I've been thinking of changing my shift times from 9am-5pm to 7:30am (or 8) to 4pm, to allow time to do yoga/therapy after work multiple days a week. My question is, will I be looked at as a slacker? I am trying to move up at work and the only advice I get from people is "come early and stay late". However, I would have to give up many healthy activities that I do around 5-6pm in order for me to do that. Is this possible?

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    related: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/44945/… Commented May 14, 2015 at 16:28
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    I say start at 5:30 AM: ) so you can say, "I'VE BEEN HERE SINCE LAST NIGHTTIME DAMMIT" Commented May 14, 2015 at 17:28
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    The sad reality is that too many people that stay later don't respect that you came earlier. It is not fair but it is a reality. A roommate that comes in late might take a position of hey there is bed time rule. But if you up early and wake them up there will be a wake up rule.
    – paparazzo
    Commented May 14, 2015 at 18:00
  • As others mention both here and on the link. There is too many variables. After agreeing to work 9am-5am. I thought this could fall under my favor. But it isn't, my problem is commuting back and forth. In our country, its too damn difficult. This isn't working and end up being so late at work. My best option is to just come to work early that is 7am. and time in at around 9am. When I got home I no longer have life, I just went straight to bed and wake up to work the next morning. This isn't right. It is not worth it. I am not a slacker, I believe. But I must address this. I have to work early.
    – Neon Warge
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 6:43

3 Answers 3


The linked question is great and it addresses the issue of being viewed as a slacker, but I want to address something you brought up which isn't covered in the answers there(at least, not that I saw). You said:

I am trying to move up at work and the only advice I get from people is "come early and stay late". However, I would have to give up many healthy activities that I do around 5-6pm in order for me to do that.

The thing is, this leads to burning out. Which leads to undue stress and anxiety, and makes you less productive overall. This is actually documented in studies and I'll leave that as an exercise for you to find more information.

So "come early and stay late" leads to stress, anxiety, and less productivity just by itself. Then you remove your healthy activities from 5-6PM(or showing up late at 5:10, 5:20?) - so you're effectively taking a huge hit to your health. The question is, is it worth it? In some cases yes, in other cases no. But I don't personally see this as a successful long-term arrangement. You need to take care of your mind and body.

Some wisdom I heard a while ago goes something like this: When you interview, people ask about your work ethic, your experiences, and your drive to succeed. They don't ask how often you burned the midnight oil. The job description tells you how many years of experience you need, but it won't state hours of overtime.

  • "Come in early and stay late" is somewhere between lousy advice and advice that sucks, and it is the kind of advice that I would expect from mediocrities. I agree with @Ryan. At the end of the day, it's what you got done and how much you contributed that makes you stand out. You are not an ox, so don't act, think and work like one. The company offers you flex time for a reason, so take advantage of the offer and you'll make those who offered the flex time look smart for doing it. Make sure that you strategically send those 7 AM emails to let everyone know that you are on the job (1/2) Commented May 15, 2015 at 2:14
  • If I were your colleague, I'd be seriously alienated with you if you showed up at 7 AM and left late, and management were to use you as an example/model for making us show up and early and stay late. Make sure to tell those of your colleagues who act as back seat drivers and who advise you to stay late that you'll stay late IF they are willing to show up at 7AM and stay late. Let's see how many of these holier-than-thou second guessers will take you up on your offer (2/2). Commented May 15, 2015 at 2:20

Let me tell you a story.

About 10 years ago I worked in a role along with a co-worker. It was a flexible environment and I could technically start between 7 and 10 and finish between 4 and 7. I would usually start near 7 and leave around 4 to get my child from nursery, my colleague would saunter in around 10 and stay until late. We had timecards and I always carried the maximum 2 days over (as in I'd worked 2 days more than my contract time per month).

I would come in, spend the first 2 hours fixing production issues from overnight, then do my normal work. My colleague would fire up the games as soon as the bosses left at 5 and play into the night. If there were deadlines I'd stay when required.

Who would be greeted with "half day then?" when I left? Not the games master who spent 1/3 of his day on other pursuits.

The answer, I started over communicating what I was doing. When I came into issues at 7 I made sure everyone was emailed so they knew I was on it then. When most people came in at 9 I made sure I was going for a coffee break as I'd been SO busy for the last couple of hours, took my lunch as soon as core hours allowed (as I had been in since silly o'clock, and it would be like going at 2pm if I came in when everyone else did!..) and then communicated about all my achievements at home time. After about a month they got the message and I could settle down. They never did rumble the games master though....

  • We had someone like your games master that actually was praised by our CIO in an all hands. We all knew he didn't come in until noon or so, so he had better have been there at 7 o'clock at night. My co-worker that came it at 6:30 a.m. everyday was livid. Commented May 14, 2015 at 21:12
  • Funnily enough there was an article on Havard Business Review that said if you have the choice be the early bird as late ones are seen as slackers even if they do the same work. My experience is opposite, be the last one standing and everyone will be in awe of just how much you need to put in. Commented May 15, 2015 at 9:50

The somewhat sad reality is that you could potentially be looked upon as a slacker.

But that would be less likely if the word spreads that you are an efficient worker, and it is well-known that you simply get a lot done.

someone may stay from 7:00 AM til 11:00 PM every day and just fritter away the time on chitchat and social media.

And someone else may manage to work super-effectively with a fraction of the time.

But in the end, alot of this depends on your specific workplace. If everyone else stays from 9 AM til 7 or 8 PM, then probably you could be in trouble.

Many variables

Edit: Yes, the linked post is excellent. Surely you can mention that you arrive to work 7:30 AM. Maybe ask them "hey remind me again , what time did you arrive here today?"

As long as management is OK then you'll be Ok

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