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COB August 12, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Abbreviation, Definition.
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COB
Close of Business

“COB” is two kinds of annoying. First of all, it’s an acronym that everyone just started using, as if the great collective corporate unconscious belched it out after a power lunch. Second, it’s another way to complicate a simple concept.

But worst of all, it’s a way to make you stay at work longer.

Here’s the thing: companies are cutting budgets all over the place. If you get overtime, your boss gets in trouble, and then s/he rains the thunder down on you. You still get your money, but you might lose hours in the future to make up for it, or you’ll be “asked” not to report your overtime. You might be told you can leave early in exchange for staying an hour late to finish a project.

But instead of dealing with any of that, why not just extend the workday an hour or so past the time most businesses close? If you work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., you’re more likely to give the company extra time in the morning anyway — a lot of businesspeople have trouble waking up later in the morning, or their kids get them up and they end up with a strange pocket of time between “sending the kids to the bus stop” and “getting in the car and heading to work”. Why not be productive? Why not leave the house at 7:30 instead of 8:00, get to work, and start making headway on projects that can be done before the rest of the world — that is, management — shows up?

Yeah. Get to work at 8:30, leave at 5:30. Except that now you have to deal with things being sent to you by COB — the close of business. Thus begins the procrastination game — how close to the end of my official workday can I actually get this sent off so I don’t have to start a new project or do any actual work? The person delivering the… well, the deliverable… to you has just screwed you. They’ve gotten the thing to you by COB, but now you have to implement it before you can go home. Can you do it in half an hour, or will you be stuck working 8:30 to 6:10 just to get it done so you don’t have to deal with it tomorrow? Or, worse, is it due to start tomorrow morning and you won’t have it done if you don’t finish it tonight?

The little ways in which the corporate world slowly saps your sanity. This is just one, and it’s one of the smallest… the simple concept of COB.

(And just whose business closes at 5 or 5:30 anymore? Banks? Maybe? Or is that just the time the managers leave? No one really knows.)

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Comments»

1. who cares if it’s late? do it anyway! « corporatespeak - December 19, 2008

[…] what. And no matter what you do, you’re still going to get what you need five minutes before COB on the day it’s […]


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