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"My boss sets weekend KPIs for her husband."

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I am equally appalled and intrigued by the phenomenon I’m going to tell you about.

My boss is a great boss. Every day she sets an agenda for me at work. Her meetings are swift and productive, her email inbox is empty, she is a model of efficiency.

But, turns out I’m not the only one she’s managing. Because on the weekend I spied her husband’s Facebook post:

Jeremy Smith My boss is setting KPIs for her husband on the weekend.

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While her hub wants to sleep in and stay in pyjamas and eat Cheezels on the couch, Jamila instead manages him into productivity.

Weekend KPIs include showering, dressing baby, going to post office, going furniture shopping, etc etc.

So I sat down with Jam. I confronted her about it. Here’s how it went down:

MB: What the f**k is wrong with you?

JR: *hysterical laughter*. Nothing is wrong with me! I genuinely do not see what is wrong with laying out a plan for the day. When you have a plan, then you make the most out of the time that you have available. What could possibly be wrong with that?

MB: OK but what about his plan?

JR: He doesn’t have a plan. MY HUSBAND NEVER HAS A PLAN. If left to his own devices, he wouldn’t get out of bed ’til 11am, it would take hours to shower and get dressed because he requires the perfect soundtrack, housework would never be completed and we won’t get breakfast until 2pm. It would be a wasted day.

MB: Aren’t weekends there to be wasted?

JR: No. I don’t think any time should be wasted. Look, it’s not like I’m only scheduling in tasks and activities with an outcome in mind. I also schedule time that is purely about enjoyment. Going to the pub with friends, catching up with family to meet someone’s new baby, heading to the beach — that is scheduled time for friendship, for discussion and enjoyment of other people’s company.

MB: This is so convincing!

JR: I have this conversation EVERY Saturday. Why? Because my husband is a faffer. He is a professional faffer. He procrastinates and takes his time doing the things that don’t really matter and then bemoans why we didn’t get to catch up with someone or why he isn’t up-to-date with work.

Me? I like my leisure time to be as efficient as my work time and so I have to give some… instructions.

MB: It sounds a little bit bossy.

JR: I stand by it.

MB: Does he resent you at any point in this process?

JR: Oh, absolutely. But we’ve been together three years now so I think he has accepted his fate. It’s part of being married to me. It’s become a running joke, so we ham it up now. He will deliberately take a painstakingly long time to get dressed, insisting on me seeing endless YouTube videos and that allows me to launch into full dictation mode.

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MB: Does he set KPIs for you?

JR: Ha! I’d like to see him try.

MB: What’s the reward for reaching the KPI?

JAM: He gets to continue being married to me. This is a reward in itself. Oh, and he gets to be content in the knowledge that he has used his weekend time to best effect and maximum utility.

MB: Do you have yearly performance reviews?

JAM: I plan to. Isn’t that what wedding anniversaries are for?

Our first one is coming up in three weeks. There is room for improvement.

MB: YOU CAN’T CHANGE PEOPLE!

JAM: Of course you can, Monz. That is what good people management is all about. You set your expectations high, give them the tools to achieve their goals, enable them through hearty encouragement and they will come to see success as its own reward.

… … …

It’s an admirable quest that Jamila is on. Lord knows I’ve come home from a weekend away with the girls and the whole house smells like the Funk of Man who has Not Been Outside.

But in the interests of a fair argument, I phoned Jamila’s husband for his side of the story. He sounded… well… defeated.

He told me the KPIs have increased of late, since Jam started maternity leave. The theory? She didn’t have a team of workers to manage, so now she’s managing him. He sounds tired, right? Like he needs a lie down. And a sleep in. And some time in lieu or an overtime payment or at least a HR representative to talk to or one of those free work counselling programs.

But… as an early riser and weekend-maximiser too, I’m not entirely unconvinced by the idea. So I raised it with my own funk-of-man dweller:

It was the shortest phone conversation I’ve ever had.

The full episode of Mamamia Out Loud this week is here. It’s what women are talking about this week. Come join.

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