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My flexible schedule is causing problems

(MoneyWatch) Dear Evil HR Lady,

I've worked for this company for seven years. In 2011 I received a great raise and bonus and I was thrilled until I found out that my boss had ranked me last amongst all my coworkers. Over the summer, my boss retired and one of my coworkers was promoted to be the manager. I thought this was a good choice.

However, for year end 2012, my bonus and raise were half what they were in 2011 -- when I was rated the lowest in the department. In all my time at this company, I've never missed a deadline that I was aware of, nor have I delivered work product that was anything less than what was requested and required. I've never had anything come back to me defective. Does this describe a last place employee? And in 2012, a year in which I accomplished every single goal that was set for me and a few others, both my raise and my bonus went down.

I have 20+ years experience and have worked in a relaxed atmosphere. I arrive around 9:30 because I have to take my son to school, but I usually stay late -- unless it's softball season, in which case I leave by 4:30, but I often come back in the evening. I've been known to be kicked out of the building when the security guy goes home at midnight. I always work at least 40 hours.

Apparently, someone recently complained to management about this. In response, my manager asked me about getting to work by 9 and I flat told him I couldn't and explained why. This is what my original manager and I agreed to several years ago. Doing this would require my wife's schedule to change as well, and that isn't practical.

I want to have a meeting with my current boss and my former boss (who still comes in from time to time as a consultant). Do you think this would help?

Nope. Not only do I not think this would help, I think it would hurt. If you pull your former manager into this, your current manager will feel undermined and will undoubtedly hold it against you. Thus, you'll be worse off after the conversation then you are now.

Let's get a few things on the table here. First is your ranking. Just because you were last doesn't mean you were bad. It's just that everyone else was better. If there are only 5 employees in a department, it's pretty easy to be high performing and still ranked lower than everyone else.

Additionally, year-end raises and bonuses are not just based on ratings and rankings but on the amount of budgeted dollars. For all you know, you got a bigger raise than your coworkers.

But, let's not focus on money. What you have here is a culture shift. For whatever reason, the new boss doesn't see you like the old boss did. And your coworkers are annoyed by the late arrivals and early departures. And, it may not even be so much as a shift as it is an evolution, as your previous boss gave you a low ranking.

I am 100 percent in favor of judging employees on their results rather than their face time, but this is not only extremely difficult to do, face time still does matter. If the office is set up so that everyone is around at the same time and everyone else is required to be there, you are missing out. And it is normal for coworkers to become resentful. Because while they don't see you coming back into the office after the softball game, you don't see them arriving at 7:00 a.m. Nor do you see them staying until 7:30 at night because you're out playing ball.

Now, it's your manager's job to manage and your coworkers' jobs to work. But if they are upset about you, it makes them more difficult to manage. He can either spend hours explaining how wonderful you are, or he can tell you to get your behind into the office. It's pretty clear which one is easier.

So, I would have a chat with your manager, alone. Don't pull your former boss into this. Explain the arrangement you made and ask if that can continue and what you need to do. Make sure you are open to the possibility that your boss will say, "You know what? You can either come in at 9:30 or leave at 4:30, but you absolutely cannot do both." And you know what? That's pretty darn reasonable.

If this doesn't work for you, it's time to move on.

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