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Les's avatar

Are people who go in to work early (thus leaving earlier) appreciated less than those who work late?

Asked by Les (9591 points ) October 13th, 2008

I am a morning person. Because of this, I find that getting in to the office at 6 AM works really well for me because not only is no one there at that time, but I can leave at 5 PM and still have a night to look forward to at home. On the other hand, there are people who come into the office at 10 or even 11 AM, and work until 9 or 10 at night. These are the people who always get the accolades by our superiors. I get the “look” when I pack up my things at 5, despite the fact that my 11 hour day is at an end.

Anyone have any opinions on this?

This, of course, only applies to those who work in places where there is no set “start” time.

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21 Answers

towens0808's avatar

the people that come in around 10 or 11 always get the praise for staying later. When you stay later you show that you are commited to working late nights which can even lead up to a promotion in your job. or thats how it worked for me

Les's avatar

But what is the difference between working late and coming in earlier? Is it the simple fact that you are ‘seen’ working late, and I am not because I am there when people come in?

towens0808's avatar

i think so. because i used to come in early at my job but i quit doing that because i wsn’t getting any praise for working the long hours that i worked. So i tried comn in later and working til’ around 10 or 11 and a couple weeks later i promoted to assistant manager from floor sales.

Nimis's avatar

I’ve thought about this too.
And, I agree, it seems rather unfair.

I think it has to do with the fact that people who come in early are seen as natural morning people (and their actions are not outside their norm), but people who stay late are making an extra effort to do so.

Luckily though, this isn’t always the case. My friend’s boss is a morning person and always notices when she comes in. Is anyone in when you get in (to notice your early morning dedication)?

Les's avatar

Occasionally. I am a grad student, so one would think my commitment to the work at hand would be reminiscent of a good student. Sometimes the head of the department will come in shortly after I will, and we’ll pass each other in the hall. I also work down the same hall as my advisor, and he’ll see that I’m there when he comes in. I have also told people. I was asked where I was at 5:30 one day, and I responded that I had gone home. I naturally got the “look”, and explained that because I come in at 6, I am ready to leave at 5.

I think you may be on to something with the idea that night workers are going out of their way by making the extra effort. But waking up at 4:45 is no picnic, either.

Nimis's avatar

Good lord, no. You’d be hard-pressed to get me up at 4:45 to sit upright in a chair.
Much less actually being productive!

Night workers are just the opposite. It’s not necessarily more out of their way than you.
It’s more the cumulative hours, methinks.

Les's avatar

Well, if it is cumulative hours, I should be leading the pack. Early is not once in a while for me. That’s the norm: 6 am to 5 pm, most of the time staying until at least 6 pm. And I come in on the weekends.

I have no life.

itmustbeken's avatar

As another morning person, I’ve been through this and came out on the loosing end.

I worked for well known fashion company and would come in early to do my work. I had all of my mid-day reports and analysis on my bosses desk by 10 am (when he waddled in) but the people who stayed until 10 pm to do the same were rewarded for long hour efforts.

I’m not sure of the answer here, or if there is any. Management nearly always rewards those who ‘perform’. By that I mean it is a performance, not the quality or efficiency of the work but how it’s presented. Your audience is missing when you do your work.

Nimis's avatar

I don’t know though. It seems like anyone who doesn’t work the normal hours is going to be a bit shafted. For instance, I’m quite the opposite of you guys. I come in late, but work after hours. Working five minutes after the last guy out appears the same as working three hours after the last guy out.

loki's avatar

I think you need to be asking yourself a much more serious question if you are getting up a 4:30— working to 6, then going in weekends… Is your job your life?
I
Hope your job is fun! That schedule would crush me.

Les's avatar

@loki: It is right now. My family is in Chicago, I am not married, not dating, do not have any pets or other responsibilities, I live in a town that lacks any institutions of mental stimulation. I sleep, eat and work. It isn’t very thrilling, but such is the life of a grad student. I am attempting to graduate in May, but to do this I must burn the midnight oil (or 5 am oil) until everything has been completed.

My life sounds so depressing. But hey, this ‘job’ did take me to Antarctica.

basp's avatar

I am a morning person too and I agree, we get the short end of the stick on this one.
I go into work early every day because I am most productive early in the morning. On occasion I have been busy at my desk by 5:00am and already put in a good half day by the time others are coming in. My efforts are never noticed since I am the only one there that early.

Nimis's avatar

It’s also the same if no one is there to see how late you work, no?

basp's avatar

I suppose, nimis. Except it seems more likely people notice more when someone stays late rather than when someone comes early.

Les's avatar

True, Nimis, but when people leave they notice that you are still there, diligently working away. When they come in in the morning, I am diligently working, as well, but for all they know I just got there. It’s like you said though. How do they know that once they leave, that person whom they assume is working late won’t just up and leave five minutes later?

Nimis's avatar

I agree. I think people are more likely to get credit for staying late than for rising early.
Probably because of some kind of perceived notion about what takes more effort. But as a late riser myself, I have to say it’s much easier for me to stay late than to get up early.

But just to argue the other side, I had to point out that staying late isn’t entirely better.
If you don’t work the normal hours, you’re going to get the quizzical looks (whether you leave early or get in late).

In broader terms, it’s more likely you’ll get noticed working late. But for my work, our bosses get in early and leave early. And I don’t really get noticed for working late because other people pull the-five-minutes-after-they-leave trick.

But, in the end, the only thing that matters is that I’m working at my peak productive hours and putting in enough hours to do work that reflects both.

cyndyh's avatar

How often do you talk about your progress with your adviser? If there’s a way you can mention a sentence or two of your morning progress when your adviser first comes in and is getting coffee, then they’ll know how long you’ve been there and it shouldn’t be a problem. The long hours are a part of the nature of grad school but so is the freedom in the schedule. But the hours worked aren’t what’s important, the result is. If you’re worried about how this looks to your adviser, you want to show that you’ve made sufficient progress in your work not that you’ve punched a clock.

This, of course, assumes that your day to day work doesn’t depend on meeting with any of these people who are coming in late. If you’re skipping out when you should be meeting with someone late in the day, that’s a different story.

poofandmook's avatar

I always see this being the case because that early in the morning, there’s no “business” to deal with, and then throughout the day is when all the “business” is hopping… and then after hours is when all the “business” needs to be finished, cleaned up, and loose ends tied to start fresh the next morning. I think it’s often viewed by employers that if there’s that much work to do in the morning, it’s stuff that could’ve been done the night before, sso there’d be no last minute things in the morning and therefore full focus would be on the day’s new “business.”

Now, I don’t know what kind of business you’re in, so I’m speaking in very general terms here, from my own observations in the short 11 years I’ve been working.

In my situation, it’s a bit different. My shift is 1–9:30. Nobody notices if I stay late, but I am praised for coming in early. This is because I’m a dispatcher, and so there’s nothing extra to be done after my shift… but there’s plenty of slack to be picked up before the start of my shift. Which is why I’ve been working 10–9:30 and it’s so automatic that if I were to come in at my normally scheduled time of 1pm, I’d get the hairy eyeball.

Les's avatar

@cyndyh: I am pretty sure people know I come in early. I’ve mentioned it a few times and, as I mentioned above, the head of the department comes in shortly after me sometimes and he definitely sees me. I’m not complaining about working the long hours (this is my third year. I’m used to it.).
Here’s an example of sort-of what I mean. There is a guy who comes in at 11 am and often stays until 10 pm. I have heard, on numerous occasions by other grad students and the faculty “He is really dedicated to his work”, or something similar. He gets comparable amounts of work done as I do, so it isn’t simply a matter of ‘output’. I don’t see how that 11 hour shift is better than my 11 hour shift.
Also, @poof: We all sort of work on our own things. I have my research, others have their own. So there really is no “business” during the day, other than lab work and analyzing your own data. It really is the perfect scenario for coming and going when you please.

And by the way, I would never leave early if I had to meet with someone in the afternoon. I’m also not really seeking that one of my superiors come up to me and say “Wow, Les. Way to work long hours.” I really don’t care; I’ll do my work, and then I’ll graduate, and I’ll never look back. I just don’t understand the double standard.

cyndyh's avatar

I think part of the double standard may be gender related then. Not necessarily, but it’s a distinct possibility. You will eventually need references and that can effect you for a while, so it’s good to know what faculty members think of you. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck.

jvgr's avatar

Les: “But what is the difference between working late and coming in earlier? Is it the simple fact that you are ‘seen’ working late, and I am not because I am there when people come in?”

The difference is visibility. You, like me, get in early, it’s quiet, no co-workers to disturb you, business lines aren’t open…

You need to only ensure that your manager is aware of your extra effort by demonstrating your super productivity in getting things done earlier, better…

Be aware, though, that working hard doesn’t mean working better. (Not saying this is your situation, but not an unusal perception.)

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