Respectfully Yours: Boss’s texting
I am a grad student with a part-time job. I recently started a second part-time job working in my field. I am excited and love the opportunity to begin working in my area of expertise. I’m several weeks into the new job and am discovering my new boss will text me at all hours. He is texting me work-related problems that I feel should be discussed in person. Is it acceptable for a boss to send text messages to you about work, outside of working hours?
Texting as a primary means of communication is an indication of what is becoming acceptable in some company cultures.
This is not necessarily the most ideal way to handle business, it’s just another twist that needs navigating in this highly technical world.
As the smartphone generation is making its way into leadership positions, texting is sadly becoming a widely accepted method of communication. Your new boss may find that texting is the best way to handle short-term issues, and is hoping he’ll get good results handling more difficult problems in the same manner.
However, there are times when a face-to-face conversation is more appropriate.
Perhaps it’s time to set some boundaries. If the number of texts outside of work hours is excessive and not for problems that are urgent, it sounds like a conversation is in order to align needs and expectations.
It’s one thing for a boss to be able to reach you, but you have a life outside of work.
One way to handle the situation with your new boss is this: Before you leave for the day, stop by the boss’s office and say, “I’m very busy this evening. If you have some ideas you want to run by me, we can meet tomorrow morning.”
You can also try responding to after-hours messages with “Got your text. I’ll reply tomorrow.” Take this opportunity to politely set boundaries while reinforcing the message that your job is important to you and you are committed to it.
A second job and paycheck does not obligate you to be trampling your other obligations outside of work, including your down time.
The key takeaway from this is that texting at all hours should be reserved only for issues that need urgent attention.
Have a question? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol. She is on the board of the National Civility Foundation.
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