Deal with a workaholic boss
Is your boss a workaholic? And if so, should you try to be one, too? Career experts Lynn Branigan and Paul Harris have some tips.
Do your job well
“Working for a workaholic boss can be tricky — I know because I used to be one,” Branigan says. “The staff wonders, ‘Are we supposed to match the hours that she does? Are we supposed to be in the office before she gets in and after she leaves?’”
Branigan is president and CEO of She Runs It, a not-for-profit organization for women in marketing and the media. She told Fast Company magazine that doing your job well is the first step towards having a good relationship with your workaholic manager. And don’t be afraid to talk to your boss about whether you are meeting her expectations.
Recruiter Paul Harris agrees that communication is key. “You may find out that your boss has absolutely no expectation that anybody in the company needs to work as hard as they do,” Harris explains. “They may be single, no kids, no pets, no plants and no outside activities.”
You could also discover that the boss’s long hours are temporary and the result of short-term deadlines. “You won’t know all this unless you ask,” comments Harris.
If you are doing good work and meeting your boss’s expectations, you can legitimately set limits to your own working hours, Branigan says. For example, you shouldn’t feel you have to respond immediately to an email you receive late at night. If you do respond, tell your boss that you will answer in more detail when you’re in the office.
If you have commitments that mean you can work only a certain number of hours or have to leave at a specific time, discuss it immediately. “The key is to get out in front of this before it gets to be a problem,” Harris says. “Address it as soon as possible.”
Clocking in, clocking out
Don’t panic if your boss comments on your schedule — when you arrive or when you leave — as long you are getting your work done and meeting your deadlines. “Let her know that you appreciate the pace she keeps, but your best productivity is achieved when your work exertion is more balanced to your life,” Branigan advises.
Too much to do: but is it all really necessary?