Author Topic: Is it ok to back out of a commitment if the other person is being inflexible?  (Read 8941 times)

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Goosey

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My work has flex time, but my hours are still set by my supervisor and my duties. I need to be at my desk until 4:30 every day that I am at work, even if my company says I have flex time.

I think you were wrong to basically say her reason for not wanting to leave work early wasn't correct.

gen xer

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I don't think OP is rude.  She didn't accept the plans as is and then change her mind hours or days later.  She asked right away while they were still trying to work out the details.  I'm pretty firm on not bailing on plans once you've made them but asking in the same discussion whether you could make it earlier really doesn't strike me as that. 

It's fine for Carrie to say she needs to stay at work if she really can't or won't leave....but it's also fine for OP to say that half an hour is too much of a rush to squeeze in a drink.



Winterlight

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I don't think OP is rude.  She didn't accept the plans as is and then change her mind hours or days later.  She asked right away while they were still trying to work out the details.  I'm pretty firm on not bailing on plans once you've made them but asking in the same discussion whether you could make it earlier really doesn't strike me as that. 

It's fine for Carrie to say she needs to stay at work if she really can't or won't leave....but it's also fine for OP to say that half an hour is too much of a rush to squeeze in a drink.

I agree. I don't think anyone is really wrong, though I would also be worried about having so little time before her bus.
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NyaChan

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Company policy may be flexible, but that doesn't mean Carrie won't experience negative consequences.  My job used to come with a certain quota.  The company explicitly abolished the quota.  My current team however still has an unofficial quota that we all report on - if it ever came down to it, are they going to write down NyaChan did not meet quota so she is fired? Nope.  But in the meantime, my supervisor who has a lot of subjective categories to mark my competence is noting whether or not I am meeting the standards she has set for her team.

bopper

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I say to accept that she wants to leave at 5:00.

She also wants to get together with you before she leaves.

Can you all come up with a different solution?

Go somewhere closer?

Get there faster (e.g. take a cab/car/bus)?

TootsNYC

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In my experience, company policy on flextimes also allows individual managers to make different decisions and negotiate different solutions with their team members.

Regardless, I think taking the argument into that territory -was- overstepping, even if it was in negotiations phase. And I don't think it's fair of the OP to label her friend as "inflexible" in this instance.

turnip

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I replied: "Our organisation lets us work our hours between 7am and 7pm, so if your supervisor is insisting you work between 9am-5pm every day, they're in the wrong. In any event. I'm sure no one would begrudge you leaving work slightly early on a Friday before you're going on holiday."

That was rude, IMHO.  It is not your place to instruct her on how to do her job or interact with her supervisor.  My job supports flexible hours too but that doesn't mean I'd ever presume to instruct a peer on how to arrange their schedule.   A new hire or a young employee I might reassure, but you sound like you are telling Carrie that you don't think she understands her workplace.

DanaJ

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I don't think it's rude of the OP to decline while they were still ironing ou tthe details. The reminder of company policy, however, was a bit on the rude side.

In any case, am I the only one who find's Carrie's initial invitation a bit baffling to begin with? If I can't leave the office until 5:00 and I must be on my way to the the airport by 5:30, I can't imagine why I'd try to squeeze in an extra commitment that was non-essential. It seems overly optimistic to think that Carrie and the OP could have gone to have a drink or coffee with the clock ticking down so close to zero hour.

gen xer

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I'm not even sure she was being rude about bringing up the flex time policy.  If it was someone you didn't know well then no - I wouldn't say that but this was a friend and most people are more open and less guarded with their friends. 

Maybe I'm wrong but I got the impression that OP dropped it after Carrie said she wasn't going to leave earlier.  She brought up the flex-time policy, Carrie wasn't going for it, OP backed off.  Frankly I would find trying to cram in a drink in half an hour a bit rushed too.

It's fine for Carrie to say she won't leave before 5:00 pm.  Sometimes we just can't be flexible...but I guess my point it - if she can't budge then the OP can also say no to the timing without being rude.  I would not hold her to such a minor technicality as agreeing first and then asking to meet earlier while still settling the details.

turnip

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I'm not even sure she was being rude about bringing up the flex time policy.  If it was someone you didn't know well then no - I wouldn't say that but this was a friend and most people are more open and less guarded with their friends. 



To me it falls under "interesting assumptions".  I work at a flex-time company.  I can still have a personal policy of always working til 5 for any number of reasons.   Kindly don't assume that I'm either ignorant of company rules or that I'm unable to have a open conversation with my supervisor.

PastryGoddess

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Carrie could have been planning to leave a bit early in order to get to the restaurant by 5pm or earlier. The pushback from the OP may have caused her to dig in her heels to the 5pm time out of annoyance.  I know I would have, especially after that second email. 

fountainof

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I have flex time too and while people can make their own hours to some extent (however our range is 7am -6pm), generally people work the same hours each day as people are creatures of habit like that.  So while I could leave earlier than 5:30pm and makeup the time in a variety of ways, I generally don't.  The last day before a holiday I would be least likely to leave early as I always have a bunch of stuff to get done.

I only think the OP was rude to go through the company rules and sort of insist Carrie can leave early.  Carrie works there too and she knows the rules and wants/needs to work to 5pm, end of story.

I think it is fine to say the 1/2 would be rushed and schedule for another time.

SingActDance

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I don't think it's rude of the OP to decline while they were still ironing ou tthe details. The reminder of company policy, however, was a bit on the rude side.

In any case, am I the only one who find's Carrie's initial invitation a bit baffling to begin with? If I can't leave the office until 5:00 and I must be on my way to the the airport by 5:30, I can't imagine why I'd try to squeeze in an extra commitment that was non-essential. It seems overly optimistic to think that Carrie and the OP could have gone to have a drink or coffee with the clock ticking down so close to zero hour.

I don't find it strange. If the bar is near where they work, Carrie is probably thinking, "Gee, I'd rather grab a drink with a friend to kill time before I have to catch the bus instead of cooling my heels in the office for 20 minutes."
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gen xer

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I'm not even sure she was being rude about bringing up the flex time policy.  If it was someone you didn't know well then no - I wouldn't say that but this was a friend and most people are more open and less guarded with their friends. 



To me it falls under "interesting assumptions".  I work at a flex-time company.  I can still have a personal policy of always working til 5 for any number of reasons.   Kindly don't assume that I'm either ignorant of company rules or that I'm unable to have a open conversation with my supervisor.

I didn't get the impression she was assuming that at all....but neither of us was there to get the nuances of the conversation.  It would have been rude if she harped on it....but it was a little exchange in which the OP ultimately respected Carrie's policy of working straight through until 5:00.  Presumably there are no hard feelings about it.

I just don't see the harm in asking as long as you know when to back off.  I also work for the Public Service and have flex time.  I understand people choose their preferred hours and normally stick to them but that the flexibility is there when you need it.

At any rate ultimately I still don't think she's on the hook for it - Carrie was fine to say no to leaving early and she "lived her boundaries".  OP was fine to say the timing doesn't work.  She "lived her boundaries" too. 
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 03:01:04 PM by gen xer »

Celany

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I'm not even sure she was being rude about bringing up the flex time policy.  If it was someone you didn't know well then no - I wouldn't say that but this was a friend and most people are more open and less guarded with their friends. 



To me it falls under "interesting assumptions".  I work at a flex-time company.  I can still have a personal policy of always working til 5 for any number of reasons.   Kindly don't assume that I'm either ignorant of company rules or that I'm unable to have a open conversation with my supervisor.

I didn't get the impression she was assuming that at all....but neither of us was there to get the nuances of the conversation.  It would have been rude if she harped on it....but it was a little exchange in which the OP ultimately respected Carrie's policy of working straight through until 5:00.

I just don't see the harm in asking as long as you know when to back off.  I also work for the Public Service and have flex time.  I understand people choose their preferred hours and normally stick to them but that the flexibility is there when you need it.

At any rate the OP wasn't asking about whether her exchange regarding flex time was rude - it's done and over with and presumably no hard feelings about it.

I think that's where I'm falling under too. If the OP had continued to harp on the flextime, I think that would have been rude. But I've had conversations with coworkers at flex time where I've said "It's so nice to get out of here at 5, because I come in at 8 & it's so nice to do that with the flex time". & then they say "gee, I wish I could do that, but Boss won't let us" and I say "Boss can't *not* let you without a good reason" & they say "no, Boss doesn't like flextime, and said that they can choose to not let us work flextime, since it's up to each supervisor to decide that policy", and that last italicized part is totally untrue. According to company rules, Boss HAS to evaluate any request for flex time and can only veto (or modify it) if there is a good, supportable reason. AND, a good reason isn't "Boss likes to have people here at 9am" or even "Boss wants a certain meeting to be at 9am every day, so everybody has to be there at 9, so no flextime later than 9 can happen".

I'm imaging that the OP wanted Carrie to know that Boss can't do that, since some bosses do lie about it. But once Carrie shut that down, then I think it'd been rude to continue, which the OP didn't.

I also think, in the case of the OP agreeing & then changing her mind...I've definitely initially said yes to something before I did the mental math. It sounds like OP likes Carrie enough to jump at the chance to hang out a little, but upon doing that mental math, it's just not really workable, and kind stressful to rush from one place to the next. How much talking & drinking could you really do in 10 minutes?
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