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  1. #11
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Fineline, excellent advice (that's clearly coming from someone who's sat on both sides of the desk...).

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    If you're a valued employee and offer more experience and skill than other in-house workers, then the boss should be willing to hear you out. It may be that you have some extra perks coming, anyway. IOW, it may be a good time to sit down and do some inventory-taking with the boss.
    Oh yes, and there's a PS. If you can't work out something with the boss on WAH or in-house terms, you could ask about consultant/retainer arrangements. As a consultant/retainer, you wouldn't be an employee and could work at home all you want. If you're certain they'll need your services into the distant future and won't merely replace you with a new in-house hire, it might be a good way to go. Just make sure you get enough pay to cover the benefits you'll lose.

    But obviously there are some big concerns there, especially given some things you said in your latest post about wanting to keep the job at all costs. They can drop you whenever your latest consultant/retainer contract ends. So a lot depends on the goodwill of your boss with a consultant/retainer arrangement.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Fineline, excellent advice (that's clearly coming from someone who's sat on both sides of the desk...).
    Thanks, pt!

  4. #14
    perdu fleur par bologne Martoon's Avatar
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    Thanks proteanmix, Usehername, and Jennifer (you all posted after I started my reply).

    One thing that's really unfortunate with all this is that I've been going through some kind of personal crisis that I don't understand the last few months. It's made me incapable of much productivity. Whenever I'm in front of something I need to do (for my job or otherwise), I just completely freeze up and can't do anything. I have no idea what's going on in my brain, but it ain't good. It's very frustrating, because I can't just work through it - it really paralyzes me, and I don't know why. This tends to lead to a vicious circle of anxiety. I've got some therapy scheduled, but it takes a while to get in with the right therapist. My first appointment with him is a little over a week away, and I'm sure that there isn't going to be some miracle fix in the first couple weeks or anything.

    Anyway, I've been skating by regarding the substantially lowered productivity because my boss doesn't really understand the internals of what I do. I can make it look like I've been getting more done than I have. Also, the other programmer is a good friend who has his own ups and downs, so we back each other (and it's in his best interest for me to remain employed there in good standing). But it still may be somewhat evident to the team that I've not been quite as productive lately. This isn't because I've been in the office less, but unfortunately it coincides with it, so it doesn't strengthen my case much.

    Getting that email this morning didn't help any with this weird depression/anxiety complex thingy I've got going on. I'm really feeling the need to escape somewhere right now.

    Another random note: My job description is Lead Developer, which technically is a type of management position. I think that's one reason I'm expected to be around more. Managing people is definitely not my thing (and I think my boss is aware of that), but there's still an expectation.

    Argh.
    I'm not a procrastinator. I'm a long-term planner.

  5. #15
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    I do software development and telecommute too. It's a given that I have to come into the office 1 day/week, but I often have to come in for a few hours another day also for meetings. I'm 30 min away from work (assuming no snow or other traffic headaches ), so that's not too bad.

    Just some possibilities I can think of...

    First, it sounds like maybe he viewed your request to turn in your timesheet with a special arrangement as pushing things too far, and maybe he feels things are getting slightly out of control. This then reminded him of your special work arrangement.

    I think I would have a conversation with your manager to find out what his goals are in wanting you to be onsite (not "at work") more often. Tell him that working offsite (not "at home") allows you to be more efficient and thus more productive. The terminology is important for both his perception and the perception of others he has to report to. Just the terminology might help some.

    Maybe he has some people who will be visiting or getting more detailed reports from him sometime in the future or regularly, and he wants these visitors to see people working? So, he doesn't want to come out and tell you to be onsite for these visits for fear of appearing to attempt to impress them superficially. You could suggest arranging your onsite schedule to coincide with the visits if these people if that's the case.

    Or, maybe someone you work with finds your working offsite annoying because they value face-to-face communication? If so, maybe all you need to do is improve communication with that one person.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martoon View Post
    Getting that email this morning didn't help any with this weird depression/anxiety complex thingy I've got going on. I'm really feeling the need to escape somewhere right now.
    The word escape caught my attention. I went through lots of episodes like that in my youth.

    Actually, believe it or not a change in job profile can serve as a way to escape. If my productivity at my current main activity is slumping, sometimes asking for a lateral to another position refreshes me.

    Even a lateral to a position where I'm weak can be a good thing. It gives me a challenge, something new to learn, something to hate, something to beat. I may curse it every minute I'm doing it, but it gets me out of my rut and gets my productivity back on track.

    Over time I've even learned to welcome those kinds of laterals. I just think of myself as an actor on a stage taking on a new role. I just put on a new mask and play my heart out. You never know--sometimes good things come out of it. Serendipity and all that.

    By the way, everyone goes through those slumps. That's why people want promotions and job changes. No matter how challenging your current work is, you get in a rut sooner or later and your productivity suffers. It's just human nature.

    Probably not the answer you want to hear. But you can't escape forever. You're in a job that you love and need, but your productivity is slumping. You have no real good options, so maybe it's time to challenge yourself and develop some new coping mechanisms.

    You sound like a smart guy. Maybe you just need to throw caution to the wind, take a lateral [Edit:](i.e., agree with the boss to work more in-house and try out some management work), depend on your brains to save your ass, and see what happens. Even if you fail, at worst they'll just demote you back to your current job, and presumably you'll be willing to attack it fresh at that point.

  7. #17
    perdu fleur par bologne Martoon's Avatar
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    Thanks, FineLine and JAVO. Those are some very good points.

    Another bit of info. When I did make the arrangement for one day a week, I made it clear that I would come in any other days as needed (meetings, clients onsite, etc.), and I have in fact done that (weeks where I've gone in 3 or 4 days, etc.). So there's never been a specific time that they needed me onsite and I wasn't there.

    This week, I wasn't going in at all, simply because a lot of the rest of the team were out of the office for various reasons (vacation days, meetings offsite, etc.), and I'm working on something fairly separate from the rest. But like JAVO mentioned, asking for special arrangements to turn in my timesheet probably didn't help.

    Anyway, I need to stop reading and posting here, and attempt some productivity today. Thank you, all, for your advice and support.
    I'm not a procrastinator. I'm a long-term planner.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I think it would in your best interests to outline and emphasize how telecommuting benefits your employer and do less focusing on hardships you face by coming in to work. I don't mean to sound harsh by saying this but telling them what your situation is and them accommodating will only last a few months (as it has). At my work place, people get antsy when a woman has been out on maternity leave for more than 8 weeks.

    You could compare/contrast your productivity levels before and after you began telecommuting. You mentioned that your office has grown. Can you emphasize that the type of work you do is better suited in a quiet environment (don't mention your home, this is implicit). How are the space needs in your office? Is it cheaper or more expensive for them for you to telecommute? Stuff like that.

    From the employers POV and those of other employees, I would wonder how someone qualifies for telecommuting. Believe it or not, the ability to work from home is viewed as a privilege and other coworkers may be disgruntled about why you "get" to work from home while they have to come in. It creates resentment and at my job HR recently implemented clearer guidelines on compressed work weeks/telecommuting.

    Ultimately, since they're understaffed I think you're in a good negotiating position. I definitely think you should address your employers concerns of team cohesion. Emphasize your willingness to work with other people, but most importantly emphasize how you benefit them. I'm currently seeing the effects of have a team that's compartmentalized and fractured and it's not cool. You have to enlist the division director just to get access to a database.
    Basically, what she said.

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