In this tiny town I work in professionalism seems to be a misunderstood concept. Being professional does not mean that you are trained or educated in your chosen field and work in that field. That is being a professional, and there is a difference. Being professional, in my opinion, consists of arriving for work early enough to begin work at your scheduled time, being courteous to your coworkers, not feeling or acting entitled to more paid time off than you or anyone else has, and generally comporting yourself as though you are not the most important person in your workplace because chances are, you are not.
What has brought this little pet peeve of mine to the fore today? Our receptionist. Remember her? I did promise that I would never be nice to her again, but I knew at the time that such a thing wasn't practical, and I mainly said it because I was mad. 'Jane' is basically a good person. However, she doesn't seem to understand professionalism. She is late by at least a few minutes every day. Almost everyone else is as well, but she is the receptionist and it was made clear in her interview (just like it was in mine) that she had to be here before everyone else so she could begin answering the phones promptly at 8:00 AM. Not 8:05. Or 8:15. Also, she lives 5 minutes from the office, so she should be able to wake up as late as 7:30 and still make it in by 8. Not so much. She called and left a message on the answering machine a few days ago saying she woke up late and would be in around 8:30. The time stamp on the message was 7:00. Why in the world does it take this person an hour and and a half to get ready and make the five-minute commute to work (three minutes when it's not 'rush hour')? It's nice that she showers and washes and blow dries her hair every morning, but that only takes me 30 minutes, and my hair is longer than hers. Throw it in a ponytail, get dressed and eat a small breakfast in 20 minutes and you should be able to make it to work with 15 minutes to spare. I would love to know what she does with that other 45 minutes.
But I'm getting off topic (sort of). Yesterday she informs me that I'll need to take the phones from 8-9 this morning so she can spend time with her husband before he goes away for 3 weeks for a temporary job with his mom's company. IF she had vacation time left, I wouldn't have a problem with that, but she doesn't. An exception is made because it is her husband and he is going to be gone for three weeks. Fine. How does she plan to make up the time? Using the hour we 'get' from our bi-weekly lunch training sessions. Um...no. No one else 'gets' an hour for that, but she assumes she's entitled, even though we didn't actually have one this pay period. Whatever, favorites are favorites, I just do my job and know that vengeance belongs to the Lord. The big problem? Her husband left at 4:00 this morning. Here's what happened (as she told it to me when she finally got in this morning at 9:15): They went to bed around 11, got up at 3, he left at 4. The poor baby couldn't get back to sleep until 5, and then she slept until 8. So that means she spent a whole extra hour with her husband before he left. Wow. I'm sure that made all the difference in the world and the next three weeks will be a breeze because of that hour.
Now, I know I sound bitchy, but I do understand and believe that she will miss him terribly. I know how hard it is to be away from the person you love and are used to having around for an extended period of time. However, part of the reason they have to be apart is because he won't lower himself to get any job while he's searching for a 'good' job, so they really need the money. Also, I truly don't think that extra hour made a huge difference in how hard the next few weeks are going to be on her. Finally, while family always comes before work, you have to choose your battles. Eventually a time is going to come when something will come up (a child's play perhaps) that really will make a difference, and the bosses may be tired of making exceptions. And sometimes, you just have to suck it up and make sacrifices so you fulfill all of your obligations. Would I have gotten up if it had been Michael going away? Absolutely. Would I have been in to work at 8? No. I would have been in at 7:45 like I am every morning, and ready to work at 8.