This paper offers an ethnographic account of tensions around time that arose at a small nonprofit offering employment-assistance programs for newly arrived Iraqi refugees in a large American city. Iraqi refugees have been subjected to multiple interventions, each of which put them on a strict timeline for results. Their experience gives rise to critical insights into the abstract, managerial representations of time that coordinate each of these successive programs. Staff responded to these concerns by attempting to correct clients’ expectations about the future, but this effort remained bound to the same temporal standard and therefore produced further frustrations on the part of clients. Meanwhile, the one employee who attempted to implement an alternative project ended up being disciplined by her employer for misusing time on the job. Tracing this dynamic of tension, conflict, and reconfiguration across multiple standpoints, the paper demonstrates how humanitarian work unfolds through the same contradictions between abstract and concrete forms of time that characterizes commodity-directed labor under the capitalist mode of production as a whole. This finding complicates theoretical models of political subjectivity that have hitherto informed anthropological critiques of humanitarianism and points to abstract social time as a specifically capitalist mechanism of power at work.