On deficit spending; or how flex time can eat you alive

I work in a place with flex time. If I feel like taking off early, cool. If I want to take a long lunch, no problem. I can even work from home if I don’t feel like getting out of my pajamas in the morning.

It used to be that I would have no problems being over hours. I would bank up to 10 or more hours so that I could take a whole day off. Sure, I still accrue vacation, so I could rely on that, but this way I can have as many days off as I want as long as I’m reasonable about it.

Around January, though, I lost a lot of interest in maintaining positive hours. I got almost 30 hours behind. I ended up using about 12 hours of vacation just to make up some of the time, and I was still 15 hours behind. I’ve been carrying that weight for months now.

Being 15 hours behind doesn’t actually mean much. Being even, or being over is just as meaningless. I’m salaried. But we have a ‘chargeable hours goal’, which means we’re supposed to average 40 hours per week over the year. So at the end of the year, we’re supposed to be even, which means we worked, on average, 40 hours per week. So being 15 hours behind means that some time before the end of the fiscal year, I should make up those 15 hours so that management won’t be pissed.

It’s a lot like credit card debt, though. I’m not losing hours. I’ve been maintining 40 per week for months now. But that debt is hanging over my head like some kind of monster. I guess I can say WAS hanging over my head. After this week, I should be free of the shackles of debt (at least in terms of hours at work). It’s very liberating knowing that I’m square. Not much has changed, but it just feels better.

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