Are you suffering from Laptop Amnesia?

Thursday - 3/6/2014, 2:00am EST

Once, I think in the fourth grade, the dog really did eat my homework! I swear it!

I had made a dinosaur from chicken bones and popcycle sticks and glued it to the side of a shoe-box. Mike Dog (his name when I got him) apparently got the munchies around midnight. As an apartment dog, he was quiet and cunning. He spotted or smelled my project and quietly ate some.

That said, dogs probably get blamed for eating a lot more homework than they really do. Can the same be said about teleworkers who, for whatever reason, telework only when it feels good? Just asking, because ...

Lots of federal offices have been shut down by bad weather this month. Some last week, others, including many in the Washington-Baltimore- Philadelphia area this week.

Essential and emergency operations continued, but many people did get time off. Based on the conditions in the D.C. area (which got off lighter than some other places), it was a good call. Lives were probably saved. Schools closed too. Good move.

Most of the feds we talked with — by phone or email — praised OPM for shutting things down. Those who had agreed to telework in good times were, for the most part, happy to work from home while their non-telework colleagues got the day or days off. But a column earlier this week, with a comment from an unhappy teleworker (B. W.), drew lots of comment.

The commenter said the day off for most was actually a loss for teleworkers.

Most who responded disagreed. Strongly. They said it was comments like that that give feds a bad image with the public. The majority said they were happy to telework on bad days because that was the deal.

One worker, however, said he/she was bothered by people who seem to telework at their own convenience by conveniently forgetting to bring their laptops home with them each day. "It's amazing how many people 'forgot' their laptops (last) Friday!" the commenter said.

Did that happen where you work? Is there some form of laptop amnesia out there that is triggered by ice and snowstorms or was the above an isolated case? Let us know. Meantime, here are some comments on the week that was:

  • What bothers me is that many people who telework at their own convenience, conveniently don't bring their laptops home every night. They should be teleworking on the snow days too. It's amazing how many people "forgot" their laptops on Friday." — Changed1

  • "I am so grateful to be able to work at home ... to only commute one day a week takes a tremendous amount of stress out of my life. If the tradeoff for that is that I have to work when offices are closed, then I will gladly take that tradeoff any day. To whine and complain about having to work at home when not all people have that privilege to begin with is not right in my book. In addition, it does not help the government worker image — not wanting to work and get paid when one has the ability TO work. I would tell B.W. if he thinks it's unfair that he has to work while some get the day off with pay (which overall is still a small number of days, even this year), then request to be removed from telework and return to 'in office' status full time. Then he/she can get paid when the offices are closed and be happy. Me, I'll stay on telework and 'suffer' when I still have to work when offices are closed." — Allen, IRS Detroit

  • "Our department was pulled into the conference room and told that the telework agreement means that when the government is closed, we are required to work. This is the down side of teleworking. Currently we are allowed to telework one day per pay period because of antiquated 1950 mentality on management's part. I was not bothering to use my telework privilege, only on vacation or days off to keep caught up in certain areas and clearing email so upon returning I wouldn't be swamped. I could also be available if needed during some crisis. With the mandatory telework obligation, I have now become a one-day-per- pay-period teleworker since I feel I am getting screwed having to work when the Government allegedly closes. What I did find out during one of the closings was that most of our department did what people do when their place of employment closes — nothing. They didn't argue during the staff meeting or debate any issues. They sat there said nothing and when the Government closed, they did too." — Bill in D.C.

NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

Two grandchildren of John Tyler, the 10th president of the U.S., are still alive. Tyler — one half of the "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" campaign team — served as president between 1841 and 1845 and died in 1862.

(Source: Snopes)


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