Today was timesheet day at work.  Twice a month the hours I worked get submitted to some bureaucratic computer on Mars.  The program complains if the hours are off a little bit, or if there are some hours missing.  It’s all fine and dandy, and helps me record the right amount of time to the right things.  They care about this.

I care more about the quantity of hours I’m recording.  This has been a big, bad, busy year, one of the worst I’ve ever had.  I have worked about 25% overtime this year, and my salary hasn’t changed.  No overtime.  That’s about three months – three additional months – of work time that I have given away.  That hurts, especially coming during the year that we’re building the new house and moving in.

So I started thinking about how it would work if it went the other way.

There are 168 hours in a week.  I’m nominally working 40 of them, leaving 128 hours as my time.  I can choose to spend them commuting, eating lunch, sleeping, or figuring out why zip-loc bags are so easy to open and so hard to close.  It’s all my time.

Suddenly, due to circumstances beyond my control, suppose I need 25% more time in my personal life.  Let’s say I didn’t realize how fascinating it was to watch hawks circle in the sky – something totally unrelated to work.  25% more personal time comes out to 32 hours a week. And that personal time has to come out of work time, just like the extra work time comes out of personal time.  There are only two time buckets, and if one gets bigger, the other gets smaller.  It’s a closed system.

So out of a forty hour work week, the company has to forgo 32 hours, leaving me with a single work-day each week.   And this is across a whole year, not just a single week or month.  And my salary can’t change.  No under-time.

I’m sure my company will understand this – they have asked it of me multiple times over the years.

2009 is going to be really, really fun.