Escape the Monday Dead Zone

Monday - 5/17/2010, 4:00am EDT

For fed-oriented media outfits (like us) the lowest readership days, when we get the least number of hits, are Fridays and Mondays. That reflects, among other things, that lots of people are working flexible work shifts giving them an extra day off every two weeks.

Our marketing geniuses here (who also do landscaping and give $10 haircuts every other Thursday) say that a lot of people, and feds, don't read news from their home computers. Pity, but what are you going to do?

For whatever reason, today is part of the dead zone. So if you are with us, thanks. If not, how can we hook you into becoming Friday and/or Monday readers too? And if not hook, punish. As in look what you're missing.

To that end we are drafting readers to become writers.

Many of the best columns here (and I suspect elsewhere) are based on questions people ask, tips they give us, comments and criticism. We in the media are pretty much in an ivory tower whereas you guys are on the frontline, or in the front-office. So starting today we are going to put an emphasis on reader feedback. Call it Ground Truth. Or Monday Morning Quarter. Unless you've got a better name. If so let us know.

Meantime, let 'er rip and keep 'em coming:

Teleworking Bias: "I'd love to take advantage of telework-flexiplace but as a secretary and mind you - a union dues paying employee... I am still not allowed to work at home. When asking over the last 16 years as to why I can't, the same flimsy reason comes up repeatedly by management, 'secretaries are not issued laptop computers!' So get all of us secretaries a laptop computer so we have the same rights as everyone else in this organization. My defense over the years in all of this has been that with rising gas prices at times... who can better afford a tank of gas to get to and from work: A) a GS-11 or GS-12 bringing in over $60k a year or; B) a GS-5 secretary making far less then that? This needs to be considered for ALL employees to avoid this financial hardship that many of us face. In this bad economy my husband was out of work for ten months and it sure would have been helpful if I had the same rights in this organization, as everyone else making far more then me. As I'm writing this we have the situation in the Gulf where millions of gallons of precious oil are going to waste and you know gas prices will rise so dramatically soon that I'm wondering how I will get to work at all since I live far away from my office and public transportation is not an option for me.

"My preference is to actually work in the office but my personal finances often dictate the opposite at times. It should still be my right to have the same options as everyone else though." IRS in Stockton

Telework Flip Flop: Folks really don't know where they stand on the issue of teleworking or alternate work schedules until they need to use these options. When the alternate work schedule (AWS) and telework options first came to our Agency years ago, I was elated - even though I chose not to take advantage of them at the time. But my co-worker strongly opposed them and ranted about how 'put-upon' she would be when others were away from the office. Fast forward a couple of years later when, due to a medical situation, she needed to use both the telework and AWS options. Did her tune change!

"Today I telework one day a week. Our Agency does not provide equipment, supplies or services to enable us to telework. I don't get a tax break because my teleworking is considered for my own convenience and not mandated by the office. I bought my own computer, fax and printer and pay for all services in support of teleworking. Does anyone honestly think I would undertake this expense to 'goof off'? My telework days are very productive. I'd even go as far to say that one of the main reasons I have remained with my Agency when the going got tough is that I know that I don't have to guess about being able to telework. Sign me . . . . Teleworking and Proud of It DoT

Golden Portfolio: "In light of the stock market crashing down 1,000 pts from the Greece chaos it is evident we as Federal Employees have real concerns about our vanishing pension funds.