Sunday, January 06, 2013

Bad Day Time

I work at a place where you're not allowed to have a bad day.

Yeah, that's right.  We have a production schedule to meet and hundreds of drawings need to be done. You're probably only on #42 so, in order for us to get this project finished on time you gotta crank out two drawings a day--every day--for the next month.

Oh, and please don't call in sick.


Now that's not exactly how they state it at work, but it is pretty close to reality. I'm wondering if in our next negotiated benefits package we could include bad days.  I mean, right on the paystub:

"OK, so they took $79 out for Social Security; $203 for the Feds and I got 12.65 hours left of sick time, 31.13 hours left of vacation time and 44.39 hours left of BAD DAY Time."

"Bad Day Time" would be time you were at the office, but more distracted and less productive than you should be.  You'd be allowed to work at two-thirds of your normal production level without people getting angry at you.  You could put in for it the same morning.  Not just for any reason, but for the ones we all know.

A.  Your kid cried all night and you spent the time you should've been sleeping trying to find ways to console them.  (Eligible for a full day of BDT.)

B.  Payday isn't 'til tomorrow and you have bills due today and you're trying to act like the calls you're getting on your cell phone are not from a frustrated member of the Billing Department who is also having a bad day.  (BDT can be taken, but only while you're on the phone with Billing Department guy.)

C.  Why does Major League Baseball schedule games during the day?  You really wanted to see the Mariners play this afternoon, but you gotta be at work.  (BDT denied.  It's not a bad's just baseball.)

D.  You woke up at 3AM to find your dog puking all over the living room rug.  You were up 'til 4:30 cleaning it up and laid in bed from 4:30 til 6 trying to kill the adrenaline rush and get over the frustration of it all.  If you round up, you might have 4 hours of sleep.  (Eligible for BDT before 11 AM.  After that, the company figures owning that dog was your choice.)

E.  A member of your family has been struggling with sickness for months and no one seems to understand.  You might have to stay up late, get up early, juggle schedules and deal with reasons A through D all in a 24-hour period.  (Let's be honest: your BDT was used up loooooong ago.)


It sure seems nice.  On the surface, it'd be great if we could just come out and admit it was a bad day.  I want to be able to walk into the room of people living their lives and doing their stuff and be able to just scream out, "I'M THE EXCEPTION!"

Even still, I'd have to confess that the past seven months of working at a place that doesn't allow Bad Day Time has been one of the most helpful things that could have happened to me.  Sure, I can't have a bad day, but the beauty of it is that I can't have a bad day.

I despise being fake and prefer not to be around fake people, but when I walk in that door at work, I know the drill: I've gotta be on it.  No excuses.  In the final analysis, people aren't concerned about how I feel.  They just need my help getting the job done.

My job has helped me by reminding me daily that attitudes often follow actions, not the other way around.  When I step past all the junk and get to work, I'm amazed at how much better I feel.

I'm not saying this works every day.  I don't even know if it's supposed to work every day.  But it's how I get through a lot of days.

So, that's my word of encouragement to you.  My prayer is that you make it today because you're doing the right things and that your attitude will change as a result of your actions.

You're not being fake; you're just out of Bad Day Time.

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