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It really does all depend on what you're willing to endure then it seems. 
Perhaps it's some kind of indoctrinating at some point in your life in 
this country, but my motto has always been 'work to live', not 'live to 
work'. I come from the country with the highest rate of unemployment in 
the EU, and even so I would never let a company treat me the way you have 
let this one treat you.

I worked as a contractor for GE, and then was taken on full time, I had to 
endure the occasional bit of mandatory overtime, but never more than 10 
hours a week, never for more than a month or so and I ALWAYS got paid for 
it, no-one has the right to expect you to work without pay.

At some point the companies new policies got ridiculous to the point where 
I refused to sign a certain piece of paper the company was requesting I 
signed, I thought it was unnecessary and invasive. My local manager was as 
supportive as he could be, he wanted to hold onto me, and more or less 
begged me to sign it, but I refused. After him managing to skirt the issue 
with his bosses for a couple of months they eventually let me go, with a 
fairly nice payoff, and it was their loss, not mine.

I walked into a job with more money, and a 5 week a year vacation package, 
plus sick time, plus all the usual errata. Sure I could have earned way 
more money going somewhere else, but I value the quality of my life, and 
would rather have the time to enjoy it in a friendlier work environment, 
and let me tell you somewhere that gives it's employees a decent vacation 
package, comp time for extra hours worked, and a flexible schedule has WAY 
happier employees. Some people have left us for better paying jobs, some 
of those people couldn't stand the lack of vacation / work environ etc... 
and came back to us, before we even had a chance to find their 

In the end of the day, if you're not happy about the fact your being 
screwed for a vacation day, it's a matter of how far you're willing to 
take it. I was supporting a wife through college when I walked out on GE, 
but there was no other way I would have done it. Draw your line in the 
sand, and stick to it.


On Sun, 20 Nov 2005, Bryan J. Smith wrote:

> On Sun, 2005-11-20 at 09:22 -0600, Mike808 wrote:
>> Wow. If you're that important to the company, then perhaps they'd be more
>> generous, given the criticality of your effort to their core business.
> We'll see where my stake in the company is at soon.  Until I have reason
> to believe I'm getting screwed in the longer-term, I will continue to do
> my best to further the company's endeavors.
>> One might think that people with advanced degrees, specifically in business
>> administration, and who claim to have "mastered" the subject, would
>> be aware of this.
> Who says they have such?  The CEO is on the board of a major retail
> chain.  That's part of the problem because he thinks he can work
> engineers to death and then just get another one like they are
> salespeople.  We've tried to get him to understand differently.
> As I said, we'll see where my stake in the company is at soon.  That's
> what really matters to me.
> I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to come back to my former St. Louis
> contractor.  My wife is very much against that.  This is the only
> suitable position I've found within 50 miles of my home in Orlando in
> years.
> The Southeastern US is _known_ for its lowest salary rates in the
> country combined with excessive work hours.  I have _never_ averaged
> less than 55 hours/week in my 5 years of prior salaried positions.
> I even contracted at a Fortune 100 company for 9 months and had an
> average of 3 calls/night and worked a typical 7-7 schedule to match
> banks (who work their people 13 hours/day, but only 3 days/week --
> whereas I worked 5 days/week), and getting paid beyond 40 hours/week was
> always an uphill battle without prior approval (long, long story -- and
> I _never_ got prior approval).
> It's just how the SE US operates -- especially with the massive number
> of tech people unemployed in Orlando, Atlanta, etc...  Aggregate tech
> salaries overtook hospitality in Orlando during the .COM boom, and then
> it busted hard here.
> And _now_ you know why I traveled to clients in the NE, west and mid-
> west.  It was worth my sanity.  ;->  I would have brought my wife with
> me had I been offered full-time positions, but they were almost never
> right-to-hires (and I had a really bad experience with my initial right-
> to-hire when I did bring my wife with me -- she was used as a liability
> against me by an unscrupulous contracting company).
>> Then given that the company "lives or dies" on your work, one might think
>> that they would be open to the notion of "comp time", which, since you
>> are salaried is reasonably accepted as a way to "time shift" unusual periods
>> of excessive required work hours.
> I don't expect to see any comp time.  Although I did take a day off a
> couple of weeks ago (although I had already reached 40 hours by
> Thursday).
> I _did_ have a problem with the "arrive by 8:30am" non-sense my first 2
> months.  But after I just finally started staying at work if I was still
> there after midnight to ensure I was there at 8:30am (leading to some 40
> and even 60 hour straight days), there was finally an administrative
> notice that I was _not_ to be bothered about my arrival time, unless I
> missed a meeting.
> That was my #1 morale drain for awhile, although when it became an
> issue, I just didn't care or mentioned what time I left the night before
> (which often enfuriated the lower management even more).  I'm _not_ IT.
> I'm _not_ support.  I'm _not_ on-call, although I do have my cell phone
> if they needed to reach me.  I was agreed before I even came there that
> if I was working excessive hours, unless there was a meeting, an 8:30am
> arrival time would not apply to me.
> As I said, just last week the whole administration was finally given
> notice that I was not to be bothered about it (along with 1 other
> gentleman who is also key to engineering).
>> The key words in that phrase being "unusual" and "excessive".
>> And if you want to work the 70+ hours a week, I sure hope that your contract
>> has some ironclad extraordinary benefit on the back-end for that extra-ordinary effort.
> There have been certain promises, in writing (although not quantitative)
> made about ownership.  As I said, I need to see that soon or there might
> be an issue.
>> Then tell your management that you are taking off the workday adjacent to the holiday.
> I'm seriously considering not calling or coming in.  They already know I
> thought it was rather pathetic given the hours I work (although I only
> told that to immediate management -- I don't usurp anyone).
>> Is there a clause in the contract that says "only when said holiday falls on a
>> regularly scheduled work day"? Was an adjusted schedule of company holidays for 2005
>> previously posted? Are there the contractually noted number of dates on that schedule?
> There is a contractually noted number of 7 days.  The problem is that
> with New Year's, they can always play games because it can fall on the
> next calendar year.  I've just never seen a company do that before.
>> If not, point out your criticality to their efforts, your previously demonstrated
>> dedication to their core business, and that you have every expectation of spending
>> holiday time with your family, per *their* contractual arrangement. Let them know that
>> this is not negotiable.
> I was hoping it wouldn't come to that point because it seems like I'm
> just bitching.  My _only_ point has been the fact that although it seems
> petty, it is no less than "nickle'n diming" and only drains morale.
>> If you're not willing to stand up for your entitlements or reject poor behavior by
>> your employer by applying your talents elsewhere, then it is hard to have sympathy
>> for you. You're simply *rewarding* your employer for acting badly by accepting it,
>> and not demanding better of them.
> As I said, I'm waiting to see what comes of this.
> BTW, I was _not_ asking for sympathy.  I was just curious if anyone has
> ever seen a salaried position where you were not given off Christmas or
> New Year's when it fell on a weekend?  And I'm not talking about in a
> support or "coverage" position.
> -- 
> Bryan J. Smith   b.j.smith@ieee.org   http://thebs413.blogspot.com
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