I was recently hired to a non-tech company looking for devs to build an maintain their in house systems. I really don't know how to describe what the company does, but half the people here are sales/custom service (on phones all day) and the other half provide the service being sold (they deal with a lot of paperwork and calls). Out of 150-200 people, I am one of 3 developers. And in the distinct minority of getting paid a salary as opposed to hourly wage.
Anyway, when negotiating the job, I made it very clear that I volunteer my time and that I expected to be able to continue doing so. However, now I am getting push back because I'm leaving fairly early (3 hours) one day a week. I make up the time later in the week, but the response to this is that I miss out of the impromptu meetings and the like when I leave early, as well as the fact that its out of the norm and they want everyone doing the same thing (ie, they don't want me being different). I even got an "if we let you do it, then what about the next guy?".
If not for the fact that my volunteer activity is seasonal (its tutoring/coaching high schoolers), I'd back off and do a few months of solid work before bringing it up. However, if I do that I'm effectively stopped from volunteering until October. completely skipping the bit where I am needed the most with these kids.
There are other things going on like the fact the environment is decidedly not dev friendly (hard to work) and certain policies are ridiculous from a tech point of view. Which all comes together under the question, what can I do about it?
These days the employer/employee relationship is very biased against the employee. On top of that, I am young, which does not help me personally. What I want to know is, how much can I push against the system without risking my job? Can I approach it with the mindset that I'm being paid for 40-45 hours of work a week and that it does not matter how that happens? Or do I need to consider it to be paid to have my butt in a chair from 8-5? What are the reasonable requirements that I must meet with my job, and what are "nice to haves" for the company, that I can ignore if I need to?
To reiterate, I'm getting push-back on something that means a lot to me and was discussed when interviewing. Do I have to fold? Will I lose my job if I don't? Where is the happy medium?