Monday, May 15, 2006

Flexibility

Flexibility is what lets gymnasts do front walkovers and back handsprings, but this post has nothing to do with the Oscar-deserving gynmastics flick, Stick It (subtitled for foreign markets as An Excuse to Slowly Pan The Camera Over Teenage Ass in Leotards for Two Hours). I'm merely using the pictures to attract new readers. Since yesterday was Mother's Day, every other article in the Washington Post was arguing for increased flexibility for parents in the workforce. Growing up in a family full of U.S. government workers who had more leave time than there are days in the year, and working at a private tech company that provides this flexibility without a second thought really makes me take it for granted.

Here is a typical work day in my life: I get to work at six in the morning, give or take fifteen minutes depending on whether Booty was being particularly obnoxious to get breakfast or whether I put my trust in the Snooze button without realizing that I don't have a Snooze button. I eat a small lunch snack while I work, generally around 10:30, and continue working as the later shifts start rolling into the office. My work day is done at two, but often times (maybe three days out of the week) I'll just head out at noon or one. Sometimes I'll run some errands, get a real lunch, or ride a tractor through a herd of gymnasts in the wild before I head home for good, where I'll pick up my work where I left off for another hour or so. If I really don't feel like working, I'll do my own thing throughout the afternoon and then work for a couple hours in the evening after dinner. During weeks where I feel particularly slackassed, I'll take off the entire afternoon, and then make up the time over the weekend where I can work in peace with no one else around and crank the volume on my horrible tastes in music all the way up.

This system works for me because the company can trust that I'll get things done on time (and possibly even more efficiently than if I worked a 9-to-5 day) and knows that they can contact me by phone or e-mail even if I don't happen to be at my desk. And though I use that extra time during the day for my own selfish slacker purposes, I could just as easily be tending to those orphans I bought for pennies a day or picking up little Jimmy from preschool where he got mono from kissing all the girls on the playground. (He could also have gotten pregnant, depending on whether or not he was diagnosed at the Virginia Tech health clinic).

I'd have to say that flexibility is one of the major selling points of my job, even if I would normally consider other things like the salary or the challenge of the work. It's the same reason that I probably wouldn't take public transportation to work, even if there were a bus stop right in my living room: I like to have the empowerment to create my own schedule and not be tied down by things outside of my control. With a car, I can decide to pick up some Popeyes on the way home or purchase the new New Super Mario Brothers game at Best Buy after work.

And should I decide that I want to wear spandex and slowly rise out of a bathtub filled with ice cubes, well then that's my perogative too.

Wasting dogs on DVDs
$31,000 for free, if you can decompress it
It's really just a trick to keep bad music majors away from their instuments

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