Regulations say that you can only have one floor mat.

I overheard that comment at a grocery store recently. It seems that a young man working as a cashier requested extra floor mats. You know, the spongy kind that are supposed to make it easier to stand for long periods of time. Well, the manager came over to investigate and asked why extra mats were needed. The cashier said his feet were hurting and hoped the extra padding would make it easier. The manager then said okay but made it clear that this could not go on all the time. He said that regulations state that a single floor mat is allowed.

Alright, my first thought was how glad I was to have escaped a life where I had to stand up all day and hope some manager would give me some small sign that the store cares about the employees. I mean, really, how much do these mats cost? And did the store save some money by getting the thinnest they could get away with? I don’t know. But as I left, I looked back at the cashier standing on three mats and they didn’t look very thick to me.

I’ve been programming for 25 years and have worked in many different companies, big and small, high tech and not so, here in the US and in Singapore. And I’ve worked in companies where I wasn’t a software engineer. I’ve been an equipment technician, a sales person in retail, a warehouse worker, and even a dishwasher. I’ve tossed pizzas, made sandwiches, and run my own companies. I’ve had to wear uniforms and punch time clocks and for other companies, I’ve arrived for work wearing whatever I felt like and whenever I wanted.

With all this experience, I have to say that in general, you get more flexibility to work when and how you want as your skills increase and your work becomes more valuable.

I have a lot more to say about this topic in the podcast. Make sure to listen and subscribe in iTunes to automatically get future episodes.