How To Explain Working More Than Approved Hours?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about working more hours than approved:

Recently, I was told by one of my superiors that there was an audit on time cards and that he was “disturbed” to see that I had more than 40 hours per week on my time cards. I know that I am not supposed to have more than 40 hours on my time cards, but, I was coming in early, not taking a full lunch, and leaving late (not too) because I wanted to make a conscious effort to throw myself into my work due to a personal situation. I realize now that I should not have done what I did and that I should not have let my personal feelings get the best of me (I did not disclose the personal situation, nor, do I feel as though I can). The thing is, I feel as though I am in “hot water” with my supervisor, which I can understand. Should I disclose what my situation is, and if so, how do I do so without sounding like a drama queen?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

The concern about time cards is apparently over the fact that you worked overtime without permission, thus incurring overtime costs. From the viewpoint of your manager it probably doesn’t matter why you did it, so much as that you did. Probably the best way to make amends is simply to not do it again.

Your manager is probably well aware of your commitment to your work and realizes you wouldn’t purposely create a problem., so an explanation isn’t necessary anyway. And, as you’ve noted, it’s difficult to discuss a personal situation without awkwardness and sounding overly dramatic.Just focus on work, put in the correct amount of time, and realize that your reputation for good work will overshadow this small matter. It’s not the most serious thing that could have happened and I’m sure your overall good work will be counted on your side. Best wishes with this matter.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.