A long time ago in a land far away, I took a temp job because I didn't want to go hungry from the lack of hours on a project I had. It was a unique job because it was task-based instead of time-based. Each day you'd get a list of tasks that added up to around 7-1/2 hours (each task having a time value assigned to it). The problem was that the time values were almost always wrong. Most of them in a good way. One of your tasks might have 2 hours assigned to it, but actually only take 30 minutes to complete. The up-side to this was that they didn't care how much time you spent at the office so long as you got your task-list done. If you could show up and finish everything in an hour, you could go home and still get credit for a full eight hours.
Pretty nifty, huh?
One day a co-worker was heading out and said "I'll be ten minutes late coming back from lunch." It was a totally unnecessary statement, since there were no "hours" to keep track of... just tasks. Nobody cared how long a lunch hour you took. They only cared that you finished your tasks. I assumed somebody was going to be looking for him after lunch or something, but that wasn't the case. The guy was new and wasn't used to how things worked.
But... that wasn't the end of it.
From then on, any time somebody left the office for whatever reason, they'd announce that they'd be coming back late, even though there was no earthly reason to do so.
"I'll be fifteen minutes late coming back from break!"
"I'll be thirty minutes late coming back from lunch!
"I'll be an hour late coming back from HR!
Pretty soon it became a contest as to who could be the most "late" coming back to the office. After a couple weeks, it got pretty crazy. Finally, one guy came in, distributed his tasks to friends, announced "I'll be eight hours late coming back from the copy room...
He, of course, got paid for those eight hours because his task list got finished and that's the only thing that mattered to his employers.
It may sound crazy, but it was a results-driven workplace which is actually kind of refreshing. Sure the example I'm using is flawed because the tasks weren't attributed the correct time values... but, other than that, I think it's a great system in theory. You get a reasonable set of goals and then get paid for achieving those goals, regardless of how much time it takes. If you are an efficient, productive worker, you are rewarded with a short work-day. If you are an unproductive, inefficient worker, you have a long work-day ahead of you.
But that's not how the real world works. Well, that's not totally true. Some jobs are paid on commission or by assignment, which is kind of the same thing. But it doesn't seem as though that's how most 9-to-5 jobs work. Fast, efficient workers are just given more work to fill out their eight hours. Slow, inefficient workers put in just enough effort to not get fired.
And why do I care? Why am I rambling on about the past and whining about unfair work hours for efficient, productive workers like myself?
BECAUSE, ZOMFG!, PORTAL 2 IS AVAILABLE FOR EARLY-SALE DOWNLOAD NOW!! AND ALL I WANT IS TO SPEND AS MUCH OF MY TIME AS POSSIBLE PLAYING IT!
How badly do I want to show up to work tomorrow, announce that I'll be thirty-two hours late coming back from the supply closet, and then spend the rest of the week playing Portal 2?
So bad that I don't dare buy a copy tonight.
I've been waiting over two years for this day. I shouldn't be bothered over waiting a few more weeks.
But I am. I am.