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  • #2289718

    How do you define “productivity”?


    by mean_machine ·

    My boss wants me to write a daily journal so he can see what I’m working on throughout the day. Out of eleven people in my department, I am the only one being required to do this.

    He says I’m not producing, but I can view reports in our work order tracking software that says I’ve got the second most closed calls and the highest “billable” hours.

    Is there a conspiracy to drive me mad? Is he trying to make me quit? Should I get HR involved on the grounds of harassment?

    Help me.

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  • Author
    • #2703119

      Tough one, I’d watch my back …

      by tomsal ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      When I read the header for this post I thought you were just asking how you gauge productivity for employees under you.

      I was going to say first you need to have a baseline to go by (else how do you judge what is productive or what is NOT productive). The baseline period alone could take a week or two just to get a good amount of data. When you baseline you collect information on ALL members of either a department or company — depends on what your goals are (do you want productivity on select folks? certain departments? the whole company? — they call this a “sample size”).

      Anyway, in YOUR case though — based on the info you gave it does sound, unfortunately, that your boss is trying to make a decision on what to do with you. Now that might mean he/she is trying to figure out if a different position within your department is better suited for you, of course it could also mean he/she is collecting info to judge if you should be terminated or not.

      Document the hell out of all you do.

      You say you log your workorders and billable hours; have you been printing out reports to prove those claims? Show the reports to your boss.

      Don’t forget, which amazes me how many folks never think of this because I think its so simple, TALK with your boss.

      Obviously you are concerned enough to post here, so it bothers you — voice this concern to your boss. When you do this — you must be mature, you must be calm, you must be professional.

      Be polite when you request a time to talk to him/her about the situation. When the time is set — come to that meeting with whatever documentation you can muster that proves you don’t just slack all day (good start would be showing him/her the report on your closed workorders and billable hours).

      Furthermore, perhaps if you know you have some idle time (some bosses are out of control — if they see you idle for even 5 minutes they lose it like you were idle for a half hour) — come up with a plan to keep you busy. Perhaps a PM plan for your servers/client PCs? Maybe interview employees on areas they find most troubling with regards to the software they use or their computers in general…then write documentation to address said problems.

      The bottomline is if you prove you are a “team player” and you are interested in doing right by the boss and the company, unless the guy/gal is a complete jerk — bosses respond to that stuff and you’ll score points as a worthy employee.

      • #2703076


        by mean_machine ·

        In reply to Tough one, I’d watch my back …

        I debated on how to title this discussion. I didn’t want to sound whiney and say that I think my boss is out to get me. I just wanted to convey the fact that while records show that I have been the second most productive member of the department (out of 11) since January this year, I still hear that I’m not producing.

        I also didn’t want to mention this before, but it seems important now, but I have a reasonable suspicion that people in my department are “spying” on me. By spying I mean using our remote PC management software to watch what I’m doing and taking screenshots. That isn’t right regardless of what the manual says. The problem is that I can’t prove it’s happening without snooping on the person’s machine which is a clear cut case of two wrongs not making a right.

        I know there are people out there who are paranoid and are easily drawn into trumped up conspiracies, but I’m not like that. Besides, I have had trusted sources inform me of said subversion. Also, unlike the aforementioned conspiracy victims, I want to believe that the members of my department are part of the same team I am part of and that they wouldn’t purposefully try to get me canned because I use the “f” word too much.

        • #3303705

          Jealousy and Sloth could both be culprits.

          by mfrith1 ·

          In reply to Header

          Maybe that’s not the reason, but having the most billable hours and being second in completed calls might be applying heat to some who is close to your mark. Take a look at who’s FIRST in call turnover. Did they use to be first in billable hours? How far ahead of the rest of the “pack” are you? Maybe you are making everyone below you look bad. Start keeping duplicate records for your own protection. Check your system for a keyboard logger. Tracking use of the PC Management Software should not be that hard either, especialy if you have access to it. BE AWARE. Find out how your sources know what’s going on, use casual conversation.
          Lastly, take your records to your boss and find out what led them to believe you weren’t being productive, it can’t hurt you to have them know that you are concerned about their opinion.

        • #3303701

          oh, by the way!

          by mfrith1 ·

          In reply to Header

          Just an after-thought, clean up your language, stay professional even if others don’t. You never know who else is listening.

        • #3303689

          Reply To: How do you define “productivity”?

          by the admiral ·

          In reply to Header

          If I were the department manager and have not warned you that you are making people feel uncomfortable using the F word too much, then they ARE fishing to get you canned.

          Probably a good time to start learning a new way to say it.

        • #3303618

          Been there.

          by ayg551 ·

          In reply to Header

          I am a one man IT department for 87 desktops at four locations. Eight months ago I was advised I was “kist sitting around” and told to keep a daily journal of what I did and when. Several months after beginning this daily acvtivity my Boss sent me an e-mail, cc’ing Management, that he had no idea I was doing so much and appreciated my efforts!

          Perhaps your Supervisor is not aware of all the things you are doing. Keeping the journal may open some eyes.

        • #3304189

          sounds like your co-workers also use tech republic

          by mistresschaos ·

          In reply to Been there.

          and apparently you have said the “f” word too much!

        • #3303980

          Me too

          by yaa ·

          In reply to Been there.

          A year and a half ago I was advised to keep a log of everything I do, so I can make a case to the reviewers when they assess my job (it was then 50% system administration 50% webmastering). The reviewers have not been here since, but it helped me prove to my boss that the SA part of the job is a full time one, and from January next year someone else will do the webmastering, whilst I’ll be a 100% SA. It also helped document any extrahours put in…

        • #3303605

          windows options

          by a1deydreams ·

          In reply to Header

          enable net watch in windows options… it will let you know if someone logs on to your computer while you are working.. although this may not work if they have keylogging s/w installed.. but it is a place to start..

        • #3303581

          A Model Of Excellence

          by kennethneilwilliamson ·

          In reply to windows options

          With your top numbers,

        • #3303922

          Reply To: How do you define “productivity”?

          by dbabh ·

          In reply to A Model Of Excellence

          Oh good God! How about just working instead of looking for ways to cover your ass.

        • #3299392

          Re: Excellence

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to A Model Of Excellence

          What exactly would be the purpose of the lawyer? Based on what he has posted, his boss hasn’t done anything illegal. Unless he has a contract (which is usually reserved for contractors and executives) he is an at will employee.

        • #3304162

          Definately watch out!

          by it security guy ·

          In reply to Header

          If they are spying on you, don’t give them anything to report, other than that there is nothing to report. After gathering your documentation for a couple weeks, if you think you are still being watched, try to find a way of proving it. If you can’t, go to your boss and say you think you are being monitored and ask if it is and why it is happening. This could mean the company is investigating people for something that is going on and you are just one of a group.

          A question I have is are you a full time employee (FTE) or contractor? I think you should get your resume in order and start looking elsewhere in case you are being set up for something.

        • #3299400

          Re: Header

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Header

          Only hearing your side of the story, if I were in your shoes I would probably be considering employment somewhere else. If you constantly think that you’re being “spied” on, etc, your work performance is bound to suffer.

          Also, assuming that what you say is accurate, I probably wouldn’t be so trusting of my fellow employees. You have to look out for number one first. They probably are! It’s nice to have friends in the workplace, but ultimately, that’s not why you were hired. It’s the team leader, manager, or whatever the title of the person in charge responsibility to build team cohesiveness, even though the individual players can contribute to making this happen. You want to see your co-workers as team players? Where do you fit into the team?

          Lastly, in my personal opinion, the workplace is not the time to be using a foul language. I feel that employees should always be professional in their performance during the workday. Using the ‘F’ word to often could be an area of contention with your fellow employees. Have any of them commented about it to you? If you’re unsure of how to conduct yourself, in most cases you can look to how someone successful in the organization conducts themselves.

      • #3303765

        Your work is 50% and relation with boss and others is the rest.

        by navaneetham ·

        In reply to Tough one, I’d watch my back …

        Productivity in work is 50% of the story. Remaining 50% comes from your relationship with Boss first, other staff next and customers third.

        If you are OK with 2nd and 3rd your office life will be very smooth. First find out what boss likes in term of subordinate staff behaviour. Take the case of your boss most liked subordinate and try to follow him/her. This could be anything from dress, speach style, etc. If you have ever irritated your boss, then meet and neutralise it first. All these takes time and you need to do it and wait with patience.

        Best and business oriented bosses notice and recognises your changes in the right direction and will reward you soon.

        Looking for alternate job is always one way of getting ride of the problem. But if the problem is at your end, you will face it in any organisation.

        Best of Luck.


      • #3303682

        You may be reading this all wrong….

        by kendbeeman ·

        In reply to Tough one, I’d watch my back …

        Believe you said that you were #2 in productivity and #1 in billable hours.

        Could it be that you boss is wanting this information to……………………………………. use as a guide to improve the whole office. He/she just might like your results and what know how you are doing so good..

        Just ask your boss in a non-hostile manner if this could be why? Better to ask about a positve than a negative?

        • #3303650

          It think he’s reading it right, but misses why

          by the ole coon ·

          In reply to You may be reading this all wrong….

          I’ve been on the management side of this exact scenario.

          The situation was caused because of the customer perception of the work ethic demonstrated by the I.T. worker. Specifically, the I.T. worker did not adequately manage the communication and relationship with the local management team.

          The perception of the local management was that the I.T. worker kept irregular hours, missed service appointments, and could not be located when needed.

          The I.T. worker’s statistics, in terms of closed cases in the call tracking system we used, was consistenly at the top; however the worker’s management of the customer relationship blew chunks.

          In the end, the I.T. worker found the door. In the interim, everybody was unhappy with the situation.

        • #3303915

          Reply To: How do you define “productivity”?

          by dbabh ·

          In reply to It think he’s reading it right, but misses why

          An excellent point, as I have already said, perception is everything. People can stare the truth straight in the face and not see it. Making sure your reputation is intact is very important. Listen to what your customers are saying about you. If they like your work, they think you are efficent and answer their problem quickly and correctly GREAT! But if your customers don’t like to see you either because your foul mouth offends them or you ego is too vast, then it’s time to work on your people skills.

      • #3304166

        Watch your back and record everything

        by it security guy ·

        In reply to Tough one, I’d watch my back …

        I also agree you need to document everything you do to the level of detail of: what, when (time and date), how long it took, who was involved, where it took place, and even why and what you did afterwards for follow-up. Then you do need to talk to your boss, even if he/she isn’t the type, you need to be able to say you have used all avenues available to you. You can also document the fact that you talked to your boss and even summarize what he/she said (if you can write down exactly what was said, that’s even better). Print out copies of everything at least weekly to show your boss and keep a copy of everything on a flash drive/CD or diskette and keep updating it several times per day. If you took a phone call that ended up using 2 hrs, document it, especially if it kept you from doing other work that may be required or was more important.

        If it turns out your boss is trying to get rid of you, at least he/she will have to prove their case when you show HR your 4″ thick binder of documents and reports showing your workload. ALso, don’t let anyone else know what you are doing. The report you show your boss, only show a summary and do it once to gauge his/her response: if it is positive, this could be a sign that the boss may want you in a different position. If it is a negative or dubious response, you may want to update you resume (which you should be doing at least twice per month anyway) and start looking elsewhere. And always keep your records as neutral as possible: don’t say Joe Smith only worked 3 out of 8 hrs, that does not highlight your accomplishments, it shows someone who is trying to bring others down.

    • #2703612

      2 Points

      by dilbert-tom ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      1) Keep a running log (relate to Date/time) of what you do and outcome(s). Filter your log to weekly status reporting, even if it is not ‘required’, see if there is some shared area (Network Drive) where you can save weekly status reports – this will offer you a basis for future CYA as this continues. Next time it comes up, ask your Manager how HE measures productivity, in a professional, concerned way. You stated “second most closed calls and the highest “billable” hours” – evaluate the “Quality of closure” (can you ask callers to evaluate your performance by specific criteria such as : courtesy, professionalism, effectiveness [was the issue resolved satisfactorily], timelyness, etc. ?).

      And it likely will continue…

      2) Get your Resume up to date, post it on the Web (I never post where it may cost me to do so). Seek work elsewhere, sounds like your manager is not seeing you as “Productive” perhaps for reasons other than ‘raw’ productivity. Ask yourself why this is – consider it a ‘call’… You also mentionned something about the F-word – professionalism precludes certain expressions EVER at work, and can result in quite unintended offense with some co-workers (it can be considered as ‘harrasment’ by HR in many cases). Be the good example and regardless of how co-workers may speak at work NEVER use foul language of any kind (not a bad thing to work on even when not at work, generally foul language indicates insecurity – often perceived inferiority or defensiveness…and that’s from folk who may remain unoffended yet may regard you as simply an inferior resource). If a different job can be found (especially at better pay, with a group that you think that you’d be comfortable with) – take it, meanwhile work as hard as you can so that they’ll really miss you when you go.

      Unless you can discover from your manager how you can be perceived as a more valuable resource (some impressions – while unfair – are REAL and potentially damaging.). I once had a manager who reacted to the sight of a newspaper in the cube (even unread), so I learned to put it in my bag. Currently, I work in a place with a VERY informal dress code (officially Jeans are OK unless frayed or torn), but my manager dislikes seeing jeans at work – so I wear Dockers or ‘dress pants’ (also black leather shoes, although many wear Nikes, etc.). One prior manager disliked seeing workers talking together (DOUBLE wasted time!!) – you’ve just got to figure out what Management LIKES to see, and make sure that tha’s WHAT they see (and it may not relate directly to published policies). In a new job, see if cowrokers know of any such ‘pet peeves’ so that you can avoid them – Management may not ever discuss them openly (especially if they differ from published policy), but will take every opportunity to document ‘problems’ for those that annoy them.
      If it involves dishonesty (like requiring an hourly employee to work off of the clock, etc.) or seriously makes you feel threatened or degraded (sexual advances, requirements for personal favors like picking up Dry Cleaning or paying for Manager’s lunch, etc.) those issues need to be clearly documented in detail and presented to HR – but understand that if the issues are not sufficient to get the Manager terminated, there may be unpleasant consequences later… my rule of thumb on these issues is basically: “Are you ready to leave because of harrassment ?”, if so, consider documenting and reporting.

      Hope this helped.

      • #3303726

        We have to do it to

        by frsal ·

        In reply to 2 Points

        Just recently my boss also asked the team to do the same thing. We also use TrackIt for all work orders but I think we miss out on special projects. I seem to think that our boss wants us to do it so he can request more help or more $ in the budget. But as one post said talk with your boss. They dont always tell us the reason unless we ask and sometimes then they still dont tell us. Good luck

    • #2703434

      Thanks DT and Tom

      by mean_machine ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I will do as you said, Tom, and politely request a one-on-one with my boss and try to find out what it is that I’m NOT doing as well as what I AM doing wrong.

      As both of you stated, I will be continuing my daily journal as well as printing out and recording my help-desk logs. That way I’ll have a paper trail if it ever comes down that I’m being fired due to lack of productivity.

      Sidenote: In my first reply I made mention of using the “F” word. That was more or less me being fasecius.

      • #2703431


        by mean_machine ·

        In reply to Thanks DT and Tom

        I mispelled the heck out of facetious.

        • #3303771

          How are you doing?

          by rpehlm ·

          In reply to mispelled

          How did the one-to-one go? Still keeping a log? I used to keep a log all the time. Partly due to my bad memory, partly to show the bosses what is/was happening and mostly as a great debate stopper. Everyone knew I kept a detailed log. If an issue cropped up I could say “That is in my log somewhere”, 9/10 times debate ended there! I said ‘used to keep a log’ because I am now happily retired.

          In my experience most bosses who behave this way are either insecure and/or bullies. If they have an issue with your work they should arrange a meeting with you or bring the issue up in a departmental meeting. Just my two pennies worth.


        • #3303748

          Define Your Job

          by rnackerman ·

          In reply to mispelled

          All the advice I have read here is good. I have worked for several small companies over the years and all of them really don’t know how to gauge what an IT person does. Usually I am the only IT person on staff. Many think (and I ran into this last week) that a computer is like an adding machine. Unpackage it and plug it in. So, I recommending some of the following (which is a repeat of some other comments):

          Talk to your Boss and your Boss’ Boss. When done properly this will make you look like a team player interested in their goals as well as yours. Find out what they expected. Do this with a positive attitude that you want to improve your productivity to the department and company.

          Educate your boss and your Boss’ boss. They don’t understand that it takes time to monitor a server logs and system usage. They don’t understand it takes time to validate backup systems, server operations, setup new users, review security and other aspects of managing a system.

          Document. Not just what you do but why you do it. Develop documentation to outline regular scheduled tasks and include why this is done. If possible cite references from program documentation, vendors recommendations and software companies as to why this is done. Detail average times to do this task and develop a weekly and monthly schedule of tasks to be done. This documentation must be public within the company, not hidden on the computer.

          Suggest Improvements. If you are overloaded with tasks, can another less IT trained person take some tasks while you concentration on other more complex tasks? Since part of my job is program development I was able to demonstrate the need of an operations person to handle a lot of the daily work, report generation and other tasks that can be easily taught to someone interested in computers. By doing these things I got an assistant which left me more time for program development.

          Recommend Improvements. Many of the tasks that I do are done too fast. There is not enough time to properly review logs and systems. If this is the case tell your boss and your boss’ boss.

          Communicate. IT people usually are techical support for other departments. We have an IT Steering Committee that meets monthly with all department managers to discuss IT issues and needs. We review tasks completed and upcoming scheduled tasks. Things like regular PC and printer maintenance, system upgrades and related items. You will be surprised what some department managers may want or suggest.

          As to your log, yes I think your boss is targeting you and your boss maybe looking to chop you. Maybe your boss is just trying to determine your worth. In a small company this can be normal. I had a company let me go because they question my worth and tried to hire me back parttime afterwards.

          So, if this is just your boss you will find out in time. I wish you luck.

        • #3303891


          by cactus pete ·

          In reply to mispelled

          Thought you’d like the correction…

      • #3303904

        Right on the mark

        by dbabh ·

        In reply to Thanks DT and Tom

        Mean_Machine, I have replyed to several of these points because I have been in your position, unjustly as well. Let me just say that Tom is right on the mark. I personally had problems because I had thought I could joke with my coworkers. Turns out my English sense of humour was offensive to them. I didn’t try to offend and was very surprised to learn that I had, but by that point it was too late for me. The perception had been placed and rooted. I was audited quite frequently and asked to keep a log as well. But this taught me that what the customer sees is more important to them than the truth. So now I keep the truth, but I play the game as well.

        It would be unfortunate for you to lose your position or to be passed over for a promotion or a raise based on nothing but perception but it can surely happen. I agree with Tom 100% but let just add a couple of things.
        First your boss auditing you with remote software may seem invasive and it may make you angry. I know I don’t enjoy having to play “computer nazi”, but the most important part of this is not to actually become angry at work over an audit. After all, they are with in their rights to do so, you have no expectation of privacy in the work place. Least of all on your computer. Try not to let it bug you, but for sure don’t show that it bugs you while you’re at the office or with a customer.
        Second, under no circumstances allow your personal feelings about this seep into your work. Never share stories like this with a customer, it will only go racing right back to your boss and damage your reputation. Your reputation should be your most valued asset. It takes years and lots of work to build it, but only a few brief moments to destroy completely. And once it’s gone there is nothing to do but to begin building all over again. Better to keep it intact and safe.

        Good luck really, I hope it is all just a misunderstanding.

    • #3303770

      Speak to HR

      by stephen.massey ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      This smacks of him attempting to judge your capability and performance. If this is the case then he needs to have informed you about this and organised regular review meetings with you

      What are his grounds for his allegations?, has he checked the order tracking software?
      Best advice is to speak to personnel and see what the company’s policy is regarding this

      • #3303755

        Go to HR

        by mcse1 ·

        In reply to Speak to HR

        I’d be off to HR too. I would have thought workplace discrimination laws would ensure your boss must treat everyone equally. Discrimination is defined as “unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice”. So if you are being singled out, you may find your boss has a case to answer. Once your boss is forced to treat everyone fairly, the productivity reports will speak for themselves.

        • #3303680

          HR’s not there for you …

          by mrtgrady ·

          In reply to Go to HR

          It’s important to remember that an HR departments primary responsibility is to ensure that whatever practices the company follow will not lead to an employee suing. They are not there to represent your interests, per se, for that you need a union or professional association. They are, however, the starting point to make sure you are being properly treated within the confines of the law and your contract.

          Check with HR was the assessment periods and criteria are defined as in the company handbook and whether there are specific exceptions or clauses that apply to you.

          If you are being subjected to a disciplinary procedure ensure that it has been properly followed and that you have been accorded your right to reply and agree targets for change. A majority of these kind of cases are disciplinary matters that have not been handled properly because the manager has fialed to understand or comply with the company’s procdures.

          If after all of this you find that there are no grounds for your treatment or that you are being dealt with outside of policy and law then you can insist that the manager be brought into line with the rules or else you reserve the right to seek legal counsel.

          Bearing in mind we don’t have an objective view of your situation I think it’s best you check with HR that everything is being done properly.

        • #3303666

          Go To HR as a LAST RESORT

          by agmiller05 ·

          In reply to Go to HR

          Contrary to popular opinion, HR is there for the benefit of the company (i.e. management) not the employee.

          There is no harm in providing/keeping documentation. As an IT professional you should be doing this anyway.

          There seems to be something else going on (good or bad I’m not sure), but the only way to begin to receive clarity is to have ongoing conversations with your manager.


        • #3304049

          HR used to be Personnel Dept

          by rob c ·

          In reply to Go To HR as a LAST RESORT


          This is coming from a ‘whistle blower’ who had to watch his back for 3 years, before they called a truce(aka retirement payout).

          In Australia, in the early 90’s, they started changing the names of Personnel Depts to ‘Human Resources’.

          Around about the same time, companies were building security fences, and installing guards, and entrance cards.

          I later realised that they were not protecting against terrorists, they were anticipating the upcoming layoffs, and were ensuring that disgruntled staff, could be controlled. (Frog marched out at dismissal time, and no way to get back in, to sabotage, or whatever).

          Back in the ‘Personnel Dept’ days, the staff in that departement would look out for eployyees.

          When we became a ‘resource’ that changed forever.

          Rob Crombie

    • #3303769

      Arrange a meeting

      by hblanthorn9 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Arrange a meeting with the Manager, and carefully document, in less than 3 or 4 minutes the measurable productivity indicies you use to support your claim. Request a follow-up note regarding his/her understanding of this information. Make certain your resume is up to date.
      Normally, you wouldn’t bring HR into the picture until there were concrete unfair practices being used against you – and ‘low productivity’ COULD be an error. Then again, it could be the beginning of the process to replace you. What you do next depends upon how much you think you NEED THIS PARTICULAR JOB. Consider another spot elsewhere, and your efforts might be better appreciated. Remember this, HR MUST take the side of their Manager first, unless he/she is clearly violating a law or procedure – and once you have involved them, you might be guaranteeing your eventual exit, since you could be percieved as one who does not work and play well with others. It’s equivalent to going to court. The person with the best, most complete documentation usually wins. A journal is a two edged sword, that also takes time. Let your supervisor require keeping it.. IN WRITING. Respond with a note “How much time is acceptable to devote to this additional task, as this task will take PRODUCTIVE TIME from my day”.
      Save your documentation.
      Good Luck.
      By the way, it’s better to go into the meeting with this manager AFTER another Company has made you a job offer!


      • #3304192

        Too Many Jobs and Not Enough A_ _’es

        by donaldcoe ·

        In reply to Arrange a meeting

        This almost mirrors my last JOB. I was the designated worker BE THERE AND EVERWHERE – 24/7 on-call. Documenting a journal was requested by a New BOSS, which at first glance looked like harrassment and a lot of added STRESS. Trust me, I would get so enraged over the issue of a Over-the-shoulder Micro-Manager watching my every move.

        One I got a tip from a unlikely source, that some inquiries were made to give me JOB Appreciation Award and a possible PROMOTION but no one knew exactly what my job entailed.

        I learned how to play DUMB and give them what they wanted. I documented trips to toilet, the time walking from my car to the office door –you can get jist of this approach. My SUGGESTION is JUST GET CREATIVE and make FUN at toilet papering someone’s yard (the Boss’ Desk) To my result: I found that I was UNDERPAID for the services being rendered. If plan to go to HR take THESE documents with you. Hostility DOES NOT WORK !

    • #3303767

      Why is this sent to us on 12-13-04 from 8-10-2004?

      by tg2 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Mean_Machine, this is not negative for you, but for Techrepublic … the date on this is 8/10/2004, for all we’d know by now M_M has been fired or taken control of the place, or who knows what! ** Its one thing, TechRepublic, to bring us back to this issue to find out how it went, its something all together to send it out to people as if MM is in this right now, and needs quality feedback now before something serious happens.

      Mean Machine.. I hope you could look back at this and let us know what happened, especially from the excellent advice TomSal gave. Did a meeting between you and the boss happen? Did you take the current documentation to him and ask why you were being singled out?

      • #3303753

        I agree

        by stress junkie ·

        In reply to Why is this sent to us on 12-13-04 from 8-10-2004?

        I have given a considerable amount of thought to the fact that much advice provided to such issues is virtually inaccessible in the TR forums. This is due to the fact that these discussions are not organized into some sort of topic listing. I believe that if TR could create some sort of concordance and/or if the discussions could be organized by actual topic and accessible via a heirarchical tree such as one finds on the Yahoo! site then old topics and their discussions would be available to anyone interested in a given topic. This would be good both for the people with inquiries and for the people who want to contribute their ideas. Old discussions would be as accessible as new ones. I don’t know how Yahoo! implements their tree. If it were done manually then the man hours involved would be huge. I have to believe that they have managed to automate most of the process of entering new items into the appropriate area of the topic tree. Anyway, if TR could implement this then there should be fewer duplicate questions and people could contribute to an old discussion with the idea that it had as much chance of being seen as a contribution to a new discussion.

      • #3303724

        Yes its late

        by frsal ·

        In reply to Why is this sent to us on 12-13-04 from 8-10-2004?

        The more I read the more I thought I have seen this before. I think your rignt

      • #3303704

        Yeah, what’s up with the old post become new?

        by kkeeton ·

        In reply to Why is this sent to us on 12-13-04 from 8-10-2004?

        Why are we getting this old post?
        I would have much rather seen this back in August, when my reply would have meant something.

        By the way, MM, how’d it all come out?

      • #3303901

        Reply To: How do you define “productivity”?

        by dbabh ·

        In reply to Why is this sent to us on 12-13-04 from 8-10-2004?

        Still, interesting how many responses this has from the past couple of days isn’t it?

        • #3300524

          Re: responses

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Reply To: How do you define “productivity”?

          It is interesting to see how many people respond. I think even though it’s an old topic most of us still have opinions and in the process there is still an exchange of ideas.

          On that note, I’m really curious why some enter a title to their replies then start their reply with the title. It’s somewhat like reading double. This is not a criticism (well maybe it is in a back handed way), but I’m really curious since the title becomes the first sentence in the reply which means we read the first line twice when it’s all done.

      • #3300526

        Re: repost

        by vltiii ·

        In reply to Why is this sent to us on 12-13-04 from 8-10-2004?

        I’ve found that TechRepublic does this with many of the threads we follow. I once assumed that when I received a new thread that it was a ‘new’ thread only to find after I started responding to some of the post that they were several months old. Some are entertaining and informative regardless of the age, but in this case, you’re right we don’t know the outcome. I do recall seeing a post from M&M dated 12/13 so I’m assuming that this particular issue hasn’t been resolved which is odd considering the amount of time that has elapsed.

        On the other hand I wonder how many of these threads are started by TechRepublic just to keep things lively or whatever. I’ve noticed on many of the threads that I choose to follow there is the original post and everything after that is input or debate from responders.

    • #3303764

      No respect means no advancement type up your Resum? now

      by icehappy ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Hello Mean Machine

      Sorry to hear your misfortunes. I trust you are correct in your value. I would at most give this chap 4 weeks to see the light otherwise you are a dead duck if you stay. He is going to be promoted on your sweat. After 4 weeks following and doing the best you can using the guide lines above ie one to one with the manager in question and if you still feel the same way after that time – YOU HAVE TRIED. There are many companies looking for people like you. Good luck to you.

    • #3303763

      you could be your own wost enemy

      by arthurp ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Have you ever thought that he could be looking at cosst-effectiveness ?

      It might not be the fact that he’s out to get you, but looking at how you manage your time; and will be in a position to offer assistance once he has the information. Personally if you were in my team I would be asking the same questions – afterall as you say you are closing the second highest number of calls, but billing the highest number of hours.

      What is the person who closes the highest number of calls billing ?

      Okay, maybe they are cherry-picking, (taking the easiest calls), but if you reflect your productivity against “cost-effectiveness”, it might just be that the person closing the fourth highest is more cost effective than you are.

      The rumour mill is a fantastic motivation tool; especially when RIF is mentioned.

      Speak to the boss and find out why he wants you to provide this documentation; and stick a swear jar on the desk .. at the end of the week see which is the richer – your bank account or the jar !

      If, and only once you have spoken with the boss, you are not happy then speak to a representative within HR. Request, (be nice), for a meeting with the boss explaining that HR will be pressent to document the meeting, and that this is for the benefit of both parties and ensures that any information offered in the electronic, or printed formats, and verbally is recorded thereby providing a point of reference should problems arise. You might be supprised, and the issue will be closed; but you will have raised the point upon communication between colleagues – definetly an under-rated ability.

      Take this thought away with you …….
      It’s not the call closure rate that matters, but the cost effectiveness – and you’re chewing into my profits. If this is the case then I would be looking at how to improve this, by asking you to track your workload, and time-management to see whether it could be improved – afterall who wants to lose a good engineer

      • #3303760


        by sarahbeth ·

        In reply to you could be your own wost enemy

        At one time, my boss was on my case about productivity. I personally felt I was one of the most productive people, and resented hearing others on long and detailed personal conversations while I was struggling just to finish.

        I kept a timeline for a couple of months. Not just a journal, a timeline that from 10:15 I did A, was interrupted by L for B, from 10:30-10:45 I did A…….


        1. I could see where I was being ineffective and bouncing around. I grouped some tasks together, and procrastinated them to do all at once, instead of hitting them as they came up.

        2. My boss saw where all my time went, and decided to get off my case.

        3. My boss put me off limits during the audit time — no one was allowed to interrupt me until I finished.

        4. She got onto some other folks about their tasks they kept pushing off to me.

        5. Worst offender on both — the supervisor. And the boss. I kept the timeline going for 2 months or so after the 2 weeks she asked for. Anytime she came over and asked why ________ wasn’t done — I showed it to her. She looked at all the entries of “__________ for Linda.” “_______ for Carol.” and left without much comment.

    • #3303757

      Driving you out?

      by tjclairmont ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I’ve been through a situation where the manager needs to dig for stuff and build a case to justify getting rid of you. It doesn’t matter if you produce or people like you. If they want to get rid of you they have to have something on paper from a few different angles. So do what he wants and use it to your advantage. Document everything, and prove that you’re better than what the general records show. And let him know that you are keeping the data secure for your records.

    • #3303752

      One foot out the door.

      by cecyoung ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      This is a classic example of an employer wanting to get rid of an employee. The fact others are not required to make the same reporting suggest you are being monitored to build a case when your dismissal is finally effected. Watch your back. Keep detailed logs, and copied of work orders/trouble reports, of all your activities while on company time. Keep HR out of it; in a crunch management will always stick together. I have been there, and it almost drove me insame.



      • #3303696

        But what is the point?

        by thatboy ·

        In reply to One foot out the door.

        If management wants to fire you, how is this going to prevent the eventual outcome?

    • #3303749

      Give it a shot

      by specialoffers ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I had two lengthy consult positions for large companies. I also kept daily journals in 15 minute increments. My hourly rate was significant and keeping the journal helped my customers see what they could pass along to their customer or had to eat themselves. I found it very helpful in prepairing my timesheets. No one else in the group kept a journal.

    • #3303747

      Same old, same old

      by magictom ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I have been in the field of IT for more than 40 years, and in all that time I had to supply a time sheet at the end of each week that specified all activities I had for that week. Even when I was an independent consultant, the bill I sent once in a while had to describe in details the work that was performed.

      Needless to say, if your trade is not IT, outside of the field, nobody knows what you do during a normal day.


      • #3303708

        Embellish, embellish, embellish

        by johnnysacks ·

        In reply to Same old, same old

        Tune up your BS machine immediately. Everything you do needs to be made to look better that it really is down to the least important drudgery. A practiced survivor knows how to look busy when in reality they aren’t doing squat! Even put a spin on it to indicate you’re pulling the weight of the ones who don’t have to document everything. If you’re being singled out, get out. A RIF never gets rid of the most obvious candidates.

    • #3303745

      A couple of thoughts that occur to me.

      by youngri ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      As a contractor, it is not uncommon for me to
      have to record which project/service request I am
      working on. This is usually recorded in 15
      minute intervals. You don’t state how large your
      organisation is, but if you have internal billing
      codes, this is a fact of life.

      It would not be out of place to ask your boss,
      what he considers to be his own metrics for
      measuring employees performance. You could
      theoretically be closing all the password reset
      calls, and then sitting around browsing gaming
      sites as far as he knows.

      If however, you are putting in substantial
      effort, but feel that you are being victimised,
      then you are entitled to escalate this matter to
      your HR department.

      As for the comment about remote administration
      software being used to monitor you…You need to
      obtain some form of proof before bringing that to
      anyones attention. I would imagine that some
      form of personal firewall is in order here.

      The one question that I am most interested in
      however is the one that describes your
      relationship with your colleagues. Have you
      discussed this matter with them? By this I do
      not mean bitching about the boss. I am talking
      about whether you have asked them how they think
      you are doing in your role, and whether there is
      any room for improvement.

      If all else fails. You spend one third of your
      day at work, and another third sleeping. If the
      working third of your day is not fun, then leave.

      Work is usually a means to an end. Plenty of
      people actually enjoy what they do. Be one of
      those people.

      • #3318312

        Productivity = Size / Person days of effort

        by raashidahmed.syed ·

        In reply to A couple of thoughts that occur to me.

        Productivity is usually retrieved over a period of time from archived information. It varies across technology, platform & functionality. Productivity for Software projects are measured by a number of methodologies, noticably among them being FP, KLOC, SLOC etc. Source Lines of Code (SLOC) provide a more traditional basis for assessing productivity. Barry Boehm’s Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO) is an accepted open cost model that encapsulates productivity relationships based on SLOC (Boehm 81).

    • #3303735


      by fgarvin ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      You sate that your boss wants you to keep a journal of so he can see what you’re working on, and then you also state that you have work order tracking software and the 2nd highest total of closed calls.
      My Confusion is this. All the Order tracking software I have worked with (Mainly Remedy and SAP) has Fields specifically for entering the work you do, and what steps you had to take to complete that work. When you are closing your tickets are you putting that information in your work log? If you are simply putting Done and resolving the call, this may be what precipitated this request. Otherwise, why have you duplicate the effort. If this is so, start documenting the work you do in the tracking software. This will also help others in the future who come across similar problems.

    • #3303731

      Polish your resume

      by usaatca2001 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      For whatever reason, you’re being setup for termination, so polish your resume. I hope you’re keeping your own diary of what’s going on & every meeting/discussion with your boss or anyone else.

      Discussing the situation with HR might be a good idea, unless they’re part of the problem. I’d definitely print out the reports you say prove your productivity. Keep 2 copies of everything: 1 on-site, 1 off-site. Just don’t keep your personal diary on your work PC.

      Good luck.

    • #3303715

      Add to the requirement

      by ole88 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      If the boss wants you to keep a working journal, just do it while you are still employed. But I would add to what he wants. You mention that your tracking system shows a level of productivity for you – use it to your advantage. At the end of the day, run a report (or series of reports) from that system that show your billable hours, the number of closed calls and the number of calls you’ve taken. If you can print out the cases, do that as well. Even if the call issue is not closed, print it out each day you work on it until it is closed.

      Use a word processor to build a template document for your daily log. This will allow you to start a log each day with ease and you will be able to keep your log up-to-date as you work throughout the day. If the boss keeps trying to add to the requirements in an effort to get you to leave or goes to give you a pink slip, then involve HR and show them your files.

      One last thing – bring a diskette or re-writeable CD to work with you each day. Use it to get a copy of all your reports and journal files. If you need this data, you will have it with you. Most companies have a policy against carrying anything more out with you than you came in with if you are let go. This will allow you to take your files as you came in with the CD or diskette.

      Also, don’t overreact – it might be a test. You could be looking at something totally different than you think. Wear a lot of duck oil and just let it roll off until something else happens.

    • #3303712

      Goose and Gander issues!

      by ex-military nut ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      You say you are being singled out (the only one being required to keep a journal). You also state that you feel management is “conspiring” against you by having co-workers “snoop” on your activities (screen shots with “Big Brother” software). Communication seems to be an issue. Trust seems to a bigger issue. From reading your intial post and subsequent replies, you do not have a problem speaking your mind nor telling people (boss or others) what they NEED to hear verses what they WANT to hear. Sometimes the truth hurts (or costs too much).

      Whether they are willing to admit it or not, management is legally bound to provide the same written detail they are requesting from you. Just in case, be ready to beat them at their own game. Don’t bluff; just make sure your “ducks” are all in a row before you go “shooting” at theirs.

      1) Maintain your integrity. Without that, you really aren’t worth hiring anywhere else.
      2) TACT!! Sometimes you will have to take some crap! It doesn’t mean you have to develop a taste for it! Just be a little more “political”.
      3) By all means, have a resume ready to go. I like what I do, but I won’t be here (this job) forever. Always have a plan B. Having a plan C wouldn’t hurt either!

      Good luck.

    • #3303702

      Journals prove bad management

      by mollenhourb9 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Find another job. You ARE being micro-managed. Being required to keep a working journal shows a fundamental flaw in the management and employee review process. This is a common mistake among IT managers, who are promoted to the level of incompetence then left there. It’s called the Peter Principle.

      Best practices in corporate management and strategic planning have eschewed this method for years now, favoring an annual review with goals set for employees that are derived from the corporations strategic plan. If your boss is making you keep a daily log, he’s clueless as to how to manage people. Fire him by getting another job.

      • #3303665

        Totally agree..

        by blue collar ·

        In reply to Journals prove bad management

        Journals are bad management. Unfortunately I am in the exact same boat as MM. I had been with this company for 3 1/2 years as the network administrator. They hired a new project manager for the IT dept. Our personalities clashed right away, and of course this person was than promoted to IT manager. I, also, was asked, at this time to keep a journal, the only one in the department asked to do so. I did, for over two months.
        I have never been good at tracking my daily tasks, I find it to be disruptive of those tasks, to stop and mark down “spoke with x about y, helped z with x, rebooted server for this reason” Even if I don’t mark it down at that moment, to take an hours time at the end of the day to recall every single phone call and walkby problem I handled was not time well spent. But I did it for 2 months and stopped to my managers chagrin. We have even had countless talks together. I have polished the resume, but the market is still tight, and the other day I intecpted an email to HR from someone thanking them for the interview for network engineer (used the wrong address so came to me as non-deliverable, to forward to the proper person)
        I am not kidding myself that my time here is limited, and if this manager (web developer by trade) wasn’t so busy trying to learn to do my job and just let me do my job, perhaps we wouldn’t just now be migrating to W2K3 and AD, but would have done so a year and a half ago when I wrote up the plan. Worst part is, I have tried talking to him, and he keeps claiming I have yet to prove myself to him. After 9 years in the industry and 3 1/2 at this company alone, I really don’t feel I need to prove anything to him.

        That is where our main personality conflict lies. I can’t deal with his arrogance and holier than tho attitude.

      • #3303640

        A Management perspective

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to Journals prove bad management

        I don’t think journals per se are wrong or show a problem.

        I am a manager, and I currently have some of my staff logging their time against certain activities. This is an effort to determine just how much of their time can be spent on projects(their main focus) versus how much time they spend on third level support. This will help us better balance our workload.

        But it was done fairly openly and with the right intent. The idea was nto to micromanage but to understand the workload.

        I have also worked in other companies, fairly large successful fortune 100 companies, which use annual reviews, mutually agreed objectives and goals based on corporate stratgeic plan, that also make all IT people track their time. The demand was from the customers of IT – wanting to know why projects took the length of time they required. What was necessary was to show the customer that not all development time is spent in coding – quality projects require alot more than that. It was also useful in monitoring how much time was spent for things like maintenance requests – the higher the maintenance the more likely that a proactive project might be required.

        The red flag from the original poster was that only one person was being asked to log – thats clearly unfair. If anything – everyone in the same function should log for comparison sake, or no one.


        • #3300500

          Re: Perspective

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to A Management perspective

          I agree that journals are not necessarily evil or indicative of a micro-managing supervisor. Some professionals are very detailed in what they do and this can be misconstrued as micro-management. We’re not required to keep journals at my place of work, but I also don’t see my manager on a regular basis. I’m working on a government contract for my employer and I work at the customer site while my manager works out of company owned spaces. One of the questions I asked when I first started is, will the customer be queried about my performance when it comes time for my annual review. I was told no. Not seeing my manager on a daily basis I was curious how he would decide things such as what marks to give me, how much of an annual raise, etc. Me being somewhat of a worrier about these things keep thinking outta sight outta mind. I try to keep my manager informed about what’s going on with me professionally, but at the end of each month I also turn in a compilation (monthly status report) of meetings I attend (of which there are a lot), status of projects I’m working on, or just whatever. This seems to be working very well.

    • #3303700

      Been there, don’t that.

      by calgary ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I’m halfway through a book called “We Got Fired!” written by Harvey Mackay. In it along with successful come backs from some well known individuals he list 25 reliable signs that the curtain may be coming down. You described #12 exactly. I missed my own signs of the inevitable placed before me. Although change was in the air and I knew that. I’m not saying it will happen to you like it did to me. It turned out to be the best thing to happen to me since I joined that company 17 years ago. I?m having fun now; the ones that are left behind with the extra work load wished they were me.

    • #3303690

      This is for your good.

      by suryava ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      It is a part of how you manage your time, that can lead to stress reduction for you. Looking at what you are saying, in regard to the number of calls that you are closing in such a short time, and the number of billable hours that you are putting in, may be you are being stressed out a lot. It is quite possible.

      One of the ways to reduce your stress, is to make sure that you spend more time on “Important and Non-Urgent” activities. If you spend most of your time on “Importand and Urgent” activities, then you are being stressed out. If you spend too much time on “Unimportant and Non-Urgent” activities, then also you are being stressed out, because you do not have enough time for the first 2 categories that I have mentioned above.

      The best way to find out how you are spending your time is to keep a journal for atleast a week, keeping a log of what you do in 30 minute intervals. Then categorize them according to the above 3 categories. One more category is “Unimportant and non-urgent activities”. Based on the results, you can better understand how to improve your time management. THis is one of the management skill.

      Why don’t you take this as a blessing in disguise. May be your boss is impressed with your performance, (may be only your performance of all those in the group) and before he actually promotes you he wants to make sure how you are managing your time. I know you mentioned that you have agreed to keep the journal. May be you can add the time/stress management as a purpose for it.

      Without being asked by any body, I have started to keep a journal on my own accord!

      Hope that helps.

    • #3303687

      Daily Journals

      by omason332 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I run a computer repair shop and we were just talking about this last week. If you spend all that time writing down everything you do you would not have time to work at your job. Maybe we should be like doctors and use a tape recorder and record it instead.

    • #3303671

      Communication is the key

      by km8295 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I’ve been here, and so once was my wife. I can tell you that the insistence upon record-keeping, while it shows a lack of trust, also shows a need for stronger communication. Not all that is inherently obvious to you will even register with your boss. Frankly, what you are now being asked to do may be just what the doctor ordered. At least your boss is giving you an avenue to communicate.
      As an example, if you break someone else’s cherished possession, and you are truly sorry, but you can’t let that other person feel you are really sorry, then all the sorrow you feel isn’t worth a hill of beans to the other person. Likewise, you may think you are obviously producing, but it would be better to produce a little less and communicate to your boss well that which you are doing. Remember that communication must be successfully and accurately received. Make sure yours is getting through — ask directly if necessary and even ask directly for criticism. Be a pest about it, but make sure your boss understands what you are trying to say. This is perhaps your first job, and the technical part is secondary.

      Look, your boss may be as blind as a bat and dense as a rock, but if you can plainly show your accomplishments so that a child could understand it, you’ll be a star. You’ve already got the ammunition, just use it effectively.

    • #3303661

      Run…do not walk to the nearest exit

      by gordon.rudd ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      If ANYTHING you stated as fact is true, in all the threads in this discussion, RUN do not walk to the nearest exit. There is nothing you can say or do that will “fix” this situation. Twenty seven years of IT management, lately in IT security, tells me your organization views you in a very negative light. They are looking for a smoking gun to use to fire you.

      But then you know that already.

      Find another job and in the exit interview (which you may have to force to happen) ask what it is they “think” you were oing. you might be surprised by their answer.

      • #3300489

        Re: run

        by vltiii ·

        In reply to Run…do not walk to the nearest exit

        …and if you find that they were using you as a baseline to develop standards and actually had bigger things in mind for you… you’ll really be surprised.

        I think that most likely it’s not a good sign that you were singled out, but I also can’t dismiss other possibilities. I would think if it were something positive, that would have been revealed to you right up front in order to stimulate a more accurate detailed report from you.

    • #3303657

      Watch your back

      by vfrunza ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      It happend to me too. I should have imagined that showing the door will be the next step. So, check out who will be advantaged by your departure and prepare your resume. Or, if you have copies of the trouble-tickets you have answered, fight back.
      Good luck, anyway

    • #3303642


      by chuckmba ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      While you may be one of the most productive workers around, you might not be part of the “IN CROWD”, “Good ole boy network”, or whatever term you want to use for an insider. If that’s the case than no matter no one will believe you, they will only listen to rumors or actions that are perceived to unproductive.

      I’ve been there and it is almost impossible to get people to think otherwise and change their impression of you.

    • #3303635

      Post-mortem? Post-partum? Afterglow?

      by jetpowercom ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      So, are you still there? Have you discovered that he’s really trying to get your stats in order to set a bar for others to reach, but doesn’t want you to know your true value?

      If you’re not actually on the payroll, your options for recourse and/or fairness are limited (except for the possibility that various employment conditions could, in fact, define you as an employee – which is another ball of wax).

      Why not email him, bc HR, requesting that he provide a specific guideline for you to follow, including the purpose for the log? Indicate your sense that you’re a high producer and that you’ll be happy to generate logs for the purpose of providing an example for future training use. If you’re a consultant, include a statement to the effect that the time you spend on this log would be billable to them (let them negotiate that out).

      In point of fact, I typically keep such a log, for the sole purpose of future reference. If, however, your work tracks are covered by your trouble ticket system, you shouldn’t really need it. On that note, perhaps you could simply harvest the data from your work order software.

      But you may have a different issue here; (if you’re still there), I suggest that you have a frank discussion with the boss (and HR or his boss – not necessarily in that order) and get to the bottom of it. Don’t challenge him on the facts; be gentle while letting him know that you’re doing well, but are entirely willing to do his bidding. Afterwards, document everything and bc people as needed. Let him slowly sink into his own molasses.

    • #3303629

      Hard Spot

      by blarman ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Unfortunately, there is nothing illegal about your boss asking you to track your time – even if it is just you. And if your case is as strong as you say, you should make sure that you detail this in any reports you put out.

      I don’t think that your productivity is the issue at all. I think it is a relationship thing, as others have posted. Whether it be your language (you mention swearing) or something else, you have definitely irritated somebody and they are looking for an excuse.

      If I were you I would take a serious look at my communications to others. Swearing in the office is neither cool, nor professional, and it is highly offensive. It has no place in a professional’s business communications.

      Also take a step back. People interpret things differently depending on their backgrounds and personality styles. Inform your boss that you would like to get some coaching from a communications professional. Point out your productivity and that they would do better to keep you than fire you, but that you would like to improve. Ask your boss to send you to a training session. And then implement what you learn.

      Good Luck.

    • #3303626

      Well, why were you singled out?

      by tlea ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      So many of these posts seem to deal with how the manager is treating Mean_Machine unfairly by singling him out for recording a journal. While I don’t agree with the journal approach, this is usually a sign that the manager is unhappy with the employee’s performance. MM needs to find out why his manager has singled him out. If the manager is satisfied with 10 out of 11 employees, what makes MM different?

      MM states that he has the second most closed calls and the highest billible hours, and that these metrics should be enough to show his productivity. In reality, this is only part of the big picture. Closed calls and billable hours mean just that, closed calls and billable hours. Nothing about the customer’s satsfaction with MM’s performance is mentioned, and this can be the most important measure of all.

      In the end my point is that MM’s manager has singled him out for some reason. MM needs to find out why, and correct the situation if possible.

    • #3303624

      Ducks in a row – Other ideas

      by rick.busch ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      If you feel that this is a HR issue, make sure you document you conversations and direction from your supervisor, so you have a case when talking to HR. Since you are the only one, make sure your ducks are in a row.

      On your journal you could write that you are spending ‘x’ amount of time on creating and updating the journal. Make a comment that you could use that time to be more productive in your daily tasks.

      If your performance reviews reflect the work order tracking, I wouldn’t worry too much, but you will need to address the activity of your supervisor justified or unjustified.

      Good luck,

    • #3303616

      Get used to it…

      by billbohlen@hallmarkchannl ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I work for a public company….and because of new Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, I must track every little thing I do. Not only do I have to track it, but I also have to gather the proper approvals and document them to do simple things like reboot a server or apply a service pack.
      Luckily my bosses are not concerned about my productivity (we are all doing the work of several people) as much as they are concerned about the audit trail for Sarbanes-Oxley.
      It seems as if you are being unfairly targeted, since none of the other 10 people are being required to keep a daily journal. Shouldn’t your work order tracking software be a good enough journal? Your list of work orders should show him what you are working on.

    • #3303592

      your job description to your tasks

      by ghancock ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I’m in the middle of an issue with my boss as well. He has a different work style than I. And my HR departments annual review has only 3 questions and is open to a lot of opinion. So what I did was I took my job description and outlined possible tasks that I would do that fit within my job description. Then I track my work efforts in accordance with my job description on a 3 month planning cycle. So really it is a 90 day plan for me> I outline what I will do at a high level for the next 90 days and I use that to report on to my boss. At first he was offended then intimated, but now his boss’s boss is please with how I track my work. It takes me about 40 minutes a week do to this. Hope it helps

    • #3303583

      Why not ask?

      by junkmail ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      My advice would be to go to your manager armed with statistics from the work order system and ask why he thinks you aren’t producing.

      Approach it so he understands you want to find out what his concerns are so you can address them and make corrections where necessary.

      If he can’t (or won’t) produce any valid reason why he wants the logs, do as requested and log your time, but start looking for another job.

      Keep in mind that it could be that someone has it in for you besides him and he’s trying to cover for you, or someone has it in for him, or he’s trying to justify positions for budgetary reasons, or almost anything. For these reasons, as long as you are logging, log EVERYTHING.

      If he has a valid concern and is willing to discuss it with you, the two of you can work together to address the issues.

      • #3304305

        Agreed – Confront and Ask

        by jhr615 ·

        In reply to Why not ask?

        Confront the boss

        • #3300414

          Re: Confront

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Agreed – Confront and Ask

          Confront is such a hostile term to use in a senior-subordinate relationship, especially when it’s the subordinate doing the confronting. I agree that he should approach his boss for clarification about the why behind documenting his work, but it should be done in a professional manner.

    • #3303578

      It’s not just closed call records/billable hrs

      by mary.hoerr ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      This is apparently too late for MM, but I am disheartened by the tone of most of the replies. Sure, it may feel good to rant about the stupid boss, and tell MM to get out of there. And yes, maybe he IS being set up to be let go. But how about facing the real issue?

      The boss says he’s not producing. That’s clearly why MM is being singled out to keep a journal. Unless the boss isn’t looking at the closed call records and the billable hours at all, it’s safe to say that those are NOT sufficient measures of productivity. As some other people pointed out, there are other legitimate productivity measures, including cost effectiveness and user satisfaction, among others.

      Instead of assuming the boss is out to get him (which he’s not sure of at this point) he needs to follow the advice of some of the people here, TALK TO HIS BOSS, and find out what measures of productivity he is not meeting.

      If the boss truly IS out to get him, he should have his resume up to date anyway (we all do, even those of us who love our jobs, right?), so no harm done. But if he isn’t, either the boss knows what he’s doing, and this will help him, or MM isn’t doing a good job communicating with his boss or the people whose IT problems he is called on to resolve (VERY common with IT folks). If so, this communication problem is going to follow him from job to job, and he’ll be amazed at how many “stupid” bosses there are out there.

      • #3300409

        Re: Productivity

        by vltiii ·

        In reply to It’s not just closed call records/billable hrs

        I like this assessment of the whole picture. My only concern is that if his boss doesn’t think that he is productive enough, and it actually is true, what will he do with a new job. All too often I think there are employees that don’t fully understand their responsibilities as hired help. When he goes for an interview with a potential employer, and they ask why he left his last job, what will his answer be. He may just need to gain a better understanding of what goes on in the workforce. I’ll take a leap and say that since he works the help desk, he is probably young and new to the workplace (I realize this is not universally true). In the end if this is true, however, this may prove to be a learning experience as he grows professionally.

    • #3303564

      Think Positive

      by nzjade ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      What may be happening is that you are an example of what everyone else should be doing rather than seen as a threat.
      Be aware of the worse case scenario though provide what you achieve and how and it may end up better than expected.

      • #3303555

        Where are you Mean_Machine!

        by lachlan ·

        In reply to Think Positive

        I want to know what happened!

        • #3300406

          Re: Where are you…

          by vltiii ·

          In reply to Where are you Mean_Machine!

          Since his original post was dated sometime in August, his absence here may be an indication of what happened.

    • #3303545

      They’re looking for a reason…

      by charlieswassing ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      MY FRIEND,

      they are looking for a reason to can you and have documentation to support their rationale.

      lol… speaking as a supervisor, they will find a reason, even if it’s trite. on another note, you should not trust your supervisors to watch out for your best interests if they are so intently looking at your performance, or other reasons to dismiss you.

      be proactive, have another job lined up.

      good luck.

    • #3303538

      Is this Productivity or Protection of you?

      by leon ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Hi Mean Machine
      I ask my guys (and gals) to all keep journals I show no favouritism.

      It is my view that there may be a far more positive reason for this requirement. If you have high billable hours that means you also run a risk of needing management backup if something goes wrong. That’s what a journal is there for.

      Customer: “Mean” didnt talk to anyone on my site, fire him!

      Manager: According to his log that isnt true.

      Logs are great for recognising patterns of behaviour, you may be being ear marked for better things and this is a means to improve your standard of work.

      Rule #10: Managers sometimes do nice things without explaining why.

      • #3300405

        Re: Productivity

        by vltiii ·

        In reply to Is this Productivity or Protection of you?

        The only problem is that he specifically stated that his boss didn’t think that he is productive enough, so it’s unlikely they have anything good in mind for him. I had forgotten that small detail until another poster mentioned it.

    • #3303529

      I’ve kept a daily IT journal for 10 years

      by ecarlson ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      For their own use, I recommend everyone keep a log of everything they do.

      We have an IT ticket system, but it only tracks a small portion of the work I actually do (I suspect that’s true for many IT people).

      I keep a text file (organized by day, with the current day at the top) with a brief description of each thing I do, and any details I might need at a later time. I reference older log entries on an almost daily basis, and I also use the current day’s entry as a To Do list. The information is valuable for many things, including solving recurring problems, and for keeping track of what was already done.

      It’s also very valuable when someone wants to know why Project X isn’t done: I can show then what’s been done on Project X so far, and I can show them how much time was taken up by Projects A-W, and if necessary Projects Y and Z.

      And since I use a text file, I don’t need any special applications to access the data.

      At first it might take time to get used to logging, but it only takes a short time to develop a style that you find both efficient and useful.

      My logging has definately saved me and the companies I’ve worked for more time than it takes me to maintain.

      – Eric,

      • #3303519

        AMEN to keeping a daily journal

        by will dilbert ·

        In reply to I’ve kept a daily IT journal for 10 years

        I too am a veteran I.T. guy and have kept a daily journal for many years. It’s just good common sense. Like ECarlson says, it takes some time to get used to it. But once you get rolling you will be pleased.

        IN addition to showing how your time was spent, it is a good tool for tracking projects and looking back to see when something was done.

        Another nice benefit of using plain text is the ability to search on just about anything. Although you can search with MS-Office type packages also.

    • #3303521

      Launch Your Pre-emptive Strike Now!

      by cjwarner1 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Tell HR that you are having to work in a hostile work environment and that you are being singled out and treated differently than your co-workers.

      If you don’t put it on record, you will have no recourse to fall back on later. If it is determined to be nothing, no worries. If it really is something, HR may get your boss to back off and either end the journal or make everyone do one. Regardless, HR will be looking at your boss pretty closely since he could be potentially setting up a litigious situation within the company which is HR’s job to protect against.

      If you get no relief from HR anytime soon, either look for another job fast, or get your State’s EEO people involved since your company’s HR is protecting the company and not you. They jump when the government gets involved.

      • #3300396

        Re: Pre-emptive

        by vltiii ·

        In reply to Launch Your Pre-emptive Strike Now!

        I don’t think that playing I’m the victim is the way to go i.e. the hostile work environment. What if the guy really really isn’t as productive as he should be? His boss is well within his rights to have him document what he does. Quite frankly, he is within his rights even if the guy is being productive. Everytime a manager requires you to do something that you don’t want to do is not grounds for litigation. I think people forget that they basically serve at the pleasure of the organization they work for.

    • #3304170


      by solarian ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Maybe there is a conspiracy, and maybe not. But that is not the point.

      Personally I do agree with the ideal of keeping a journal. Everyone should do so.

      Not only does the journal show you what you have accomplished, but your boss, like his boss, can see what you have done.

      Also, when there’s a problem with a client who asserts that something was not done, either at all or by you, the journal can act as a witness. Therefore it can resolve any billable issue. It can also be a sword over your bosss’s head.

    • #3304161

      That depends(?)!

      by rascal2be ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Having been in your situation myself my advice is to be very careful and sure of your facts before you take the risk of crossing your Supervisor and going to HR. Companies are not as Employee Oriented as they once where and unfortunately most organizations feel like it’s easier to replace the employee than to deal with the problem. Your best bet may be to try to work through this problem and to try to enhance your Supervisor’s perception of your performance by complying with his wishes. I would make sure that the issue is as you perceive it and that other team members share the view that your supervisor is slighting you and that you have documented evidence collaborating this fact before you approach HR with this problem. Did you ever consider that your Supervisor could in fact be trying to help you? Does he keep a Journal? If so, his insistence that you keep one may be to mold/develop you and not to slight you or to unfairly single you out. Swallowing your pride and working with your Supervisor on this may lead to greater rewards in the long run and my best piece of advice is this: Try to avoid comparing yourself to others and concentrate instead on trying to reconcile you Supervisor’s perceived deficiencies in your performance. If your Supervisor is trying to help you than he should not object to sitting down with you to create an action plan with specific quantifiable objectives and time lines to meet those objectives to bring your performance up to expectations. MBO if you will! If your Supervisor balks at this idea then it may be time to visit HR with your complaint.

    • #3304137

      Sounds like discrimination to me.

      by robley3939 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Even though it sounds like discrimination, he can and will get away with it. He is definately trying to make you quit. Document your productivity and go to HR. God Luck buddy.


    • #3304131

      3rd Party

      by rene ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      You might have another person slandering you to your boss. I does not make sense – the facts are there, you have the highest biable hours. Check out this site on how to handle the third party.

      • #3300392

        Re: 3rd Party

        by vltiii ·

        In reply to 3rd Party

        There is more to a job than the hard skills. There may be more to his position than logging billable hours.

    • #3304117

      Get Help

      by ozziedazza ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Don’t stress..go directly to Hr and request their impartial assessment.

    • #3304063

      it’s all the little things

      by mjd420nova ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I can understand where you’re at. Keep the log, and be sure you include all the things you do. That includes allt the trips to the copier and endless hours on hold with the vendor

    • #3304051

      Why are you worried?

      by arlie1kenobi1 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Your boss has the right to closely inspect your work if he wants to. Why don’t you try putting yourself in his shoes for a second. If you were the boss wouldn’t you have a right and responsibility to know who was producing and who wasn’t? If you’re as productive as you say, you’ll probably get a raise when he inspects your work more closely. If you’re a liar and a dead weight, you’ll be exposed for what you are.

    • #3303965

      Are we just a bunch of technicians?

      by kp_569 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I got the same request here. My management sees IT staff are no better than like a bunch of technicians. Not just the management, even other staff and our secretaries treat us the same.

      It is sad. IT folks have been working so hard and earned their degree. They also have to keep up with their tech skills too. But they are no better than technicians! Some even get less (way less) pay than technicians.

      • #3303930

        This is bad?

        by dbabh ·

        In reply to Are we just a bunch of technicians?

        Hey, we technicians also have worked hard for our degrees, we also must keep on top of current technologies. Don’t sneer at us pal, we keep everything actually working.

      • #3303877

        Logging will help

        by ecarlson ·

        In reply to Are we just a bunch of technicians?

        Your logs will show everyone how much you do, and you will get a lot more respect once everyone knows how much you do, and how hard you work. And yes, we are a bunch of technicians: That’s a good thing.

        – Eric,

      • #3302345

        You know

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to Are we just a bunch of technicians?

        When I did frontline support, I never thought that I was anything more than someone who wanted to provide excellent customer service to the people I worked with. It just so happens I was doing it in computers, others did it in other ways. There was no golden cloud or halo around because I was IT. I was no embarrased to be a technician, and frankly even now as a manager, I value the technicians who work for me(some days I wish I could go back to that life).

        And every second of my time was accounted for in the problem tracking system – every phone call, every customer interaction -every success and failure for the world to see. When I did the most trouble tickets in a month, I didn’t lord it over the others – I know that some people happened to work on my difficult tickets than mine. I just took pride in doing a good job for the sake of it.


    • #3303935


      by dbabh ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      There is another possibilty that you neglect to see here Mean_Machine. Bosses aren’t completely stupid, perhaps he sees your production numbers but then never sees you actually working. Rather he sees you posting to sites like this one. Perhaps he feels that your numbers are falsified, I suggest that if you wish to retain your position that you work more and play less.

    • #3303931


      by usedman ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      It sounds like you are in a situation that regardless of what you do technechly you have failed the political portion of your job. Maybe you have run your mouth to the wrong people and someone has brought this up to your boss. You can be the expert in your field, but if you are a failure at politics in your everyday envirnment you lose all around. This may sound a harsh, but through my years of experience and the different positions I have held this is what I have run into.

      • #3303929


        by dbabh ·

        In reply to Productivity

        Indeed. Politics is PERCEPTION. To play the game successfully you have to be perceived as playing by the rules. Even if you are, if people don’t believe you are you’re sunk. Sucks but true.

    • #3303854

      Do you LOOK busy?

      by jdclyde ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      This issue is probably resolved by now, but here goes anyways.

      This could be many things. The first is do you LOOK busy? Even if you are the best and quickest worker, some people judge you by what they see not what you do (it is easier for them). If you get your work done and then are seen playing solitare then you are wasting company time and that is all they see.

      Maybe what you are doing during the day isn’t the most important things you could be doing? Know many people that work hard all day but because they don’t have their priorities straight they never get to the big project that either make or save money for the company.

      Maybe he just doesn’t like you. It happens, get over it.

      Do your job. If he has made logging what you do part of your job then log what you do. If you really are the good employee you have portrade in the post then you have nothing to worry about. If your not then your toast.

      Either way, brush off that resume and look for a place where you will be happy.

      Don’t mess with the HR. Only cause problems and you CAN be discriminated against by someone that doesn’t like you as long as it isn’t based on the specific CIVILLY protected points. Race/religion/gender blah blah blah.

      Good luck.

      Sure would be nice if posters would come back a few months later and let people know how things worked out.

    • #3304519

      35 years IT experience

      by rljack01 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Act tactfully. Document in a personal paper file kept in your home.
      Be a servant to your boss.
      My experience is that the boss will respect you for it.
      You may be able to turn-around a perceived harmful situation which will be both a commendation to your integrity and an example to others.
      A promotion may result. It did for me!

      A manager observed how I responded positively when treated negatively and how my productivity and ingenuity were enhanced by my attitude.

      I even got a congradulatory letter from the CEO of the Fortune 100 company.

      You see, the observing manager was a VP’s assistant.

      You never know who is looking. I didn’t.

    • #3304495

      Productivity is to spend as much time as possible

      by garion11 ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      doing as little and getting paid higher than people who are actually doing something. Got guy here at work that does that…so I figured its as a good as a definition as any ;).

    • #3304409

      Headers Reply

      by d_filgate ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Header’s reply was very interesting. A couple of
      years ago, I went through the same thing that you
      seem to be going through. In my case, the boss
      actually was trying to get info to get rid of me.

      I was given some advice by a manager in a
      different department: “BLOW YOUR OWN HORN”

      In my case, I was such a team player that I wasn’t
      as concerned about grabbing the limelight, as I
      was in making sure that the department did well.
      In fact, I was so good at it that my department
      manager didn’t actually know what I did throughout
      the day, and thought I was a slacker that was
      riding on the coat-tails of the others in the
      After I had a meeting with him and filled him in
      on what I was doing, and as he saw by the “DAILY
      JOURNAL” reports that I filled out, he saw that
      I was actually one of the more important people
      in the department.

      My suggestion to you, is that while you remain
      a “TEAM PLAYER” as Header suggests, you also
      start blowing your own horn to make yourself
      a little more noticed, to stand out from the
      crowd so to speak.

      Good Luck

    • #3304372

      Don’t get MAD get even

      by mhubenschmidt ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      As an Enterprise LAN manager responsible for 9 engineers, it is imperative that I understand what is going on for dispersing of projects, workload and the like. More importantly, I have to report (just as you do) to my superiors on daily, weekly and monthly activities. In order to do this I need to be inundated with information to compile into “executive” summaries for the higher-ups. My recommendation would be to cut and paste you tasks from your calls and pound him with information, including phone calls, support calls not tracked, assistance(escalation) and help with other engineers/techs and the like. Additionally it gives you one central repository come review time to drop on em!.. Good luck.

    • #3300315

      use the tracking software

      by herrmanso ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Use it to show the reallity, if he prosecuted, quit.

    • #3300858

      Be Careful

      by jrisner ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      In this day and age with all the Political Correctness it is very easy for people to mess with you. If you work in the type of environment were people are sensative to foul language then you should be very careful what you say. You never know who may be listening. As for your Boss you may want to comply with what he asks and hopefully with time he will see that you do a good job and leave you alone.

    • #3299411

      Re: Productivity

      by vltiii ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      I would be very concerned if I were the only one being asked to document how much I work. You may have the 2nd highest closed calls, etc, but does your boss know this? Being productive is one thing, but if those that can directly impact your employment status don’t know about it, then from their perspective you aren’t a performer. In your post you stated that your boss told you that you aren’t productive! This is where office politics comes into play. Many don’t like it, but it’s a necessary evil if you want to advance. Interact with him more and keep him informed about what has gone on throughout the day.

      I suspect there is more to this than what you’ve posted. If you can view the reports, I would think that your boss can also which should in most cases be documentation enough.

    • #3298015


      by nitvork ·

      In reply to How do you define “productivity”?

      Wait and see. Think of this task and an other pieces of taks assigned to you. Do not take it personal. Take it as an opportunity not as an challenge.


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