For some people, work is the first thing they think of in the morning and the last before falling asleep.
And that’s how they like it.
CNN recently published an article about how to handle a workaholic boss and more than 100 readers weighed in. Some wrote about the bosses they worked for, and some admitted that they are the culprits.
“Oh no. I just realized that I am a workaholic boss … Fortunately I have an amazing team that puts up with me and does an outstanding job,” wrote Kimberly Lacey, chief anti-money-laundering officer at a regional bank in Ohio.
“I am on all the time. It sounds bad, but it’s really not,” she said in an interview with CNN. “I have the coolest job in the entire world. It’s really exciting, challenging and meaningful work that I absolutely love.”
But just because your boss works 24/7, it doesn’t mean they expect you to. Here’s what these bosses want you to know.
I understand you have other commitments
Lacey said she has been known for calling a 5:00 pm meeting, but she’s understanding of prior commitments.
Her work-life schedule is more flexible now that her kids are older, but she remembers the demands of trying to manage working full time as an attorney in a private practice and being a mom to young kids.
“I am at a stage where this is enjoyable, but it wasn’t always like this,” she recalled. “It was horrible because I felt no matter where I was, I wasn’t doing a good job.”
Those memories have stuck with her and she tries to work around out-of-office scheduling conflicts.
I feel added pressure
For John Bowers, the CEO of UK-based autonomous vehicle tech company JCC Bowers, being the boss means not only executing a vision, but also supporting a team of people who are relying on him for a paycheck.
But being at the helm can also be lonely.
“From a personal and social perspective, I often cancel events/gatherings and forgo stuff on the personal side to ensure that I am working and addressing items that need my attention, need focus, direction and whatnot,” Bowers said.
“It is equally isolating in the sense that I am the captain — I go down with the ship as it were, when the going gets tough, and it does, I take responsibility for rectifying it and ensuring the morale and resolve of the team is as high as it can be. And that itself takes its toll but, who wants to work in a business where the CEO ‘rolls-over’ every time a barrier is placed in our path?”
I don’t expect you to run at my pace
When Lou Galterio hires a new employee, he is very blunt with his advice: Don’t try to keep up with me.
He launched SunCoast RHIO in 2013, which helps streamline the insurance claims process for health care providers that invoice the federal government.
Working 10- to 12-hour days during the week is typical for him, and work is often interwoven with his personal life when he has to take client calls.
“It takes people a while to learn how to do a good job, and I have lost quite a few good people because they’ve tried to keep up with me and they would feel guilty.”
There will be times when I’ll need you to work beyond 9-5
Deadlines have to be met and sometimes working late or on the weekends is unavoidable.
“If we have a true crisis and we need you here, then you have to be here,” said Lacey. “But my definition of a true crisis is narrow.”
She said she works with her team to accommodate personal commitments, but said the flexibility should go both ways.
“To the extent we can be accommodating, that is the right thing to do, but by the same token, if I call you on a weekend and I really need something from you, then I expect you to help me the same way I helped you.”
I don’t need you to be at your desk all the time
Where you work isn’t really important to some bosses, even if they practically live at the office.
“I am not going to dictate that you need to be nailed to your chair from 8:00 to 6:00, but we have things that need to get done and on time,” said Lacey. “I always say you can work from midnight on the moon as long as you are delivering.”
I don’t always expect a response off hours
Bowers spends some time on the weekends getting ready for the week ahead, which means he occasionally sends emails out to employees. But he isn’t always expecting a response before Monday.
“I have to remind team members to have a life,” he said. “Just because it’s something I choose to do with my life, it doesn’t mean it has to be a reflection of everyone around me.”
Being in the office 24/7 doesn’t impress me
Spending long hours at the office doesn’t always impress those in charge.
“I hold people who produce quality [work] in higher regard,” said Lacey. “If you are here 20 hours a day and you produce a subpar product, you will probably be happier doing something else. “
I worry if you are working too hard
Repeated late nights in the office. Emails being sent at all hours. These are all red flags to Galterio that an employee might be working too hard and could be at risk of burnout.
“They don’t own the company,” he said. “When I see these things, I tell them you need to slow down and not worry about it.”