Are you stealing from your boss?

21 posts / 0 new
Last post
Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Oct 4 2013 01:31
Are you stealing from your boss?

Is this you?

http://www.theage.com.au/executive-style/management/are-your-employees-t...

snipfool
Offline
Joined: 9-06-11
Oct 4 2013 08:31

Come on, average employee, try harder, I aim to 'steal' four to five hours a day.

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
Oct 4 2013 08:36

Yeah, I know, I was shocked that it was so low! I reckon it's more probable that our bosses don't even know how little work we do!

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Oct 4 2013 13:14

I was reading a journal of physical logistics and distribution the other day from like 1997 and they were discussing the application of lean production techniques down the supply chain. They discussed waste and talked about how an aluminum can that takes something like 6 hours of actual production time, takes like 329 days to make it to the customer.

ALL THAT WASTED TIME!

EDIT: Also, @ my work we used to get 10 minute on the clock breaks, so naturally I'd take 15. Now we get 15, so naturally I take a 20. I guess that adds up to roughly 20 min. a week or 17 1/3 hours a year of time theft.

Someone should start a Time Thief's Guild and train noobs in the art of chronological burglary.

AES's picture
AES
Offline
Joined: 15-02-04
Oct 4 2013 22:41

Some years ago I worked in a call centre / contact centre as a pension/assurance call handler, with complaints handling as my main work. There were maybe 200 workmates/25 bosses on my floor. Every day at least a few people (often several people) burst into tears, for being sworn at, threatened, made anxious, etc by complaints (at the time of intensive conflict about the failure of low cost endowments - 'policy holders' vs 'financial advisors') for mis-sold policies. In our case, the company Scottish Widows Plc had a fairly typical call centre layout - 6-12 workers per per composite table with a line manager, every few composite tables had a group of mentors (for tech advice to workers) and a few floor managers. All bosses knew very well the severe stress caused to workers, and a culture of blaming the victim was used - if a woman burst to tears "she was not suitable for the job" or "not tough enough". If men broke down and screamed out, hit their desks or cried, similar accusations were made. The standard induction course of Scottish Widows at my workplace specifically noted that call centre / contact centre (particularly complaint handler) jobs had an expectancy of not lasting longer than two years.

To keep the pressure on, Learning and Developement Plans (LDPs) were used for monthly/quarterly review, so that the company kept track of targets being met. Those who didn't meet targets went on formal Performance Reviews (a warning system which is either dropped if you return to target, or dismissal if not). One of our workmates was put on paperwork tasks because she burst into tears in the morning. We had our tea break and news came to us that she and another workmate were no coping in the morning before 10.30am. We came back from our smoke and she was back on the phone taking complaints. So a few of us confronted the line manager, demanding an explanation of why she is being exposed to calls after the morning stress. He said he didn't expect her to be around much longer and needed call handlers on call. After months of pressure we secured safer work (data entry) for her and a few others. In the meantime, we introduced our own version of "work to rule". Between us we agreed -
- we would conference calls (put calls on hold if calls were from financial advisors, or other business source which caused us stress, until callers hung up, which made a second call line available, while the first was on hold).
- while the call was on hold, we would search through our lists of previous pension calls about "gone aways/ addressee unknown/ return to sender" change of address entries, the reason for this is that pension companies make a *fortune* from abandoned pensions. We searched company information on systems and phoned relatives, friends anyone who we could find that might be able to speak with pension owners that have lost track of their money.

About pensions - if you retire early (eg. maybe a professional dancer will retire at 35 or 45 because of the workload/health ratio, your back can't take the pressure throughout your life to a 60/65 retirement). Retiring early is one of the greatest penalty calculations to a pension annuity, another high penalty at retirement is to cover a second person (spouse). Obviously many people retire at an average retirement age, but with the mature years sometimes comes forgetfulness. In one case a man work two jobs of about 30 years each. He forgot about his first pension when his age of retirement came about because he moved home a few years before retiring. He was in his late 70s when he actually retired on the one more recent pension he knew about. A further interesting thing about pensions is that the calculation becomes extremely favourable when you get your pension late (recovered pensions cost companies a lot). He was in a list of "gone aways" and during one of our "work to rule" calls we found someone who knew him and they would ask him to phone us. We took the call a few days later. At this time the pensioner was in his late 90s struggling on a standard pension. The fact his earlier pension was not used at retirement meant that now that he is in his late 90s it was worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. He was one out of hundreds of people we did this for, despite that management didn't have an idea what we were doing.

I witnessed this method being used for long over a year until I had my final conflict with the managers. Workmates I spoke to years afterwards said that this method was still used occasionally. We cost Scottish Widows millions of pounds - SW bosses are selfish bastards - We hit them where it hurt!

Lugius's picture
Lugius
Offline
Joined: 19-04-10
Oct 5 2013 01:08
Quote:
Someone should start a Time Thief's Guild and train noobs in the art of chronological burglary.

What an excellent suggestion! The term commonly used in Australia is 'bludging' as in "Get back to work, you bludger!" This word is among many once common on the streets of 18th century London still current. (It's original meaning equivalent to 'pimp').

Every so often, the representatives of business complain about the culture of 'chuck a sickie' and that it needs to change if Australian workers are to be competitive in the global market.

Going the bludge has been around since the first bosses appeared on Australian shores in 1788. In those days it was referred to as 'doing the Government stroke'. Convicts displayed a reluctance to over exert themselves without a clear and present threat of being flogged with a cat.

Some jobs are more conducive to going the bludge than others. Working in a kitchen is one of them but there are other ways share the pie. It was difficult to go the bludge on the tramways as everything runs to a timetable. I do recall the late Jim Harper, Secretary of the Victoria Branch of the ATMOEA urging us to take every single one of our 15 paid sick leave days per annum (which were not cumulative) whether we were sick or not lest the boss take them off you.

I've heard it argued on building sites that going the bludge creates employment. It contributes to stretching the job out to as long as possible. I've also heard an argument from militant unionists that you should work as hard as you can because the boss will notice it more when you withdraw your labour.

Formally organised or not there is a kaliedescope of ways to resist the boss.

Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
Offline
Joined: 18-12-12
Oct 5 2013 03:43

I've always worked hard because it seemed to make my day go quicker and also because we are often working 'job and finish' which means we go home early if we crack on. We are also often on price work which is another reason to work hard - more money earned in the same amount of time. I actually enjoy the work I do though which makes me pretty fortunate. Not really sure how I could time steal without shooting myself in the foot but it seems like a good idea in the context it's been described.
I did have a job a long time ago where I spent a lot of the time in the toilet smoking pipes of hash and then wandering around the factory floor talking shit to anyone that would listen so I was stealing their time as well as my own. Er, the only problem with that was that it got me fired.

Tyrion's picture
Tyrion
Offline
Joined: 12-04-13
Oct 5 2013 04:51
Webby wrote:
I did have a job a long time ago where I spent a lot of the time in the toilet smoking pipes of hash and then wandering around the factory floor talking shit to anyone that would listen so I was stealing their time as well as my own.

My dad had a similar thing going on when he was 19 back in the 70s, I think in Florida. He worked in a warehouse, which I assume was physically demanding but apparently not something that required any great deal of thought. He and his workmates would toke in the bathrooms, pretty much throughout the whole day as he tells it. I'm not sure what the boss situation was, but I guess the workers didn't get much serious trouble about it.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Oct 5 2013 08:35
Quote:
Estimates suggest the average employee “steals” between four and five hours a week from their employer, adding up to one full working week every year. That adds up to a cost to businesses of hundreds of billions of dollars a year worldwide.

Back in the 80s I used to start work at 6.00 am sign the overtime dockets to 9.10 pm, and on a good day I could be at home by quarter to nine, in the morning, making over twelve hours a day. I left that job when the management brought in a new rule that you had to work the hours you were paid for.

Devrim

Ablokeimet
Offline
Joined: 30-04-13
Oct 5 2013 12:50

In my workplace, years ago you could bludge and it was a matter of how much you wanted to push it before the bosses got narky. I used to have a lower production rate than my colleagues, but my work was better quality than average, so I was tolerated. It was also no problem to take a sickie.

Things are different now, at least in the area I work. We get an annual workload at the start of the year. It is your responsibility to get it done by the end of the year. You don't get supervised heavily throughout the year, so you get a lot of freedom that way. Since you know it will be a big deal if you don't meet your deadline, however, you keep plugging away. This method of work organisation has meant that it doesn't help to take a sickie. Any time you're away, the work just piles up on your desk.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Oct 5 2013 16:11
Ablokeimet wrote:
You don't get supervised heavily throughout the year, so you get a lot of freedom that way. Since you know it will be a big deal if you don't meet your deadline, however, you keep plugging away.

Yeah, I've lost count of the amount of job applications i've done where i've had to stress how i'm able to 'manage high workloads with minimal supervision' and the like. Autonomy under capital sucks, and turns boss-worker antagonism into internalised conflict and stress.

woooo
Offline
Joined: 22-05-08
Oct 6 2013 07:31

I new a guy in the uk who didn't do anything for a month. Great.

I have had various jobs over the last 15 years. I reckon I did 7 years of work.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Oct 6 2013 09:24

So, in my current job, we engage in some serious time theft. I reckon that since I started almost a year ago, we've reduced each and every working hour by about five minutes. That's basically equates to reducing each individual's respective worktime by close to an hour and a half each week!

I also have a couple of workmates who do their second job while they're at their first. Which is just f*cking beautiful.

The other thing is that time theft - which must happen in damn near every workplace - is often done collectively. Given that, I think it's a good place start building more conscious and targeted solidarity. It's the kind of thing that happens even in workplaces where folks say 'there's no solidarity at all' - and understanding this can give a bit of hope to would-be organisers as well as a way to begin having conversations about more concrete solidarity.

By way of example, in my last job, we instituted a system where by a group of us would tick-in for each other in the morning. It was something that some of us were doing anyway, but formalizing it made it a more practical thing and developed a wider sense of trust and collective interest amongst my workmates.

Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
Offline
Joined: 18-12-12
Oct 6 2013 09:48
Quote:
I also have a couple of workmates who do their second job while they're at their first. Which is just f*cking beautiful.

Tidy.

snipfool
Offline
Joined: 9-06-11
Oct 6 2013 12:12
woooo wrote:
I new a guy in the uk who didn't do anything for a month. Great.

Chilli Sauce wrote:
I also have a couple of workmates who do their second job while they're at their first. Which is just f*cking beautiful.

An ex-colleague of mine has become something of a legend in my workplace (in certain circles) for sort of doing both of these things. It was his final month, his notice period before moving on to another job and he just decided to ignore his official duties and start a personal software project at work. It was a productivity tool, the kind of thing that could be pretty useful for our managers even though it was never asked for or agreed on by them. When management noticed, he convinced them it would be useful for them, and as it was his last month it was sort of tolerated on the understanding that he was doing it for them.

Only, when he left, he didn't hand over the project! I think on his last day he even gave the manager a USB drive with a bunch of crap on it and said it was the source code. The project was just a way for him to get to grips with a few technologies he'd be using in his new job. His ex-manager kept calling him for a few weeks after he left to get hold of it but his calls were ignored so he eventually dropped it...

You can still look back on his historical submitted work and see that month long gap...

Agent of the International's picture
Agent of the In...
Offline
Joined: 17-08-12
Oct 6 2013 12:18
Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Oct 6 2013 13:11

I had no idea that was made into a film!

Agent of the International's picture
Agent of the In...
Offline
Joined: 17-08-12
Oct 6 2013 13:46

I saw it last week on some premium channel I had for free for a while. It was ok, not as good as the actual text.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Oct 23 2013 10:12

AES, that comment was so amazing I have put it in the library. Hope this is okay:
http://libcom.org/library/worker-sabotage-financial-services-call-centre

bastarx
Offline
Joined: 9-03-06
Nov 4 2013 13:33
Chilli Sauce wrote:
I also have a couple of workmates who do their second job while they're at their first. Which is just f*cking beautiful.

My cousin does that. He works in IT doing customer support for data centres or some such making a ridiculous amount of money (~$150k/yr) for the amount of work he does (~bugger all). He's on call all the time but doesn't get called that much and can do most of his work from home. Last year he also made $40k doing another IT project for a different company while at his main job. For tax purposes his wife did the 2nd job.

Lumpen's picture
Lumpen
Offline
Joined: 11-02-08
Jan 9 2014 14:14

Reminds me of this scene from Office Space.