I was talking with a friend recently and she began to discuss with me how her boss emails her on the weekends and this isn’t a once in a while occurrence – this is every single weekend, nonstop. As she began to describe the feelings of “job commitment” that comes over her when she taps the respond button, I began to think about how I too was in her same shoes and would answer all sorts of emails from work “on my weekends” and “days off” YES! you can say I was quite the committed employee. As someone whom wanted to always make a good impression with my boss; I later realized that I had taken on a whole lot more than I could chew.
Model employee you could say, but was that really coming across to my boss because I answered multiple emails on the weekends? Uhhh—–NO! One email answered at 10pm one night, changed my life forever. It was a night in which I had nothing to do and just happened to browse my work email (in which I had coming to my phone) and seen that my boss had emailed me to ask a question, to their surprise – I answered them back. “I wasn’t expecting you to answer this time of night?” they explained and I said “Oh, it was no problem.” While they assured me that answering emails after hours or on weekends was not necessary, I continued to do it and they soon took it as “This girl is available at all times” and used it to their advantage, not only them but multiple people after them. I had set myself up as the availability gal in which you could email at any time and get a response.
While this was fun and liberating at first, it soon became a nightmare. Suddenly I was getting emails at the most awkward times of the night or day. They usually trickled in during the time in which I was spending with family, friends or having a mental health day. What had I started!!, my life was beginning to turn into a 365, 7day a week, 24 hours a day job. I suddenly realized that I had no time for myself as I soon began going in to work on weekends, Sundays included and stay extra hours after work and to answer emails on top of all that —– My job seemed like it was becoming a never ending story. Once you put yourself out there to be the “IT” person – everything changes, including your personal life.
I abruptly decided one day to just shut down the email on my phone altogether. I also stopped going in on weekends and while I do have my current job email coming to my phone now, I only check it or respond when I feel it’s an emergency that needs to be handled right away. If not, then it can wait till Monday. You see?, I felt that if I answered emails on the weekends that it would make me a more valuable employee but what it made me was a robot. I never received any awards, recognition or cool points with the boss because I answered an email after hours or on weekends and my pay definitely didn’t change. So who was I really doing this for and why had I subjected myself to this task? Because I wanted to show my boss they could count on me – no matter what.
And while that’s all good, it wasn’t good for my health; sanity or livelihood – so something had to change and change FAST!
Do you feel obligated to answer work emails after hours or weekends? Well, if you’re feeling the pressure – Don’t worry, just take the necessary steps below:
Just Say No
Don’t get me wrong, we all work jobs in which we want to be relevant and deemed as a good employee but there has to be a line crossed somewhere. When we constantly say YES to everything our boss shoots our way, we put ourselves in position to not have feelings, a say or an opinion about anything. It’s okay to say NO sometimes. Especially if it’s going to interfere with your life outside of the workplace or office. They can’t fire you for saying NO.
Have a Conversation with the Boss
You might want to see where your boss stands on how they want you to respond to emails during your off hours and is it a requirement. Personally, I used to have a boss that would send me emails after hours but only because if they didn’t do it right away, they would forget to and working at night was sort of their down time in which they used to respond to emails. So, get your bosses opinion on what they would like you to do concerning it. You may also want to let them know that your off hours and weekends are very busy. Express the fact that if they do send an email, you may not respond until the next workday. This will let your boss know your stance on after hour emails and that they should not expect a response.
Expectations, Expectation, Expectations – Watch Out!
Ever noticed how when you do something for a person one time – they tend to take advantage of you doing it that one time and consistently come back to you again and again expecting you to do the same thing? That’s how we can become when we give of ourselves more than we should. It’s okay to be nice and kind but at the end of the day, you’re required to perform your job duties (that’s what you get paid for) anything in over excess to that can lead people to expect more from you than you’re willing to give. Only give what you can afford to give away because your time is precious.
Self-Care is the Best Care
Whether it’s concerning work or anything else that may be pressing in your life. You must take care of yourself, including your sanity. I’ve been on jobs where I’ve over exhausted myself trying to prove or show how good of an employee I was and at the end of the day, I was the one with the swollen ankles, extreme headache and body aches. I was literally stressing myself out, while I made others feel comfy, cozy. Just as your boss needs their time, so do you. You’re no good to them, the business or organization if you’re spazzed out, stressed or in the hospital. Learn to turn off your email notifications from work or just don’t answer them at all. While that may be hard to do (because it was for me) you have to realize that you’re only one person and if something happens to you; will they come to your aide? No…(yes they’ll be concerned but the job must and always will go on, whether you’re there or not)
That’s sad to say, but in reality – we only get one life, one chance and one opportunity to make the best of it as much as possible and I can think of a million things for you to do besides answering that annoying email message from you know who. Life is short my friend and those after hour/weekend emails can wait…Life, unfortunately cannot.
All images used were courtesy of Bing ~
Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager
Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!