If there was one invention I’d like to burn, it would be time cards. Not just the physical ones; the very idea of it, too.
Originally, time cards were fine to begin with; your boss could use it as a measure of how long you were at work. That’s because these same bosses wanted to pay employees by the hour, not their output; some wise guy along the way equated time with productivity, just so he could appear smarter to his boss.
Come along to the age of information technology where every employee is rigidly watched like a hawk, just so they don’t clock in one second late, or even one second early. Extremely tight control over costs have diminished the value of initiative and promptness, and in affect, employee loyalty.
I say this because I don’t like someone coming to me about being one minute late, or one second early, often because of something absolutely minor that was out of my control. Like, traffic; the most common reason — not excuse — as to why people are late. Still, the time card is king, and the penny-pinchers in accounting, and the CEOs who bow to their slave master investors, must comply with rigid standards.
Standards that I don’t agree with. And if the time you clock in wasn’t bad enough, you even have these people who think you must begin work the absolute second you register your time card. Forget that it takes time, something already on their mind, to get to your desk or workstation, for those of you still able to find work in a factory that wasn’t sent overseas. Now, if you’re not in your seat or position to begin working immediately when you clock in, you are reprimanded like a third grader playing with the chalk instead of studying physics like the rest of the class.
I for one wish that time cards would go away; it’s not like employers really give a shit about time, anyway. Unless it’s overtime, in which case, they think you’ve committed a sin. These same assholes think they have the right to refuse to pay you overtime, which in some states may be true; but for those that don’t, they have no problem lying to their employees by saying all overtime must be pre-approved. Well, if that’s the case, then isn’t pre-approved overtime just more time on the clock; doesn’t it lose its meaning?
It’s okay if we all don’t understand the concept of time; our bosses don’t, for sure. So much so many people are now working from the ungodly hour of six or seven am, to about three-thirty in the afternoon. Forget the old bankers hours that worked to keep people sane; now we all have to rise at four in the morning to make the five-fifteen bus, or spend two hours in traffic while listening to news about the stock market crashing and potential layoffs.
A little card with your name on it that registers your ability to show up to work on time and measures your productivity. If that wasn’t bad enough, consider how many people are afraid of being late to work. What for? As if your job is going to be lagging behind; they already have ten people doing the same work you’re doing. If you’re one of those lucky few, you’re doing two jobs; so you have twice as much to worry about.
So there you go, rushing into office, trying not to spill your cappuccino, balancing the reports you did at home — off the clock — and stopping by to say hi to the cute guy from IT. You arrive at your desk, find that you are there just in time, clock in, and in the process, the time ticks over to the next minute. In comes the phone call, it’s your boss, and he’s riled and raging that you were late — now he sends the evil H.R. lady to have you sign a document stating you understand the corporate policy on tardiness.
Time cards. Like credit cards, except they come with no perks other than fears, anxieties, and a way for bosses to measure productivity without doing any real work.