If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Friday, 10 July 2009


I mentioned a few postings back that I had my working hours reduced to 3 days a week, back in June. With all the issues going on at home, this was obviously a bit of a blow, but I knew that the company needed to cut costs urgently, so I didn't push back. (I am rather disappointed that I seem to be the only one on my pay grade to have been cut back, mind you. I was led to believe that all managers were being considered for cuts, and that I was merely the first. Seems I was the only as well.)

I work in the leisure and tourism business, where I look after health and safety for a large site. When I was working five days, I found there was more work than I could handle properly in my contracted hours, and I did plenty of unpaid overtime 'helping out', as it were. Even then, I was having to prioritise furiously to make sure that the big stuff was taken care of first and the lesser stuff later. Now I am trying to do 5+ days' work in 3, it has become ridiculous. I have managed to delegate a few tasks out, but I still remain responsible for their satisfactory completion, so that isn't the holiday it sounds like.

So, here's the question: do I -

1. Work my butt off, putting in unpaid hours and running myself ragged to keep things tight, on the basis that I keep my reputation as a 'safe pair of hands', and I get the satisfaction of keeping the job going despite circumstances? The upside of this is an enhanced reputation for competence and company loyalty; the downside is that, if they can see the job can be done in 3 days, they may see no need to make me back up to 5 when finances improve.

2. Work my contracted hours and no more, allow things to decay around me, and every time something is missed blame my reduced hours? This is very tempting. It's also an honest response, as the reduction in hours was not my choice [1] and I have merely acted according to my reduced contract. If anything is undone that should be done, I have a ready-made excuse: "of course, if I had had the time, I would have done it ..." Things could get messy, though, and if I am ever put back onto full time there will be a lot of pieces to pick up. It also goes against the grain a bit. If you work in health and safety, you tend to believe in what you are doing, and letting things go undone does not sit well with the conscience. In essence, you are putting colleagues and friends (as well as members of the public) at risk, when you could have acted to prevent it. In the environment I am in, poor H&S could result in serious injury or fatality, so we're not talking cut fingers or a twisted ankle.

At the moment, I am taking option 1, as I genuinely like the company and feel very loyal towards it. I do feel, however, that I have taken a kick in the balls over this, and that carrying on as I am doing may result in my getting shafted further down the line.

Ho hum. Anyway, it's Friday morning, I should be at work, but instead I am sitting at home on a sunny day and have the chance to get the grass cut before the downpours forecast for the weekend. I suppose I had better make the most of it.

A Lottery win would, of course, solve it all.

[1] Although it seems that the word has been put out that it was done out of consideration to me, in view of Anna's illness. I find that very irritating, and not a little dishonest.

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