“Ms. Teasdale, can you come into my office. Now, please.”
The immediate light rap on my office door announced the arrival of my administrative assistant as she pushed the door open and stepped into the room. “Yes sir?” she questioned.
“Have a seat, Ms. Teasdale.” I indicated the chair across my wide glass topped desk that held only a phone.
She sat down and opened her steno pad, poised with her pen raised, ready to take notes.
“I’ve just received this Memo from Personnel,” I told her. “Effective tomorrow, they’ve added an extra hour to every day. There’ll be 25 per day now. Of course, they want us to work this extra time but they don’t want to pay us for it.”
She set her steno pad on her lap and shook her head just a little. So slight I might not have noticed had I not been working with her for these last five years.
“Here’s what we need to do. I want you to use that extra hour to sleep late, spend time with your husband, play with your kids, go to the gym, read more. Whatever it is you want to do with that time – that is what I want you to do. I don’t want to see you at the office though. Got that?”
“They’ll notice. I’ll lose my job. I can’t afford that.”
“I’ll be here,” I said, “I’m here anyway. I’ll tell them that I’ve sent you on an errand, to the mail room, or the copier, or to fetch me coffee, whatever. The important thing is that you aren’t here and that you understand I’ll cover for you.”
“Yes sir, I understand. Thank you.”
“No need to thank me. Did you record any of this conversation in that steno pad?”
“OK, I don’t need to ask for that page then. Take the rest of the day off and I’ll see you in the morning. Be late. Be an hour late but no more.”
“Yes sir, see you in the morning. Thank you.” She folded her pad back up, rose from the chair and went back out the door.