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We have to collaborate with someone based in India. As a project deadline is closing in, we started to have daily 8 am meetings. I'm a night owl. I usually wake up around 10:30, and leave work at around 7:30 to 8. Waking up at 8 really throws me off my schedule leaving me sleepy and unproductive for the whole day. I know this isn't "normal" but it works best for me.

As the most junior attendee of these meetings, what would be the most polite way to request flipping the schedule? I think it makes more sense anyways if we were the ones attending at 9 pm, so that the others call in at 10 am. Why not place the "smaller" time gap in the day rather than the night so that they don't have to stay up later and we don't have to get up earlier?

  • Do other coworkers have the same problem? Perhaps this is a problem that only you have, and others are perfectly fine with the hour. Still, these meetings seem to be temporary, so perhaps you could consider sticking to waking up earlier (and perhaps sleep earlier) until the project is completed. – DarkCygnus Feb 16 at 1:39
  • Are you based in Europe or North America? What time is it in India when the call is made. – Bernhard Feb 16 at 5:28
  • Daily meetings at 9:00 pm? Wouldn't that ruin everyone's social life? – John Wu Feb 16 at 7:31
  • (1) Programmers, and professionals in general can't be "night owls". It sounds harsh but "you're not 10 years old", you can't ever say "gee I'm tired". (2) That being said, in general 8am is a silly time for a meeting. Folks in India (like me when I'm there) know that they have to keep overseas hours; that should be the case here. (3) you can only (politely) email the boss "8am seems strange to me" (4) as a junior you have no say. programmers end up making a small fortune, so, suck it up – Fattie Feb 16 at 16:26
  • @Fattie, why is 8am a silly meeting time? It's pretty routine at my company. As you say, programmers are paid well, so it wouldn't even cross my mind to say 8am is strange. – Catsunami Feb 17 at 16:15
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Your only chance to "flip" that meeting if most participants agree and if it makes sense. If the meeting is more a "hand over" on what the India team has worked on, and your team is supposed to finish up on that, changing the meeting time isn't going to work.

Assuming changing the meeting to evening hours is even an option, approach your team members informally, and ask how they feel about changing. If you coworkers aren't appreciative, then it ends there. If you have overwhelming support, then it's time to bring it up with your manager and the India team.

As a project deadline is closing in

But this makes we wonder, why bother changing? Is it worth the hassle for what is a temporary situation?

I usually wake up around 10:30, and leave work at around 7:30 to 8.

Count your blessings that you work at a company where this is possible. I currently work for a company which gives me lots of flexibility to plan my hours, and I've worked for such companies in the past. I would never dream to jeopardize the company giving me flexibility by not being flexible when it comes to some early meetings at the close of a project.

And finally, have you considered dialing in for a conference call (or use Skype or whatever you use to do remote meetings) from home? You'd even be able to return to bed after the meeting.

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9 pm might similarly not work for other team members, who prefer getting to work and leaving early, so I don't think it's a solution.

Speak to the meeting organizer and see if you can call in from home so that you don't have to be at the office at 8 am (which I guess you're already doing since you mention waking up at 8). Otherwise, see if your daily presence in these meetings is actually mandatory - given how inconvenient the schedule is the management should ensure people don't waste time in these meetings and only attend if it's helpful for them.

If nothing of the above works you'd have to adjust your schedule temporarily until the project is over.

  • He clearly writes he wakes up at 10.30. The 8 o'clock he mentions is when he leaves work, which I presume is 8 PM. – Abigail Feb 16 at 8:27
  • @Abigail Waking up at 8 really throws me off my schedule leaving me sleepy and unproductive for the whole day – Egor Feb 16 at 15:25
  • "Calling in from home" is a fantastic and useful solution here - good one. – Fattie Feb 16 at 16:36
  • Honestly if a project I was on suddenly required me to stay at work until 9pm, I would be quite upset. Many people have families and evenings plans. Coming in to work at 8am is pretty normal (it is certainly closer to business hours of 9-5 than 9pm is). – Catsunami Feb 17 at 16:12
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To specifically answer your question:

As the most junior attendee of these meetings, what would be the most polite way to request flipping the schedule?

  1. All you can do is politely ask.

  2. Point out that it is totally normal for engineers in India to deal with unusual times, so it shouldn't be a problem making it a more normal (for you guys) time, particularly considering there are "more of you"

  3. Whatever you do. Do not mention any of the nonsense about you being "tired" etc

As I say in a comment, it sounds harsh but for better or worse, now that you're a professional, the idea that you're "not a morning person" (rofl) or "sleepy" (poor heart) is, not something you can ever mention again. For better or worse that's the case.

Put it in a box and make it a happy memory from when you were as student, teen, etc. Programmers are ridiculously well-paid professionals, and indeed dealing with remote issues is one of the primary incidental professionalisms you have to exhibit.

So, in answer to your question, all you can do is raise the idea politely. (But whatever you do don't mention the fact that you're "sleepy").

One danger: do you work in a "I'm working for a famous entrepreneur" startup type situation? If so, be aware that 100.00% of "shark-tank" like successful tycoons get up at 4am or earlier and work their guts out early in the morning, and they've done that since they were 12 years old. If this is the situation, perhaps be careful that if you even hint you "don't like mornings" to such a person, it will be a huge black mark. :O

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