Where to draw the line... - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Where to draw the line...

I'm sure some of you guys can relate to me being involved in a service related job. I'm salary and get paid a set amount twice per month. I do make some overtime money only if I travel over a weekend. The boss is pretty flexibale with comp days and just as long as I let him know far enough ahead of time vacation time is rarely ever an issue.

I work in a field involving outdoor and indoor warning. This involves technical work, commissioning, troubleshooting, setup and training for a wide variety of customers... Including Military, Municipal, Government, Nuclear, Industrial, College Campuses and the list goes on and on.

My travel can get a little extensive at times so I'm dealing with customers in extremely different time zones. Some customers understand and respect the time zone difference, others don't. So obviously I get phone calls and emails at all hours asking questions and troubleshooting. I could answer emails and phone calls all day and all night. I'm also doing engineering work in the office helping to design new products and answering our tech support line so I could stay at work until who knows what hour and still have work to do.

I'm not complaining about lack of work. I am however wondering where to draw the line. My old man always told me to seperate work and my personal life. This job has more than entered to my personal life. I don't have a problem working long hours on the road / traveling to get a job done. But at home I feel like I should work 8ish to 5ish and call it quits. Home and my personal life is important and I don't get paid anything extra to stay late.

Thoughts? Similar situations?

Thanks for reading.

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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:40 PM
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Funny!

I have to deal with this same situation this week.
No need to trade stories.

Monday through Friday is a grey area.
When I am home, the phone is off and the world can go pound sand.

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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:42 PM
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I don't mind quick emails outside of work hours, but that's about it. Try it for a week. Just don't answer the phone or emails and see if you are still getting shit done. If not, you might have to bite the bullet and work extra for free, or ask for a justified raise.

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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:45 PM
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:47 PM
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Its different for everyone . I had a guy complaining to me one time that he worked until 7pm one day ! Really ? I lost a little respect for him at that point . I think the business you are in , it might be normal to get a call at 2am for trouble shooting issues . I would think you guys have an on call system of some kind so that one guy , like you , doesnt have to take all the calls all the time .

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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:53 PM
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For me, and my wife for that matter, it's a part of the new business model. People expect instant gratification. I would generally answer email after hours, but not phone. My wife depending on who will do both after work hours.
In your case with international customers, I would email/call back when it is normal buisness for YOU, and politely let them know that you will get back to them in a timely matter, but not in the middle of the night.
Another note, has your buisness thought about a manned troublecall phone or email/web service? Would definatly take the pressure off the techs.

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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:54 PM
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I'm very lucky to be in a prof. well paid job that pays us our hourly rate any time over 40 hrs (straight time). That's the beauty of design engineering. The downside is that if there is no work, we get laid off pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I cannot bank extra hrs instead of getting them paid out.

Ironically if I was working as an engineering manager in a production facility, I'd probably be making a little less but working a boat load of extra unpaid time. It kind of goes with the territory once you're a manager well into the 6 figs.

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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:56 PM
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sounds like youre half way to understanding being self employed

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:57 PM
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I work in the service field and work out of my house (have an office, just only go there once a year or so)

For me, work and personal time tend to blend together. Because I work a somewhat flexible schedule I often times find myself working later in the evening / starting earlier in the morning, etc.

Honestly, if you have a strong relationship with your boss, ask him. If he has done your job, he probably understands the associated frustrations. I wouldn't ask for a raise, just ask nicely, hey when is enough too much, or something along those lines. If you can approach your boss honestly, and he believes that you are being sincere he should understand. If you don't have that form of relationship with him/her, than you probably should go at it more business like and ask for more money, or set guidelines for the existing money.

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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:58 PM
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I would agree about your thoughts on the schedule for when you are in-town; however, validity of that depends on your situation. Is it expected of you to service a client 24/7/365? Will you lose a client if you only make your self available 8 or 10hrs a day?

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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 01:07 PM
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 01:25 PM

 
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Stanimal is right. Every persona and every industry is different.

Do you know the rocks around the power pole by pit out at Road America? I've worked remotely from those rocks. I'm of the opinion, without the customer, I don't have work. If I am supposed to be off, I make sure I have coverage, but help out where I can. If I'm on vacation or on a trip.

If you have a 9-5 job where you go in, work and go home, that's one thing. In many other industries it's different. Sometimes the flexibility, comp time and other things are the compensation for stepping up when needed.

Only you can decide what is right for you.

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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 01:35 PM
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If you are not designated as on-call by your work, you don't have to respond. We have set on-call hours. If I am on call, I am obligated to respond. If I am not on call, it is my choice. We have offices all over the world and I get emails all the time. If something isn't down and I'm not on call, I don't deal with it most of the time.

Perhaps you need to discuss an on-call schedule with your employers. I am on for 2 weeks and off for 3 weeks basically. However, there are others in my group that cover those 3 weeks. Are you the only one who is capable of responding to these requests?

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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 01:51 PM
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Just charge up your credit cards with cash advances and file BK and we'll ride MX for the next year or two. Working is for the birds. Let's do this bro.
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 01:57 PM
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I was in the same situation before going the self-employed route. Obviously now I'm available just about 24-7...but when I was working for an employer, I always either turned my phone off when I got home or left it in the truck. That said, you just have to be aware of what's going on with your jobs, as I'm sure you do. There were always times when I had to be available for various reasons...but for the most part, weekends and evenings were mine.

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post #16 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 02:06 PM
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I have a global job and deal with the time zone thing ... most people will "train" to your availability.

It doesn't mean they wont try to bend the rules.

"Normal" business hours are 7A - 5P ish.

Occasional deviations to accommodate Europe or Asia need to happen.

Weekends are sacred Ground .... Home from 5 Friday - 8 AM Monday.

If it's been an intrusive week ... I try to wrap up a little early on Fridays.


In the evenings I am not generally reachable.


You have to find and enforce balance.



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post #17 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 02:12 PM
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Good thread.

In this economy, one has to take extra steps to keep a position, whether its a low paying job or a professional.

Being a young professional in my case, you have to comprise and find the right balance.

I once had a last minute meeting request on a Friday night that I took from a Hookah bar over Citrix.

You gotta do what you gotta do.

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post #18 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 02:19 PM
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Thats one reason why I would never work salary. They have you by the balls.


Hourly on the other hand you can kinda make ur hours, sometimes


Me I probably have the best job I would ever want. My hours are 7-3 M-F and oncall 24-7 and I get paid for being on call but really never do get called. Maybe once every other month and its usuall just a quick phone call to answer a question at 5pm.

What I work is a totally different story.
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post #19 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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I can honestly say that the company I work for has treated me very well over the years. Management has also treated me well. They do understand and respect my personal life. I have gone the extra mile quite a bit and they take care of me with comp time or some extra cash. Honestly the comp time is often worth more to me than the comp pay.

I am not necessarilly designated to be on call but a lot of the time I am the only one that can help a customer because I was on that particular job or I had dealt directly with that customer.

I have troubleshot issues in between sessions at the race track, on vacation and on holidays. We are dealing with potential life saving warning systems so I feel obligated to make sure the customers are comfortable and the systems I have dealt with are working properly. For example if an oil refinary has an H2S leak and their siren doesn't go off people die. If on the alert pad at Hickham / Pearl Harbor if they scramble fighter jets and the PA doesn't work people get toasted by a jet blast.

We just need more resources. We need more people in our department. Unfortunately to train someone on all this stuff is going to be very very time consuming to get someone up to speed.

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post #20 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 03:09 PM
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Unfortunately it is a line that has to be drawn from day one, if you just stop after doing it for so long you could be seen as not being a team player all of a sudden.
Perfect example. We have a few kiss asses at work who come in for a few hrs on Saturday because the boss does. I never have, weekends are mine. Once or twice a year I will come in on Saturday if we are having outside work done on the building, ie carpet cleaning or some other work that requires me to be there. Well, when this happens the president tells the GM to make sure I get a comp day for coming in. Fuckin pisses them off, they come in every weekend with no reward and if they do not she puts a guilt trip on them. My point is that she expects them too since they started this habit and thinks nothing of it, when I do it it is seen as out of the ordinary and I get rewarded.

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post #21 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
We just need more resources. We need more people in our department. Unfortunately to train someone on all this stuff is going to be very very time consuming to get someone up to speed.
Maybe you should approach the powers that be and explain your position about needing more help. Put a positive spin on it the whole time.
"We are really growing and I am excited about the direction we are going. However with this growth comes compromise. It is getting a bit difficult for me to dedicate my full attn to engineering and product development and at the same time insure that our customers get the support they deserve. If I had someone to help with the support side we could really take that next big step forward insuring our customers are happy. Would you consider adding someone to our team that I could train to help us do this?" Something along those lines, explaining that your primary concern is making sure things get done correctly and that sometimes the multitasking takes away from focus.

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post #22 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
I have troubleshot issues in between sessions at the race track, on vacation and on holidays. We are dealing with potential life saving warning systems so I feel obligated to make sure the customers are comfortable and the systems I have dealt with are working properly. For example if an oil refinary has an H2S leak and their siren doesn't go off people die. If on the alert pad at Hickham / Pearl Harbor if they scramble fighter jets and the PA doesn't work people get toasted by a jet blast.
This is sort of what I was referring to in my first post. There's a big difference between being bothered at home for menial work related items and keeping your integrity intact by being available to handle important issues. In your line of work, those important issues can pop up at any time. Sure, you don't necessarily HAVE to be available whenever, but I know for me it's a personal integrity issue where I feel that I should...when it's important. I know you're the same way.

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post #23 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 04:06 PM
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I am Salary and all of my clients have my cell and email which goes off round the clock M-F

I get weekend emails and such but for what I do, my clients are Global in nature and can and will call me anytime any day - I typically do not jump to get an email when I hear it going off at 3am but if the phone rings, I answer, explain what time it is and what my current situation and limitation is and get on it ASAP

Comes with my job I guess

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post #24 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 04:22 PM
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Just charge up your credit cards with cash advances and file BK and we'll ride MX for the next year or two. Working is for the birds. Let's do this bro.
I like this idea - hey wait i know someone who did this!

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post #25 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 04:25 PM
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Thats one reason why I would never work salary. They have you by the balls.


Hourly on the other hand you can kinda make ur hours, sometimes


Me I probably have the best job I would ever want. My hours are 7-3 M-F and oncall 24-7 and I get paid for being on call but really never do get called. Maybe once every other month and its usuall just a quick phone call to answer a question at 5pm.

What I work is a totally different story.
So life as Ghey hooker has finally paid off, those old guys at the nursing home really must pay you well for your BJ services?

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post #26 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 04:27 PM
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I'm sure some of you guys can relate to me being involved in a service related job. I'm salary and get paid a set amount twice per month. I do make some overtime money only if I travel over a weekend. The boss is pretty flexibale with comp days and just as long as I let him know far enough ahead of time vacation time is rarely ever an issue.

I work in a field involving outdoor and indoor warning. This involves technical work, commissioning, troubleshooting, setup and training for a wide variety of customers... Including Military, Municipal, Government, Nuclear, Industrial, College Campuses and the list goes on and on.

My travel can get a little extensive at times so I'm dealing with customers in extremely different time zones. Some customers understand and respect the time zone difference, others don't. So obviously I get phone calls and emails at all hours asking questions and troubleshooting. I could answer emails and phone calls all day and all night. I'm also doing engineering work in the office helping to design new products and answering our tech support line so I could stay at work until who knows what hour and still have work to do.

I'm not complaining about lack of work. I am however wondering where to draw the line. My old man always told me to seperate work and my personal life. This job has more than entered to my personal life. I don't have a problem working long hours on the road / traveling to get a job done. But at home I feel like I should work 8ish to 5ish and call it quits. Home and my personal life is important and I don't get paid anything extra to stay late.

Thoughts? Similar situations?

Thanks for reading.
On average a salary employee shouldn't be working more than 40-50 hours a week...now this is straight work not sitting around tooling the internet just because you are bored at work. You get salary to be more flexible in your work times and to avoid some other issues from the department of employment, BUT you are not to be worked as a slave either. Figure out a time each day that you will stop working (After a 8 hour shift) and stick to it. As a salary employee you might feel you always have to be on call but this is not the case. If you feel at the end of your day you put in your fair share worth of work then call it a day and move on to your personal life.

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post #27 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 04:32 PM

 
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Quote:
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I'm sure some of you guys can relate to me being involved in a service related job. I'm salary and get paid a set amount twice per month. I do make some overtime money only if I travel over a weekend. The boss is pretty flexibale with comp days and just as long as I let him know far enough ahead of time vacation time is rarely ever an issue.

I work in a field involving outdoor and indoor warning. This involves technical work, commissioning, troubleshooting, setup and training for a wide variety of customers... Including Military, Municipal, Government, Nuclear, Industrial, College Campuses and the list goes on and on.

My travel can get a little extensive at times so I'm dealing with customers in extremely different time zones. Some customers understand and respect the time zone difference, others don't. So obviously I get phone calls and emails at all hours asking questions and troubleshooting. I could answer emails and phone calls all day and all night. I'm also doing engineering work in the office helping to design new products and answering our tech support line so I could stay at work until who knows what hour and still have work to do.

I'm not complaining about lack of work. I am however wondering where to draw the line. My old man always told me to seperate work and my personal life. This job has more than entered to my personal life. I don't have a problem working long hours on the road / traveling to get a job done. But at home I feel like I should work 8ish to 5ish and call it quits. Home and my personal life is important and I don't get paid anything extra to stay late.

Thoughts? Similar situations?

Thanks for reading.
I can tell you many stories relative to your situation. Just bring over the beer and we can talk..........
I did 27 years in the field......55 sales folks and 6 managers......on call 24/7/365

CCS race official
sold the track bike
too slow to ride

"Repairs end December 31. 2011."

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post #28 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-20-2012, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Grasshopper View Post
My travel can get a little extensive at times so I'm dealing with customers in extremely different time zones. Some customers understand and respect the time zone difference, others don't. So obviously I get phone calls and emails at all hours asking questions and troubleshooting. I could answer emails and phone calls all day and all night. I'm also doing engineering work in the office helping to design new products and answering our tech support line so I could stay at work until who knows what hour and still have work to do.
First thing is to sort out the real emergencies from the fake ones, and both of those from the routine stuff that someone just happened to think of over dinner. It's awfully easy to get sucked into treating something as a crisis because someone called you at 11 PM, your time. And there are plenty of people who know that, too, and abuse that for all sorts of nefarious purposes: cutting in line, getting more attention, getting the convenient answer instead of the right one, even getting price breaks. (We once had a daily conference call scheduled 6-7 PM, for all the people who'd missed a critical schedule point. You only got off it by getting your schedule straightened out, and it was very motivational toward that purpose.)

So, don't get sucked in. You know which calls are really urgent, and which are just at off hours, so you deal with the urgent ones urgently, and you tell the others that you'll get back to them in the morning when you've got your references handy (or whatever's plausible for the kind of call). And that's how you get control of your time.

Morrand
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post #29 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-21-2012, 02:15 PM

 
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Location: Suburbs, IL
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Years Riding: 7 years
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I'm in a little different situation...as it's my own business, and my clients. I don't EXPECT my employees to work 24/7, or be available 24/7, but do like to see it from them, and from what I can tell, they enjoy helping clients when a client is in need.

As for me, I'm available 24/7 by email, 9 to 7 by office phone, by cell if the client has my # (some do, some don't, no reason why, if they've had the need to get it, they've gotten it)...or our 800 number answers calls after hours, and can route issues to my cell if need be. I enjoy being available 24/7, but again, I work for me/my cleints...not the "man", so it's a different situation than yours.

Peter Katowicz
State Farm® - Agent
108 E Lake St. Unit 2
Bloomingdale, IL 60108
Office: (630) 980-9809
Fax: (630) 980-9858
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post #30 of 37 (permalink) Old 04-21-2012, 07:23 PM
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I did it for years. working day and night answering the phone at all hours, missing family engagements etc etc. i was on call 24/7/365 for 15 years. in the end, that dedication didn't amount to a hill of beans. Screw 'em!

you're just a part of a percentage of labor cost on an income statement.




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Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

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