“What time do you want me to start work?” That’s the question a new hire recently asked me. She looked a little startled by my reply.

“I don’t care.”

But it was the truth. I didn’t care—and I never have—what hours are kept by the people who work for me. You could say I’m the opposite of a control freak, in the sense that I have always resisted rules, for myself and for others. Why? Because once you have rules, you have to enforce them—and there’s no more tedious task in life.

I’m relaxed about timekeeping in part because I had great bosses early in my broadcasting career. They didn’t care about hours either. They trusted that, with a broadcast date in the schedule, any producer would work their socks off to make the best program on time—because that’s how you advanced your career. Nobody ever said, “Wonderful timekeeping, shame about the show!”

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