The “Payoff” to Befriending Your Timekeeper


When I first started working in an office, someone wise passed down this sage advice, “Make friends with the custodians and IT staff and your life here will be a piece of cake.” This turned out to be some of the best advice I’ve ever received. The custodial staff knows where everything is and the quickest way to get it. They know who sits where and when people will be at their desks. I think we all know why befriending the IT staff is so beneficial. My computer and I sometimes have…creative differences so it’s good to have a neutral party to mediate our issues.

But there is a third group of people that should be added to that short list of those to befriend.

Think about it. How many passwords do you have? Our work lives are overrun with them and their crazy requirements; it seems just as we start to remember which one goes with which account, our three months is up! Someone told me to use the month and year for the numbers and to just change those. It was amazing…until the system started denying new passwords that were too similar to previous ones. Yikes. Now I have to change the letters and symbols too?! I have never been locked out of my time and attendance account more frequently.

I will never forget when I was traveling on a bus and got a call that I’d forgotten to submit my time; “All time must be submitted by 5PM today.” I was the last one. With my work computer (and its excel spreadsheet of passwords) in the luggage area of the bus, I panicked and quickly locked myself out of the account. What am I going to do?!

Cue the timekeepers.

I emailed my timekeeper from the bus. She sent me a new password. I somehow locked myself out again. I emailed her (again). She came to the rescue and I finally successfully submitted my time.

When I started writing this I went straight to the source. Almost ashamedly I asked her, “How many times have you reset my password?” Assuming that meant I was locked out (again), she laughed. We started talking about lockouts and news that I am not even in her top five offenders shocked me. After all, if it isn’t me, then who is it? Let’s just say that on average this person requests three resets PER PAY PERIOD.

It isn’t just the password resets that make timekeepers so great. How do I enter hours when I worked overtime at night on a holiday? What if I’m on an alternate work schedule but am sent to a week-long training with regular work days? How do I know I’ve entered my time correctly when the system says I have multiple errors? My timekeeper knows the answers to all of those and much more!

It’s official, I’m getting a password management app; maybe for my timekeeper’s birthday I’ll teach her number one delinquent how to use it too.

Jocelyn is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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