Monday, June 27, 2011

Leaving Early Guilt

by Working Girl One

And by early, I mean I reasonable hour like 6pm.

I hate working late. Hate it. Some people don't mind it, some even like it. I totally get it, at the end of the day, when everyone else has packed up and gone home, you can finally have some peace and quiet to get your work done.

I am not one of those people. I never was. I prefer getting in early or working through lunch. And with an hour or so long commute these days, I am so not one of those people.

Over the last few weeks, I've gotten pretty good at getting my work done at a reasonable hour. Could I stay later and get even more work done? Sure, there is always work to be done. But it's summer and I just want to get to the train and get home.

So, I leave. And I feel guilty about it. I am usually one of the first people to leave and while I know others are only 15 or 20 minutes behind me, I hate being the first. I hate the idea of my boss calling my name from her office and realizing I'm not there. Would she really care if I wasn't? Probably not. She's one of those people who doesn't mind staying late and she knows I have a commute.

I was raised Catholic so I blame it on my Catholic Guilt. But it's something I have to get over. If I complete all my work, I deserve to leave at a reasonable hour, no?

14 comments:

Ms. Attitude said...

You definitely deserve it. Especially if you are getting your work done. My problem is that when I leave early (meaning after a 9+ hour day) I get the feeling that I am guilty. Like they make me feel guilty. But I don't see them spending over 60 hours in the office every week.

Anonymous said...

I had a recent conversation with a coworker around this topic. I was saying how I treasure my daily 45 minute lunches which I spend eating and reading. She responded by saying how she would love to do that, but everyone else in her area works through lunch and would question her work ethic if she took daily lunches. Instead she takes extra long lunches out with friends every few months.

That blew my mind. Taking a period of time away from my desk in the middle of the day is so important for my happiness. I still work the same number of hours as I would if I worked through lunch, I just leave later in the day.

This also reminded me of a few other separate discussions with other coworkers who all admitted to taking PTO time, but still working. Like using PTO time to go work from home (even though working from home is perfectly acceptable) or taking PTO time because their internet is down, but still working on other assignments. Isn't PTO for TIME OFF from work?

It seems there's a shift to putting in more and more time at work, as though just being there/on counts more than quality work and efficiently spent time. I don't understand why people feel guilty "only" working a 9 or 10 hour work day, taking a lunch break even if they still work the same number of hours, or simply taking a day off from work. I will never be that person and if it means I get slightly less money/promotions in the long run, so be it. I'm happier.

christinamg said...

Totally agree with you! I have that same long commute and it's more necessity to leave on time. This past year, I've worked so much overtime (including tons of weekends). My goal this year was to actually have a life and leave on time and work less weekends. You have to enjoy some YOU time! Especially now that the weather is so nice!! :)

Amy said...

i feel this way too! If I have a deadline and need to finish something up I have no problem working late. But I hate staying late just for the sake of not looking like the first to leave. Many of the people who "work" until 7-8pm are ones who don't manage their time well during the day and then they make comments like "oh, working a half day?" if someone leaves on time. If you're getting your work done it shouldn't matter if you leave at 5pm or 10pm and if people have that much time to notice and comment, they can't be THAT busy!

LaNeshe said...

I feel this way sometimes too. We have to remember, if we've done a decent day's work, we deserve to leave at a reasonable time!

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Carolina Belle said...

I carry the same guilt about leaving early. My guilt also carries over to 'I should have arrived at work sooner' and the 'I dont have time for a vacation guilt.' How does one get to the point where they feel comfortable leaving early, arriving on time, not working on the weekends or taking a vacation? I have yet to master that. Tips would be appreciated.

Crosby Kenyon said...

I don't see the problem with leaving if your obligations are met.

Angeline said...

You definitely don't have any reason to feel guilty. Many people who work crazy hours do so voluntarily and it should not be a requirement. I'm glad you do leave when you're done for the day...don't let others peer pressure you into it. Plus, if you start working late where you are and getting more done, they'll start expecting that, and then you're in a real pickle when you want to leave at a normal hour.

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