Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dilemma Update

Well. My supervisor LtCol V said he told our boss Mr. G I wanted to be compensated for coming to work in the middle of the night. Mr. G apparently said, "We don't do that here.... it's DOD, we just say you can go home early." Nope. Wrong answer. I did my homework and printed out the guidelines covering night pay.

Night pay is paid for regularly scheduled work performed at night. This generally means work scheduled before the beginning of the administrative workweek. However, night pay is also paid for night work on a temporary assignment to a different daily tour of duty during the administrative workweek." (

Seems pretty cut and dry to me. I also spoke to our HR people who said they could make an alteration to my schedule to allow me to claim night pay. To be fair, HR did seem confused and told me no one had ever asked before. Which I find shocking: there are tons of people who end up working in the middle of the night for one thing or another, or even working all night. The DOD civilians who worked on the watch floor with Adam in DC got paid night differential so I know DOD does it. HR also said they don't have any guidelines published governing special pay for employees. Because everyone "just works it out within their directorates and gets comp time or whatever."

So I'm some kind of activist trailblazer here at PACOM.

Meanwhile, I guess Mr. G basically decided after talking to LtCol V that he didn't want to mess with the night pay so he told LtCol V (who is in the military and doesn't qualify for night pay) to go to the meeting because someone from our office needs to be there.

{Note that if/when we DO attend this thing, we'll just be in listening mode. In my opinion there is no reason we can't just read the slides and notes afterwards (which they are going to push to us anyway) and get in touch with the POC if we have questions (unlikely). It's not like we won't find out if there is something they want us to do (also unlikely). Our being there is all to show face and say someone was there from PACOM J5.}

I, of course, lost a night of sleep over it because I felt bad about making my supervisor suck a rotten egg because I am "being a baby" about the whole thing. There is certainly a culture around here that you just do things like this with a smile because it's "part of the job." Sort of similar to working in DC where we regularly worked 10+ hour days but no one ever tried to claim overtime. I mean, if you DID, your boss would tell you you need to finish your work within the allotted 40hours/week, and if that wasn't possible some of your work would be reallocated to someone else. Net effect = you lose legitimacy in the workplace.

There is some of that here too. And granted, if my job required me to work longer than 8 hours here, I wouldn't try to complain, I would just do it. I've gone in for 5 am VTCs before without complaining even though that would technically qualify for night differential too since it's between 6 pm-6 am. I wouldn't think of making a big deal out of it. But coming here at 2:30 am? I'm sorry but that seems ABOVE AND BEYOND the call of duty.

I'm willing to be told I'm being a whiny baby about this. Go ahead and call me out if you think that's the case. I even said that to my boss - hey, I'm willing to be told to go pound sand this is just part of the job. But he agreed that I was entitled to the pay if I worked in the middle of the night.

He said he is just concerned because this would be opening the proverbial can of worms. If I get paid then everyone will want to get paid for working in the middle of the night. Then will people start trying to claim overtime? It raises a bunch of questions which the command hasn't addressed. Which, AGAIN: shocking. No private company would be able to be run this way.

He said he will raise it up the chain of command and pursue the issue. Still I guess he didn't want to mess with it too much because when I sent him the paperwork by email yesterday he wrote me back and said LtCol V is going to attend instead kthxbai.

So that's where it stands. Yesterday it looked like I was going to attend after all, and get paid night pay for it. Today not so much. Although I'm still stuck here feeling like a tool because LtCol V is basically left carrying the water.



"Post-Google" by TAR ART RAT said...

different world, that DOD. Althought when I worked in the art gallery (with a total staff of 5) AND the magazine (editorial staff of 5) there was no asking for overtime or night pay either and if someone did go home at a reasonable hour then it was seen as insultingly selfish and disloyal to the team, so- as you said "Net effect = you lose legitimacy in the workplace."
DOD is more than a job, though, as we all know- it is something that has to bond directly to the vital organs and architecture of the persons' life... so I could see where the very concept of "night pay" would be completely overshadowed or just negated by teamplayer and common cause principles... or am I totally off the mark here?

Katie said...

i would not worry about it. your boss even acknowledged that you are entitled to ask for that. he just doesn't want to open that can of worms. they are so used to people just blindly accepting whatever they tell them to do and it is odd for them to actually have someone stand up for themselves. if you don't draw the line somewhere they will just assume you're ok with it and keep asking you to do those night meetings.

Michelle said...

paul, you're probably right to a great extent, but the middle of the night? one has to draw the line somewhere. maybe if i hadn't already sort of mentally checked out of this job....... to me, at this point, it IS "just a job". [my job in DC was not like that though, so i do take your point.]


i don't know about no private company being run that way...i think many private companies are much worse. nick was reminding me of friends in DC who were salaried at private companies, and working until 11:00 PM several times a week -- no OT, no differential, no nothing. and their salaries were just OK. maybe in the private world it's more a question of supply and demand...? that's too bad that your office is bending to what you want, but not quite how you envisioned, and at the expense of your colleagues. i could see where that could start to get a little dicey! you'll have to let us know what happens.