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April 03, 2008


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My current employer had asked me to work on a Saturday that was also my son's 2nd birthday party. I politely said that it was his birthday party and they had absolutely no problem excusing me from the work so I could be home.

I have seen VERY FEW situations where the work is actually that critical that someone come in on the weekend to complete it. It usually starts with the one boss that is a workaholic and does not like to be home with his wife, he looks for any excuse to work extra.

I am a personal assistant to a man who works 24/7. I'm not even sure he sleeps. There is no one else in the office who backs me up, so when I am on vacation (which I would take when he does, but he doesn't), out sick, weekends, etc., I still check my e-mail and he does occasionally call me. Because I am willing to be accessible, he has never asked me to come in on my time off. However, if he did, and I had to say no, he would be understanding, probably because he knows I would if possible.

I had a boss once who called me at home on a Saturday and demanded that I come in that very moment to help with some project "of huge importance to the company that could not wait until Monday"! On the phone I told him that I would do that on the condition that immediately afterwards he would come home with me and help me unclog my septic tank; which was a project of huge importance to my family who could not wait until Monday to flush the toilet.

He declined, so did I, and he never asked me again. LOL

Luckily, I have never had to say no in that type of situation. Even luckier, I have never had a boss that would put me in a situation like that. However, if I were, I would always choose family over work. I can work anywhere, but I can't get that time with my family back. My priorities in order of importance are family, work, everything else.

I used to have a job where customers would occasionally call in after "closing time" (7:30 ET, 4:30 PT) and need changes made "right away!"
I wasn't on the official after-hours list, but I had co-workers who were on the list call me more than once, desperate for help. If I wasn't at home, I'd tell the co-worker how long it would be until I could feasibly help them; they'd usually call someone else. If I was at home and not busy, I had no problem helping.

When my boss asked me to go onto the list and start accepting calls myself, I asked her if there would be any additional compensation (negative), and then told her no. Occasionally helping out a co-worker was fine, but I wasn't going to let myself be interrupted at home on a regular basis; it wasn't in my job description, and they weren't willing to compensate me for the additional time and inconvenience.

Thankfully, my boss took it with good grace; I honestly think that if it had been in her power, she would have made sure anyone doing after-hours work was compensated for the extra time.

My current boss thinks that everyone in the company should work 60 hours a week and only get paid salary. He's also the type of boss that wants everything his way and throws little fits constantly. This is why I'm starting a new job on the 14th =).

"My current boss thinks that everyone in the company should work 60 hours a week and only get paid salary. "

Same here, which is why I make sure that my salary adequately compensates me for this.

My husband used to worked for a company for whom he was traveling up to 90% of the time. After being sent on too many last-minute business trips, forcing him to cancel visitation weekends, he was ordered to go on one "just to make the company look good." He said no and was laid off two weeks later.

He's much happier in his new job. Of course, it took me a while to get used to having him around...

I'll work weekends, late nights, whatever when I need to but you have to have the self-respect to push back occasionally or you'll end up the office doormat. I have no issue with saying "no" and don't need to justify it.

Many times bosses test you with unreasonable demands. I had a vice president give me an assignment on my first Friday. I walked back to my office, put his request on my desk, and went home. When I arrived at work on Monday, there was a call from him. I went right over, empty handed. He asked about the assignment and I told him I would start on it this morning. He said, "I gave it to you Friday." I said, "I do not work on weekends." He did not try that again.
Set your work standards as soon as you start in a job or someone else will set them for you.

Two easy concepts: "Caller ID", and "not answering the phone".

I work retail so having a flexible schedule is very important. Nevertheless, I make sure to put my family first. I learned that having a healthy dose of work-life balance actually increases your productivity in both sides.

I work at a nuclear utility where weekend work is not uncommon and it really is a priority sometimes (ie we have 12 hours to fix this problem or we have to shut down). That said, the company will reimburse you for canceled vacations, they pay overtime for salaried employees, etc. and this is rare so its really not a big deal.

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