'If it's done well, why does it matter how long it takes? It's not my fault that I've developed a routine to optimize my time.'
People regularly turn to the internet to vent about things bothering them in real life. From evenings turned into literal hell by horrible dates and neighbors who've made every day a nightmare to soul-sucking jobs and bureaucratic troubles, we often get to read about—and weigh in on—the troubles of our fellow humans. Imgur user Oldfishnewfish brought a rather unusual issue to the table recently when they vented about getting in trouble at work for being "too efficient at their job." In a post that went viral on the social media platform, they explained how they'd been accused of "time theft" for simply finishing their work earlier than others.
"I got in trouble at work for being 'too efficient' at my job. I'm taken aback. How can one be 'too efficient?' My boss told me that there were complaints of me 'being done with my work early' from coworkers. I asked her how it's fair for me to be reprimanded for being 'too quick' when I've never once, in my full time here as an employee, had any errors or mistakes? My boss told me that my job should take twice as long to complete because 'that's how long your coworkers take,'" they wrote.
"That by me not 'working' for my full shift, it could be considered 'time theft'... What the f**k? If it's done well, why does it matter how long it takes? It's not my fault that I've developed a routine to optimize my time," Oldfishnewfish added. "That I can complete my duties without any unnecessary distractions. That I don't prolong a task that can be done in 10 minutes to take a full hour. Clearly, I'm not challenged enough in this position, or my coworkers have found a way to make these simple tasks take their full shift."
Speaking to Bored Panda, they raised an important point about why some managers might want to punish their overly efficient employees. "I believe that the reprimand stems from a dated belief that ‘busy work’ is productive work," Oldfishnewfish said. "Although there may be systems or processes that have been in place for years, allowing your employees the ability to be innovative and work within their own abilities not only increases morale, it would also increase productivity." They added that since there has long been a widespread fear of work shortage, some folks might not be aware that there's a surplus of open positions in some sectors of the industry.
"Fortunately, I have never been short of work or have had to settle for toxic or detrimental work environments. I used to work in hospitality, then finance, then health care," they said. "Being a millennial, I have never felt personally indebted to an employer and have always been an advocate for a healthy work-life balance." Oldfishnewfish believes some of their colleagues might also share the "busy work" mindset. "They have found a method of working that works for them personally—working at a pace to remain busy all day, while still completing their duties. I don't believe that it’s a matter of organization or fear of consequence, but rather, if they complete their duties within the expected time frame, they won't have the time or be expected to complete additional duties," they said.