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When 7:00AM is 9:00AM

February 26, 2020

Rodney, I noticed you typically take off around 3:00. Why is that?

Well, I generally start at 7:00.

Yeah, I know. Kind of early isn’t it?

Depends on where you’re at.

Global business, global economy, yesterday I talked about global virus.

The world is getting smaller and getting bigger. When does the day start? Dolly Parton did a song called “9-5.” It was about a typical work day. Those times have even permeated our culture. Alan Jackson has a song called, “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere.”

But, does the day really start at 9? Does it end at 5?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : Answer as quickly as you can… how old is a man born in 1928?

George Malley : Still alive?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : If a man is born in 1928, and he’s still alive, how old is he?

George Malley : What month?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : If a man was born October 3rd, 1928, and he’s still alive, how old is he?

George Malley : What time?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : 10 o’clock… PM!

George Malley : Where?

Dr. Bob Niedorf : Anywhere!

George Malley : Well, let’s get specific, Bob! I mean, if the guy’s still alive, born in California, October 3rd, 1928, 10 PM, he’s 67 years, 9 months, 22 days, 14 hours, and…

[takes Bob’s hand to see his wristwatch]

… and 12 minutes. If he was born in New York, he’s 3 hours older, now isn’t he?

– Touchstone Pictures “Phenomenon”

And even if the day does start at nine, 9:00 where? Your time zone? New York time? California? Toyko? Sydney?

Most middle and senior IT managers are salaried employees. That means that we get paid by the day. Work 5 minutes and you get paid for the whole day. Work 12 hours and you get paid for the whole day. So, if you are working with teams all across teh US or all across the globe, your day might “start” with a conference call from Manila at 4:00 AM and “end” with a conference call with London at 8:00 PM.

And since you are salary, you get paid for the entire day. All 16 hours of it.

What do you do about it? One option is to insist that “I put in my 8 hours and everything else will have to wait until tomorrow.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard an IT person, salaried or not, make that statement. If someone had that attitude, they’d go into a different line of work. I’ve seen desktop engineers that literally worked themselves to the point of exhaustion. I do not recommend it. In fact, it’s often one of the things managers have to guard against their teams doing.

How do you do it? How do you figure out when to start and end your day? Often it’s governed by the job. You put in the time that is needed. But, you also figure out when to not put in the time.

You have to deliberately choose to step away at times. Sometimes that means sleeping in the middle of the day because you were up all night on an outage. Sometimes it means taking time in the middle of the day to attend a kid’s soccer game. And sometimes, it just means hanging up your apron at 5:00 pm.

After all, it’s five o’clock somewhere.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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