Thursday, 29 July 2010

An Asperger's Eye View of Flexi-Time.

Connie's done it again. I've been wondering what she was up to - she seems to have been going into work later and later each day, but coming home earlier. This evening, I ask her what she's playing at.

"What d'you mean, what am I playing at?"

"Going into work so late, and coming home so early," I say. "Doesn't your boss mind that you're working so few hours?"

"No," says Connie, looking at me as if I am mad. "Why should he?"

"Well," I say. "You are contracted for thirty-seven hours a week, and you can't be working more than twenty-eight -"

"Yeah, I know, stupid!" says Connie. "But I'm on flexi-time, aren't I?"

It turns out that Connie hasn't quite grasped the concept of flexible hours. She thinks that it means that you work as many hours as you like, and that that's okay - as long as you're honest about filling in your timesheet so you're not being overpaid. The fact that her contract is for a specified number of hours a week seems to have bypassed her synapses. I explain. Slowly.

"Con, flexi-time doesn't mean you work as many hours as you like. It means you work thirty-seven hours, but at times to suit you!"

"Oh," says Connie.

Max nearly wets himself when I tell him about it. Connie has a brain the size of a planet, but she must be the most literal person in the world. Josh just rolls his eyes and says,

"I always knew she was stupid as well as fugly."

"What does fugly mean?" says Max. He never learns.

"F*cking ugly," says Josh, the words dripping with sibling rivalry.

I wish I was on flexi-time. In fact, I wish it was so flexible that it didn't involve any hours at all per week.  Then I recall how miserable Jen sounded, and feel guilty about wishing for unemployment. But I could really use a holiday. Trouble is, I've used up nearly all my leave, thanks to The Boss. While he didn't exactly insist that I take almost all my leave for this year during the election campaign, he did suggest I might want to consider taking it at that particular time, and then "volunteering" to help out.

There was no doubting the meaningful way in which he said that he was "always grateful" for a show of support. If he hadn't have made enemies of almost all the Party activists, I'd have ignored him - but his approved campaign team ended up being made up of a core group comprising only me, Greg, and Trish, Andrew's wife - who didn't seem entirely committed to the effort herself. What was that famous quote? Behind every successful man stands an incredulous woman. And a couple of coerced members of staff.

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