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Work ethics - what is "ok" on a break and what is not?

Aunt Spiker

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Years back I was working as a temp for an insurance company.
On my lunch break I would make jewelry - in the employee break room.

I did this for a few days and then some guy (don't know who) came up to me and said "I hope you're off the clock for that sort of thing"

He didn't know I was a temp - for all I know he was the CEO chiding me for doing crafts on the clock.

So - was it really wrong for me to spend my lunch break doing some crafts?
Is that type of thing not really a good idea - but not horrible, either?
 

jallman

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First and foremost, the fact that you were in the break room should have clued him in that you were off the clock. Further, I think it's a much greater breach of workplace etiquette for someone to chide another person's employees, especially on their break times.

As long as there isn't any vulgarity, injurious rough housing, or vandalism going, I don't care what my guys do on their breaks. The same goes for when they are on company time except add to that list "the work is getting done".
 

samsmart

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Years back I was working as a temp for an insurance company.
On my lunch break I would make jewelry - in the employee break room.

I did this for a few days and then some guy (don't know who) came up to me and said "I hope you're off the clock for that sort of thing"

He didn't know I was a temp - for all I know he was the CEO chiding me for doing crafts on the clock.

So - was it really wrong for me to spend my lunch break doing some crafts?
Is that type of thing not really a good idea - but not horrible, either?
What you do off the clock is your decision to do. What you do on the clock is up to your bosses to decide.

I don't think that he was chiding you to do crafts during your break, but rather he was just making sure you were on your break while you did crafts. He was also being a snarky dick about it too.
 

justabubba

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Years back I was working as a temp for an insurance company.
On my lunch break I would make jewelry - in the employee break room.

I did this for a few days and then some guy (don't know who) came up to me and said "I hope you're off the clock for that sort of thing"

He didn't know I was a temp - for all I know he was the CEO chiding me for doing crafts on the clock.

So - was it really wrong for me to spend my lunch break doing some crafts?
Is that type of thing not really a good idea - but not horrible, either?
your lunch hour is uncompensated time. it is your time to spend as you see fit. you can take it at work or off the work site. if you leave the work site and get in an accident, the employer is not responsible for your resultant injuries
in minor contrast, the breaks you receive (likely 15 minutes each four hour period) are on paid time
your employer can call you off of break in an exigency, so long as it does not become a recurring practice - effectively denying you your breaks that are on the employer's time. the employer may prohibit employees from leaving the worksite during those times. if you leave the worksite during the break and get in an accident the employer is liable for the incident - it is an on-the-job injury
so, you can see there is a legitimate basis for the employer to know whether you are on your time or theirs
that you were in the break room should have clued him in ... but i wonder if employees at that site took advantage of their break and lunch times, causing him to be vigilant ... or maybe he was just being a dick
 

Goshin

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First and foremost, the fact that you were in the break room should have clued him in that you were off the clock. Further, I think it's a much greater breach of workplace etiquette for someone to chide another person's employees, especially on their break times.

As long as there isn't any vulgarity, injurious rough housing, or vandalism going, I don't care what my guys do on their breaks. The same goes for when they are on company time except add to that list "the work is getting done".

I couldn't put it any better than that.

My current corporate employer is an effing totalitarian dictator. The degree of micromanagement is unbelieveable... literally, if I told you some of the crap that comes down from on high you would not believe it, you can't make this **** up. They want to control every aspect of your working day down the smallest details.

The police department wasn't this particular.

If the economy improves, I am so outta there.
 

MyOwnDrum

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If you are on a lunch break, then you aren't being paid. You are free to knit, do crafts, go jogging, whatever is legal and reasonable.
 

Orion

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Whoever said that to you sounded like they were on a bit of a power trip.
 

RightinNYC

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You should have told him that if he asked nicely, you would make him a set of beads to shove up his ass.
 

jallman

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I couldn't put it any better than that.

My current corporate employer is an effing totalitarian dictator. The degree of micromanagement is unbelieveable... literally, if I told you some of the crap that comes down from on high you would not believe it, you can't make this **** up. They want to control every aspect of your working day down the smallest details.

The police department wasn't this particular.

If the economy improves, I am so outta there.
I find when someone is being micro managed, they become very unproductive after a while. It's like they don't have any initiative anymore because they expect you to tell them to do or not do something. It makes zero sense to me to do that to someone. Besides, I have way too much to do to babysit someone. The general rule with my team is that as long as I never heard about it from other management, they handled it appropriately. But god help you if I actually do hear about something going wrong. LOL
 

Mell

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I think it is OK to do crafts, during your lunch, coffee or whatever break. Those breaks are for a break from work. But, I do think many American companies dont recognise these breaks. I used to work on the US army base in Germany. Despite it being the law here that employees have a certain number of breaks during work time, you couldnt ask for them as an employee, because managers didnt like giving them.

When I was working for a company in Ireland, I used to read, browse the internet... during work time. I found it very useful to do this between customers, because almost all the customers who called had a problem they were frustrated about. Doing a mindless activity between each one relaxed my mind enough to forget about the last one and make me ready for the next one. I think, it can benefit a persons work, if they can do a hobby during work time. But, I was lucky because I got so many good reports from customers, that my managers did not care what I was doing during work time.
 

Mell

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Whoever said that to you sounded like they were on a bit of a power trip.
They sound to me, like a typical nagging middle manager.
 

MyOwnDrum

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They sound to me, like a typical nagging middle manager.
Most managers are salaried and slaves to their work. They probably resent people who actually have time for hobbies and other interests. They get crapped on by upper management with more to do, all on a fixed salary.
 

Mell

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Most managers are salaried and slaves to their work. They probably resent people who actually have time for hobbies and other interests. They get crapped on by upper management with more to do, all on a fixed salary.
They probably have lousy communication skills.
 

rivrrat

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They sound to me, like a typical nagging middle manager.
Most managers are salaried and slaves to their work. They probably resent people who actually have time for hobbies and other interests. They get crapped on by upper management with more to do, all on a fixed salary.
They probably have lousy communication skills.
Easy now, geez. I'm a manager.

Still working on building a team here, but with my boys at Sony I didn't give a flying **** what they did on their break - or hell... all day long for that matter, as long as the necessary work was getting done correctly.
 

MyOwnDrum

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Ah ****! I didnt mean you to hear all this. Please dont fire me. :(
Hopefully her periods not due, that's all I can say... ;)
 

Mell

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Hopefully her periods not due, that's all I can say... ;)
Oh no! Yet another variation of the 'PMS is to blame for all negative emotions in women' comment again!!! Women get pissed off for other reasons, including the sweeping assumption that PMS always stands for 'Pass My Shotgun'.
 
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Pitwolfy

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I find when someone is being micro managed, they become very unproductive after a while. It's like they don't have any initiative anymore because they expect you to tell them to do or not do something. It makes zero sense to me to do that to someone. Besides, I have way too much to do to babysit someone. The general rule with my team is that as long as I never heard about it from other management, they handled it appropriately. But god help you if I actually do hear about something going wrong. LOL
I totally agree with this! You're always going to have that one person (lucky if it's one) that you'll have to watch but for the most part, people produce much better results when you leave
them to do their own work. I was a proof supervisor for a bank and I saw both sides of the coin in action. I was micro-managed to death by my boss but I let my people do the job they were hired for. We always had the best production rate in the area!
 

samsmart

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I totally agree with this! You're always going to have that one person (lucky if it's one) that you'll have to watch but for the most part, people produce much better results when you leave
them to do their own work. I was a proof supervisor for a bank and I saw both sides of the coin in action. I was micro-managed to death by my boss but I let my people do the job they were hired for. We always had the best production rate in the area!
I worked in an auto-parts store that was family owned when I was a kid. My grandfather own the whole thing, and my father worked in the radiator & repair shop next to it. My grandfather hated to see anyone not working, and always expected his employees to be busy with something.

So I would work with my dad and help him as he fixed cars, tractors, and other equipment. He would be on the floor working on something and he would tell me which tools or parts to get for him so he could stay there. When I wasn't going to get a tool, I would wait beside my dad in case he wanted me to fetch something for him.

Whenever my grandfather saw me doing this, he thought that I was just standing around doing nothing. He would come up to me and tell me to start doing something, like sweep the floor put up tools or something else productive.

In other words, my grandfather wanted me busy in other places of the shop, except when my dad, my immediate boss, needed me to do something for him. Then I was to run over to him, find out what he needed, go get it, bring it back, and hand it to him. After that, I was to proceed to immediately to do whatever other busy work I on the other side of the shop I was doing. Just so my crochety old grandfather wouldn't think I was laying about.

If anyone knows the horrors of being micro-managed, it's certainly me. And because it was family, there was very little I could do about it.
 

jallman

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I worked in an auto-parts store that was family owned when I was a kid. My grandfather own the whole thing, and my father worked in the radiator & repair shop next to it. My grandfather hated to see anyone not working, and always expected his employees to be busy with something.

So I would work with my dad and help him as he fixed cars, tractors, and other equipment. He would be on the floor working on something and he would tell me which tools or parts to get for him so he could stay there. When I wasn't going to get a tool, I would wait beside my dad in case he wanted me to fetch something for him.

Whenever my grandfather saw me doing this, he thought that I was just standing around doing nothing. He would come up to me and tell me to start doing something, like sweep the floor put up tools or something else productive.

In other words, my grandfather wanted me busy in other places of the shop, except when my dad, my immediate boss, needed me to do something for him. Then I was to run over to him, find out what he needed, go get it, bring it back, and hand it to him. After that, I was to proceed to immediately to do whatever other busy work I on the other side of the shop I was doing. Just so my crochety old grandfather wouldn't think I was laying about.

If anyone knows the horrors of being micro-managed, it's certainly me. And because it was family, there was very little I could do about it.
I think I might have had to tell grandpa it was time for a batch of soylent green...
 
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