Work Advice: Coming Back From Paternity Leave, and Negotiating Boundaries


I just lately began a brand new job at a medium-sized nonprofit. General, it has been rewarding work, amiable colleagues, good pay and advantages. However I’m more and more conscious of a “martyr culture,” wherein individuals commonly work effectively past their 40 hours, don’t take comp time they’re entitled to, work on holidays and different days off, and even work (remotely, no less than) whereas sick. The work we do isn’t life-or-death. This conduct appears to be the established order. Whereas I’ve by no means been advised I’m anticipated to commonly work additional hours, work whereas sick, and so forth., that appears to be an unstated expectation and is modeled by prime managers.

I’m a tough employee who’s completely happy to go the additional mile when it’s required, however I additionally worth a wholesome work-life steadiness. I’ve taken comp time and was not advised I couldn’t, however it was nonetheless uncomfortable, since most individuals right here don’t try this, and it was made clear to me how my absence would have an effect on others. I’ve additionally held the road about not engaged on days off, with the identical form of message despatched.

I’m undecided find out how to handle this; once I’ve raised the overall subject of wholesome steadiness with my colleagues and superiors, the response has tended to be alongside the traces of: Gee, wouldn’t that be good! Past sustaining my very own boundaries, is there something I can do?


The very best factor you are able to do is preserve your cheap and really wholesome boundaries. Many firms have these unstated cultures of overwork, however overwork is never good work. It leaves individuals disillusioned and burned out. It doesn’t make you a greater worker, probably not. It’s a disgrace that your colleagues have purchased into this concept that they should sacrifice themselves to their jobs. You might be setting an excellent instance. I can think about it should really feel precarious, doing one thing as regular as taking your personal comp time.

I used to work at NBCU and left the corporate 15 years in the past below difficult circumstances. Not too long ago, I’ve seen a number of openings at NBCU that mesh effectively with my expertise and talent set. I do know somebody in H.R. at NBCU and reached out a pair weeks in the past to inquire in regards to the opening(s), and likewise to see whether it is price my effort and time to use to positions on the firm as I may presumably be on a NER (not eligible to rehire) checklist or have some “ding” related to my title.

I’ve not heard again from my pal. This isn’t a detailed pal, however we’ve got socialized quite a few instances. I’m struggling to not name them out for not even offering a perfunctory reply. Everybody is aware of jobs are earned on benefit, however having an individual on the firm generally offers that little “push” or perception. I’m disillusioned of their lack of widespread courtesy. Am I off base to truly say one thing?

Mike, Los Angeles

Sure, you might be off base to say one thing. As you your self notice, this individual shouldn’t be a detailed pal. Socializing collectively just a few instances doesn’t imply they owe you something. I’m not clear on what you’ll name your pal out for. Not answering an e-mail shouldn’t be a social crime. And why would you go to that excessive as a substitute of merely sending a follow-up e-mail? Most individuals are drowning in e-mail and are performing inbox triage day-after-day. There may very well be any variety of causes they haven’t but responded.

If that is certainly, a pal, give them the advantage of the doubt. Perhaps they really feel awkward or uncomfortable about your inquiry. Perhaps they’re that means to get to it. Regardless, this individual shouldn’t be the impediment standing between you and a job at your earlier employer. I perceive your frustration, however there’s loads right here you must replicate on and rethink. I’m additionally curious why you assume jobs are earned on benefit. Since when?

I work for a midsize gross sales firm within the Midwest. My boss has advised me on a number of events that I’m being promoted, however when the time comes, he says he tried however administration wasn’t on board. Now he tells me it’s 60 days away, then 16 weeks, then inside a yr. He does in entrance of others, too. I’ve requested him to cease telling me that, however he doesn’t. He appears to assume it’s going to carry my spirits and make me really feel necessary, however it’s doing the alternative. He makes me really feel silly, and it feels merciless. Exterior of reporting him to H.R., do you’ve any recommendation for what I can say to him?


When you’ve advised your boss to cease and he hasn’t, I doubt there’s another mixture of phrases that can get by way of to him. In conditions like this, repetition is vital. Each time he dangles this promotion in entrance of you, remind him to cease. Remind him of how lengthy he has been doing this. Inform him what you advised me: that this conduct shouldn’t be motivating, it’s deflating. Typically, it is just listening to the reality time and again and over that will get individuals to really pay attention. Additionally, begin searching for a brand new job. You deserve higher.


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