If You Are Employed, Do You Punch A Clock?

Lounge By SPCOhio Updated 13 Jul 2013 , 2:36pm by BatterUpCake

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SPCOhio Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 2:43am
post #1 of 10

AI have been casting about for a new job for ages now and have recently landed upon a position that seemed like an amazing opportunity at first glance. But then I discovered that not only do they offer only 5 PTO days in the first year, but moving into this position would require me to change from a salaried (exempt) employee to an hourly one who has to punch a clock. The base pay is at least the same, and probably more than my current job. I enjoy a lot of flexibility in my current job, however. If my work is done, I can pretty much leave when I want to. I can take work home with me when my daughter is sick. No one has blinked an eye at my taking off to be with her when school is closed or she is sick because they know that regardless of my in-office presence, I will get the work done timely and correctly.

The down side of my current job is that the commute, when made in rush hour traffic, takes me every bit of an hour and a half and there is also some fear that the whole place could go under any minute now. Plus there is the occasional tirade by a tyrant who shall remain unidentified.

The new job is a 10 minute commute with an international multi-billion dollar company. But it is clear that i will be chained to my desk from 8-5 with little flexibility and since I would be punching a clock, any time not covered by PTO will have to be "made up" by in-office presence by staying late/coming in early.

I'm just going to put it out there: I'm offended by the idea of punching a clock after 17 years of experience and a doctorate degree. Is that crazy?

9 replies
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Norasmom Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 2:55am
post #2 of 10

It depends.  Which job would make you happier if you took the time clock out of the equation?  I agree, it's much better to not have your hours monitored, and it doesn't seem practical in an office environment.  But if the other job seems like a better place to work, then go for it!   When I worked retail I punched a clock but when I worked corporate I came and went in a flexible manner.  

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SPCOhio Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 3:05am
post #3 of 10

ASince I was widowed at 28 I have a very strong opinion on the value of time over money. I would gladly take less money and less stability but more time with my daughter over wads of cash any day. I'm definitely staying where I am. I guess I'm kind of just wondering whether anyone else feels like when you get to a certain age, with a certain number of years of experience and are completing a job whose primary tasks are upper-level thinking, punching a time clock is just demeaning? I would totally expect to punch a clock if I were working retail or typing dictation but in a professional position it doesn't make sense to me.

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sixinarow Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 3:20am
post #4 of 10

AMy husband has 2 college degrees and also his professional engineering license. About 3 years ago, his company went to a time card system bc there were a few people who were taking advantage of the situation. It really made him mad at first, like he was being monitored, but he came to understand the reasoning behind the policy was not directed at him, but the people abusing the former policy. He can't change it, he doesn't like it but has accepted it. Age doesn't always equal maturity, just bc someone has been in a certain profession for a long time doesn't always mean that they're a good employee. I see both sides! :)

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smittyditty Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 4:06am
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AWell how does clocking in and being salaried sound to you? Personally I have had many different jobs and I was 24 when I started my salaried jobs but honesty I liked clocking in better. Why? Because when your salaried they are gonna suck every last hour before paying you over time. If money isn't a prob I'd stick with the job that gives you time to be with family. If its one crappy employee at that job it 3 more at the next. In the end you'd really just have to weigh in on how easy it'd be to get a new job if like you said that job goes under.

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PumpkinTart Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 4:39am
post #6 of 10

I absolutely understand where you're coming from (feeling offended about having to punch a clock after all of your years of experience.  I'm back in that situation myself and I feel the same way. I've never been a break taker and rarely take lunch.  Whenever an HR person lectures me about needing to take the time for legal purposes, I just roll my eyes because there are many people that work through their breaks/lunches and prefer to do so to be able to leave earlier.  I totally get their need to preach the legal requirements but I just let it go in one ear and out the other and do my thing. I just 'fudge' the time card to show that I've taken all the required lunch breaks.


I don't know that I could work in an environment where my schedule was strictly enforced, such as a situation where every employee started at the same time and left at the same time each day.  You'd think in this day and age, companies would understand the need for flexibility, not to mention, every employee has a different peak effective time and by forcing everyone into a standard 8-5 shift, they're really damaging work efficiency.


Honestly, I would push the issue with the hiring person or find someone else that works in a similar capacity to see if there is any opportunity for change down the road once they get to know you and the quality of your work.  The commute difference alone would convince me to make a switch but not if I was going to be miserable about the rigidity of the schedule. 

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kikiandkyle Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 5:01am
post #7 of 10

AI did have one salaried professional position where we were required to sign in and out for time keeping, but that was because we had a flexible schedule and some people had taken advantage so we all had to face the consequences.

That was over 15 years ago and although I haven't worked for the last three years because of my son's condition, I can't imagine doing it now after all these years. And especially not in an office position rather than a typical hourly position.

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jason_kraft Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 5:35am
post #8 of 10

AMy current job involves supporting an enterprise business software system from an IT perspective. I work from home, and the nature of my job tends to blur lines between work time and non-work time...if there is a problem with the system during a critical period (like month-end close) I get a call no matter what time it is, and most of my colleagues, business partners, and contractors live on the US east coast, Europe, or India (I'm in California) so coordinating time zones can be a challenge.

Luckily my employer believes strongly in work/life balance. Everyone tracks their time with a web-based time sheet (in fact the time sheet system is part of what I support), and if someone consistently reports too much time spent per week management does something about it by adjusting the available supply of resources and/or demand. It would take a significant premium over my current salary and a similar flexible work policy for me to change employers.

That said, the financial health of your employer (in terms of current cash flow or a business plan for a startup) pretty much trumps all other concerns, since if the company is not profitable they can't afford to pay their employees. If I were in your situation I would take the job at the more stable company in a heartbeat. If you will be filling a position where demand exceeds supply you will usually have some leverage to negotiate more favorable terms, e.g. additional PTO, working from home on Fridays (if feasible), etc.

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SPCOhio Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 1:33pm
post #9 of 10

AThanks for all the feedback! I wouldn't mind keeping track of my time (in fact I already do because I keep billable hours), but I really hate the idea of "You are our prisoner from 8-5." I fully appreciate the policy behind distinguishing the exempt from the non-exempt employee but in practical application, I have found that grown people rail against it because as much as it is meant to protect the employee, it makes things more inconvenient. I would much rather work through my lunches and breaks and leave early than "enjoy" a lunch hour a prisoner of the premises. Classifying a retail worker as non-exempt makes sense. Classifying a factory worker as non-exempt makes sense. This whole idea of exempt and non-exempt is a product of the factory environment. It makes no sense in a professional world. I'm analying high-level legal issues, not placing the grommets into 435 pairs of shoes on the assembly line so the person after me can stitch the tongue down.

As for stability, while my husband may not like it and will not do it willingly (i.e. agree that I don't work at all) he is definitely in the position to assume my family financial responsibilities if I found myself suddenly unemployed. :)

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BatterUpCake Posted 13 Jul 2013 , 2:36pm
post #10 of 10

I wouldn't be offended. That is the company policy. If I didn't like the terms of a position whether it is benefits, shifts, whatever...I would just keep looking. That's just my take on it. Good luck in your search! In this economy it is tough.

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