Friday, February 14, 2003

My father was an accountant. Sometimes he would refer to himself disparagingly as a "bean-counter."

I've known for years that I could never follow in my father's footsteps. I took one accounting class in college, more to humor my father than for any other reason. I scored the lowest grade of my undergraduate career.

I have what you might call an "artistic temperament," which is a polite way of saying I can't balance my checkbook.

I think using the Kronos system turns us all into bean-counters. The beans are minutes rather than pennies, but it's they are counted nonetheless.

And as I said above, I knew I'd never make a good bean-counter.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

I was just talking to a fellow staffer about a committee meeting at 4PM this afternoon.

"You should come," I said. "Your input would be valuable."

"No way," he said. Seems that his Kronos schedule has him ending his workday at 4:30. As an hourly employee, he can't stay later than 4:30 without going into overtime. All overtime must be approved in advance. Merely making the request is something of a hassle, especially when you know your request will be denied.

If it weren't for the way Kronos is implemented on our campus, this guy would have at least considered coming to the committee meeting. Instead, it's a no-brainer: "No way." End of discussion.

Is this progress?

A faculty member in the Theology Department recommends taking a look at this painting by Goya, which depicts Kronos devouring his children.

I also found this picture, which shows Kronos devouring his gummy bears.

Kronos promotes a focus on attendance, not work.

This is simply a matter of policy. The Kronos manual tells us to clock in and out to record attendance. Work is not mentioned.

Maybe that makes sense for butt-in-seat jobs. But if you work with your head, and not your butt, where does that leave you?

I asked a co-worker that question this morning. Her reply was succinct: "Disgruntled."

Actually she her choice of words was a bit more colorful than that.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Earlier today, a faculty member in the English Department thanked me for writing this journal. She said that it was "articulate and insightful" as well as "a legitimate addition to the Kronos argument on campus."

Just now, a staff member in the Library Resource Center stopped me as I walked through the lobby. She also praised Pride Before Kronos.

Then she hit me with the following: "Do you write this on your time, or on Kronos time?"

An excellent question! She asked it with a twinkle in her eye, to be sure, but it deserves serious consideration nonetheless.

The truth is that I write entries in this journal both "on the clock" and off. It would be better if I wrote all the entries on the clock, since this is clearly work-related, and I have been given every indication that I am performing a valuable service to the university community.

But sometimes inspiration strikes when I'm at home, and Kronos can't see me there, so I'm "off the clock."

A lot of the work I do happens in my head, not in the office.

Yesterday evening I spent some time answering e-mails. A faculty member asked me to look at his new website and give him some critical feedback.

So I did. But because I was at home, Kronos didn't see me.

This morning when I woke up, the first thing I thought about was a programming problem I've been wrestling with for the past week. It's part of CD-ROM project that will help students learn zoological taxonomy. The basic idea is that you see an image of an animal and you have to identify its phylum, subphylum, and class.

As I puttered around the kitchen, eating a bowl of bran flakes, I turned the problem over in my head again and again, looking at it from different angles, trying to solve the puzzle.

But because I was in my kitchen, Kronos didn't see me.

I decided to walk to work. On the way, as I continued to work on the problem. About halfway there, as I crested the Jeff Davis overpass, a solution came to me. I do believe my pace quickened as I anticipated writing the lines of code that would make my idea work.

But because I was not in my office, Kronos didn't see me.

Finally I arrived at my office and clocked in. Now, at last, Kronos sees me.

My point for today is simply this: I am a knowledge worker. (If you're not familiar with the term, see Peter Drucker's Landmarks of Tomorrow, published in 1959.) Kronos can't see inside my head, thank goodness, but that means that Kronos is missing the most important part of what I do.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Little by little time slips away
First the hour and then the day
Small at soon the loss appears
But soon it will amount to years

Monday, February 10, 2003

One faculty member told me that he can't get a good parking space now that Kronos has been implemented. Presumably this is because so many staff members are now arriving at work on time.

I suppose that's a good effect of Kronos. There are probably lots of other good things about Kronos too. I recognize that. I don't want anyone to think I'm some crazed, ranting lunatic who can't see two sides to the issue.

But at the same time, that is not my purpose in keeping this weblog. I am not interested in presenting both side of the story here. Kronos has more than its fair share of vocal advocates, in the form of the Human Resources department.

My focus is on articulating criticisms of Kronos. Even more specifically, I am attempting to catalog all my personal complaints against Kronos. I am trying to build a case for why I should not be compelled to clock in and out every day.

If Kronos improves staff attendance, that's great. But my attendance was never a problem in the first place, at least according to my direct supervisor. Why, then, should I be punished?

For every benefit that this timekeeping system allegedly provides, I can supply a corresponding counter-argument. Such is my pride before Kronos!