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I have a side job where the office I report to is in another city. I used to work for them close to full time, but now I have a different job. Since it was such a great company to work with I still do small projects where they need someone physically in my location.

I recently worked with a different team of theirs and they sent me to a client site. Things went terrible. A lot of the instructions I was provided didn't work. One big thing was the client's security was supposed to show me around but they said they didn't know I was coming. I told them I could reschedule when things were better arranged but it seemed like they wanted to argue and make a problem. They eventually found the email that said told them I was coming and to let me in. In fairness, my manager should have provided me with a name for an on site contact. As such security had more trouble looking up this email. They still said things like "your work is going to take a long time so we can't help you!".

My question is: should I mention this in my report to management? If yes, how should I phrase it? I guess "security did not help or assist me as per my instructions" is better than "I found them rude".

I work as an employee who reports my own work hours. Since nothing was accomplished (aside from the fact that I can tell them things aren't what they think) should I still get paid for my time there?

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    Setting around and waiting for security to let you in and show you around is working. Possibly with the exception that you are a contractor and the delay was your fault, but it seems that wasn't the case. If that client is a different company, your manager will bill them.
    – gnasher729
    Mar 29 at 13:26
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    "In fairness, my manager should have provided me with a name for an on site contact." - Definitely. Why didn't you ask for a contact person before your visit? I would recommend to ask your manager for a contact person the next time.
    – D34M0N
    Mar 29 at 22:44
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    Why wouldn't you inform your manager of client visit went? Especially of issues that could be handled better for your next visit. Mar 30 at 9:37
  • what's the point of your first paragraph? it's not related to your question at all, is it?
    – Ivo
    Apr 1 at 13:18

3 Answers 3

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There are two things to be mentioned here:

  1. Definitely report this, but do not appear to be finger-pointing at someone. Report the incident as it happened without blaming anyone. You can say something like

    There was a communication gap about my visit. The local security team had no idea I was going to be present, as they had not seen the email regarding my visit. Since they were not actively aware of any prior information, it took much longer than necessary to confirm I was allowed to visit. Unfortunately, since they had no no plans chalked up for my visit, the visit itself was not fruitful, as they did not have any time and effort budgeted for me to have a look around. What can be done to avoid this in future? How can I help?

  2. Definitely charge for the time you spent (extra), it was not your fault that the arrangements were not in place.

That said, next time before you plan to visit a site, please ask for a point of contact at the site, and call them up before (with enough time in hand so that any missing arrangement can be accommodated) you actually visit to ensure things are in order. This can help in avoiding surprises and ensure all are in the same page.

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    Blameless post-mortems: not just a software development concept. It doesn't matter who is at fault, only that the problem is identified and you take steps to make sure it doesn't happen in the future. Love your first point.
    – Seth R
    Mar 30 at 16:08
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My question is: should I mention this in my report to management? If yes, how should I phrase it? I guess "security did not help or assist me as per my instructions" is better than "I found them rude".

Yes, having documentation like that can be important. It is very well possible that this blows up and becomes a "your word against theirs" situation. In such cases, people tend to put more trust in the person whose word they heard first.

When you report it, avoid subjectivity like "they were rude". Causing problems for people who try to sneak onto the premise without authorization is literally the job description of a security guard. Focus on the objective problem instead, like "The security wasn't properly informed that I would visit the site, leading to losing precious time".

I work as an employee who reports my own work hours. Since nothing was accomplished (aside from the fact that I can tell them things aren't what they think) should I still get paid for my time there?

Of course. They paid for your time, and you delivered as promised. When they didn't use your time well due to being disorganized, then that's on them.

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Yes. I suggest that you have short format report form for all client visits: what went well, what didn't go well, things to do better next time.

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