“Professional” Means Getting Paid For Your Time

, , , , , , | Working | April 23, 2020

(This takes place at my first job. I work at a popular teenage clothing store at the mall. The earliest we are allowed to clock in is five minutes before our shift starts. My shift starts at 11:00 am and I walk in at 10:50 to go to the break room before clocking in. At 10:55, I clock in, when the manager on duty approaches me along with some of my coworkers.)

MOD: “[My Name]! You’re late!”

Me: *glances at my watch* “What do you mean? It’s 10:55. Doesn’t my shift start at 11:00?”

MOD: “Yes, but you’re supposed to be here fifteen minutes before your shift starts so the team can go over stuff.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. No one ever told me that.”

MOD: “Be here on time next time.”

Me: “Okay. So, just for clarification, we are allowed to clock in fifteen minutes before our shift? Because I thought it was only five minutes.”

MOD: “No. It’s still only five minutes before.”

Me: “Wait. What? So you want us to show up fifteen minutes before our shift but we can’t clock in?”

MOD: “Yes.”

Me: *long pause* “Yeah, that’s not going to happen. If I’m required to be here fifteen minutes before our shift to do work-related things, then I’m clocking in so I get paid for that time.”

(The MOD didn’t really know how to respond to me telling her no. Apparently, I was the only one who had actually said something back. Later, she told me it was unprofessional of me to talk to her that way in front of the other employees. I responded that it was unprofessional of her to talk to me about being “late” in front of my coworkers.)

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