Boss Tells Employee That Working Overtime 'Isn't Really Optional' & Says To Change His Plans So He Can Work More

Work-life balance is always important, even when a boss demands that it's not.

man looking at his watch Ono Kosuki / Pexels

An employee wrote to Reddit to vent about a situation between him and his boss that happened a few years ago, yet was clearly still on his mind. He told his story on the subreddit r/antiwork, explaining that he worked delivering construction material at one of his boss's many stores.

One afternoon, a coworker called him to relay the news that he had to help with a delivery at a different store, past the time when his store closed. But the employee had made plans to pick his dad up from his job, so he called the store manager and told him that he had commitments.


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The head boss claimed that working overtime wasn’t optional, despite the employee’s family commitments outside of work.

When the employee said he’d made plans and couldn’t work overtime, the boss told him, “Well, during the winter, we pay you to work even though there isn’t much going on, so we expect you to work overtime occasionally. So this isn’t really optional.”

The employee explained that although winter is quieter, he still works hard — from shoveling snow to making sure everything is safe, he’s still an active employee. So, hearing his boss tell him that overtime wasn’t optional really bothered him.


boss tells employee working overtime isn't optionalPhoto: / Pexels

The boss asked the employee what he was doing so that he couldn’t work extra. While the employee realized in retrospect he should have claimed it was private information, he told his boss that he was picking his dad up from work, and they were “going to a job to do together outside of town on a family property.”

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The boss insisted that the employee check and see if his dad would let him change their plans so he could work overtime.

The employee asked the store manager if the job could be done earlier, in which case, he could have helped out. But the manager “said no, saying the customer won’t be home until a certain time. I tell him then unfortunately I can’t help, because of my commitments, and tell him I’ll tell the boss.”

He texted his boss, saying that his dad really needed his help, and that their plans couldn’t be delayed. He wrote that the boss “texted back, and said to me to take my dad home, do the delivery, then I’ll be done in an hour, and can continue doing the job with my dad. My boss also offered to help my dad with the job so I could do the delivery, because he didn’t live far away from where we were working.”

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The employee repeated himself over and over, explaining that he couldn’t work more that night because he’d made plans to help his dad.


“I’ve covered everything,” he explained. “Phoned the governing body that oversees employment, and they said I have [a] legal right to refuse overtime work unless there was a written agreement which there [was] none.”

boss tells employee working overtime isn't optionalPhoto: Tima Miroshnichenko / Pexels

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He stated, “This isn’t the first time my boss has tried to screw with my personal life. This incident was when I [started] to get my voice.”

A majority of people commenting agreed that the boss had no right to overstep his boundaries.

“It amazes me how much overreach employers think that they’re entitled to in our personal lives,” said one person. “We trade them our time [and] labor for their money. That’s where this ends.”

The employee who’d made the original post came into the comments to note that he’d begun the process of looking for a new position, hopefully one where his time outside of work would be respected.


He stood up for himself, because his life outside of work was just as important as his job was — and if his demanding boss couldn't accept that, he did the right thing in finding new employment.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers work-related issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.