09:00 every day
"Not getting to leave after 8 hours sucks!"
Only you've already told us:
I stay late to address issues that always manifest themselves five minutes before we're all due to go home
As the old story goes...
They are telling this of Lord Beaverbrook and a visiting Yankee
actress. In a game of hypothetical questions, Beaverbrook asked the
lady: ‘Would you live with a stranger if he paid you one million
pounds?’ She said she would. ‘And if be paid you five pounds?’ The
irate lady fumed: ‘Five pounds. What do you think I am?’ Beaverbrook
replied: ‘We’ve already established that. Now we are trying to
determine the degree.’
Guess what: you've already compromised. Your reputation as a law-abiding by-the-book employee has already been tarnished. We are now discussing boundaries.
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
So you want to set a boundary. You want to say, "This is not proper". And that's healthy. Setting boundaries is an important part of every relationship. I don't question your intent, I question your timing. You say:
we have a big project on which will cost the company lots of money if it fails.
That means this is Crunch Time for the company, and your actions will speak more loudly than during a quiet period when there is some wiggle-room.
In exchange for 30 minutes of "Personal Time" when you are in the office anyway, this is what you are risking:
- If you suddenly decide to Work-to-Rule, regardless of if you can be fired or not, a reasonable conclusion could be, "he runs when we need him most".
- If you decide to refuse to comply until your demands are met, a reasonable conclusion could be, "he uses crises as a negotiation tactic".
Is this a trade you want to make?
A time to rend, and a time to sow; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm suggesting that you show up for the meetings now, and pick a better time to draw those boundaries. And this sounds like a fantastic opportunity to set up that conversation. Sow the seeds for success in three weeks. Working life is long enough that you can put something on hold for that long.
Step 1: Write an E-mail
Hey Boss, it's Spences. I know that it's crunch time for our company
right now, and I'll show up at 9am every day for the meetings so we
can get our ducks in a line and get through this project on time.
Once things have quieted down in three weeks and we've successfully
weathered the storm, I'd like to have a chat. Please schedule in an
hour at one of these times: (insert times here)
See you at 9am!
Step 2: Actually Weather the Crisis
Show up, do your job, amaze the dickens our of your coworkers, be a pillar of security in a time of crisis, and generally kick butt. Or at least manage to be solid (if outstanding is beyond your capability). At any rate, don't call in sick, show up late, leave early, or come in hungover.
Step 3: Prepare for the Chat
So once you've made it through these three weeks and come out unscathed, it's time to prepare for that chat with the boss you promised. What do you actually want? What reasoning do you have to justify getting what you want?
For instance, if you do the math:
30 minutes/day x 60 minutes/hour x 15 days = 7.5 hours = 1 work day
I'd be all about getting a free day off, which is well within the power of your boss to do (most likely), and not very transparent to other colleagues which may be of concern to the boss.
You may have a different goal. Perhaps you want to go to some conference? Or a seminar? Or otherwise get some sort of perk that isn't time off.
Step 4: Have the Chat
Preface the chat with the obvious:
Hey boss, thanks for meeting up with me. Over the past few weeks I've been working hard, doing X, Y, and Z to get this project out the door in time. It was a crazy few weeks, but I really think it was a good experience for us and the team.
As you know, I brought up a few concerns about coming in early for three weeks. Rather than argue about it at the time, I figured it was more important for the company to get the project done first so we can discuss this without that pressure hanging over our heads.
I'm more than happy to be flexible when the company needs me, but I hope that in return the company can acknowledge that extra effort. As you can see, I've worked a lot of extra overtime over the past three weeks, and I was hoping that you could work out a way to get me an extra vacation day so I can spend time with my family.
And then listen. And discuss. And negotiate. Like humans. Like coworkers.
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
At the end of the day, you may or may not get what you want. But at the very least you will have shown that you are positive, given it the good ol' college try, and can make a fair unbiased judgment on how you want to proceed given the results.
Short-term gain always seems so tempting. Just ask the kids in the Marshmallow Experiment. But at the end of the day you achieve more success with a longer term view and patience.
Patience is a lot easier when the goal (or at least "action") is already put on the calendar while you have to be patient. That's why sending the e-mail now saying you will discuss it later will likely help you out.
Of course, you could also just keep your mouth shut until the project is over and then sit down and have an adult chat with your boss about it, but in this case (given your seeming lack of patience currently), I advised the above multi-pronged approach.