I am a 29 year old successful career professional.  My work gets done and I have no one openly questioning my dedication to the company. I run process improvement projects and have no direct reports.

My direct supervisor has no issues with me working either 7-4 or even 6-3.

I like to get in early and out early because I have two little ones and stay at home wife. I like to be active now that they have many activities and I like to get home to give my wife a break.

When the kids get older and more independent, I foresee myself advancing professionally and ending up with an 8-5 type of schedule with much more flexibility.

My concern is that for the next few years senior management will not view me positively because I am not available for the 4pm meetings and when they walk by my space later in the day they will notice I am not there.

Should I be worried that my schedule is hurting my promotability? Do senior executives notice these things? If they do, do they understand and accept this type of schedule?

naraa's picture
Training Badge

 Some executives are early starters too so they may see you arriving early and think well of you.

I have heard executives complain about people leaving too early, or always arriving late, and not showing enough commitment to work.  But that was always linked with evidence of poor performance from the same person somewhere else too.

My experience is that if you do deliver it really doesn't matter whether you are there or not all the time.  Some managers do like to have people available for them whenever they need it.  I don't think that is effective though and usually my experience is that at least in the kind of work I am involved with it is linked with poor planning from the manager.

That said, if your company usually have meetings at 4 pm which you should be attending to your absence will be noticed and will interfere with your carrier progress.  

Finally my experience is, with myself and other people I have worked with that home well being and work performance is interlinked.  You need to find what works for you, it may mean you will progress slower in your carrer but it will probable be more sustainable in the long run.  

What maybe seen as positive dedication to work without affecting too much your home life is just like the company flexibilizes work schedule for you if eventually they need you to stay late, for a meeting or to finalize something, you do stay.

Without knowing too much you are probably more effective working 6-3 or 7-4 than you would working 8-5 and the impact of your dedication to your kids and wife is far more important to their life and probably to the world than you adjusting to someone's perseption of your dedication to work.



jrosenau's picture

I want to address the 4pm meeting comment - is there a way you can be available on your commute?  Would you be able to call into your meeting on your mobile so you can be available?  Even if you are only available until you get home, that would stretch your workday.  I know this depends on the company environment and whether the 4pm is a standing meeting, but it might be something to think about.


cim44's picture
Training Badge

This twigged when I read Nara's comment, which may be restating what she said, but if someone actively perceives you aren't dedicated because of your general work hours, its prob someone who's going to perceive you negatively.

I agree with John too in that if you are going to do "odd" work hours you should prepare for communications outside of your hours but within your company's normal expectations.

refbruce's picture

I have both extremes in my group -- folks who come in at 6:00 and folks who don't get in until 9:30.  From my perspective, results are what matter.  Make sure your boss (at a minimum) understands what you're doing.  And occasional emails from you to some of the other folks with a 6:00 AM timestamp can help remind folks of your earlybird hours.

However, if there are regular meetings at 4:00 that are important, it may be appropriate to see if you can flex occasionally to attend.  Showing some flexibility in your schedule (particularly if the company returns the flexibility) helps.  And it may be enough to get someone to move the meeting back so that it starts earlier and doesn't require you to stay longer.  I don't put general meetings with my staff outside of core hours, but occasionally it's necessary given various schedules, and I do expect people to show flexibility where they can to attend those meetings, particularly where I can provide reasonable lead time.  

TomW's picture
Training Badge

I see a lot of things there about what you like. As Mark often points out, you're not paid to do what you like. You're paid for what the organization needs you to do.

If need to be at a 4:00 meeting, then you be there. Maybe it's by phone, maybe it's my LiveMeeting, maybe it's in person. Your alternative is not letting the kids freeze on a bus stop. It's having your wife pick them up. We're talking about a situation based on what you prefer, not what you absolutely have to do in order to make your family life work.

My company is located on the east coast of the US and does a lot of work with teams on the west coast of India. As a result, a number of people work offset hours. But they attend any and every 4:00 (or 5:00 or 6:00) meeting that occurs.

Only you can answer the question of "should I take the risk of letting my personal preferences for my work schedule interfere with others' positive perception of me?"