Boss Accuses Worker Of Not Being A ‘Team Player’ For Saying No To An 8 AM Meeting Because He Doesn’t Start Work Until 9 AM

What part of 9-5 does his boss not understand?

worker saying no yourstockbank / Getty Images / Canva Pro

A British man's conflict with his American manager has left scores of people on TikTok rolling their eyes. The situation underlines how different work cultures are in other countries and just how wrongheaded so many bosses are, particularly as workplace mores continue to shift. 

The man's boss said he was 'not being a team player' when he refused to start his day an hour early.   

TikToker @unwedvampire's video about the spat had many American workers nodding in sympathy. It's a quintessential conflict we've all experienced at one time or another: Your boss demands you do extra work, and there's at least the unspoken agreement that you'll become a 'problem employee,' or worse, if you say no. 


But @unwedvampire's situation is particularly ridiculous: He had a valid reason for not being willing to come in an hour early. But that didn't matter to his new American boss, and the situation quickly escalated. 



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He refused to start his day at 8 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. because he had a morning class before work.

The man lives in the U.K., and his usual manager is on maternity leave. "So we've got this new American guy," he explained, "who loves to micromanage. If I'm away for five minutes, he's on my case."

Things took a turn when the manager scheduled a meeting with a client at 8 a.m. and asked the man to lead it. He responded by requesting his manager "ask someone else on the team" because he doesn't start until 9 a.m. 

But it wasn't just that @unwedvampire didn't want to start early. He had a reason for holding to his 9-5 schedule: a class each morning at 8 a.m. But like all too many Americans, his manager refused to let go of the typical U.S. work culture of putting work first, no matter what. 


"That's not being a team player, though," his boss said, adding that the man was being disrespectful of other people's time.

"I don't think you're being considerate of my time," the man quite rightly replied, going on to explain that what his boss was asking him was "a favor" that he was not available to provide.

The boss subtly threatened to fire the man for refusing the meeting and escalated the incident to HR. 

The man was left feeling backed into a corner in a way that will be familiar to all too many American workers. 

But tellingly, he had no idea what to actually do about it — probably because aside from work culture being different in other countries, they also have laws and protections for workers that would make most managers hesitant to behave this way.




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But American commenters on TikTok had seen it all before and knew exactly what to tell him when he asked for advice. They suggested he start assembling a paper trail by emailing his boss for clarifications to get everything in writing. 

In a follow-up video, the man shared how that went — in a word, poorly. Rather than reply to the email, his boss called to berate him further about "remembering his place" in the company and threatened his job once again.


American workers urged him to hold the line, document everything, and report his manager to HR.

By the end of the altercation, the man was considering relenting simply to save his job and be done with his manager's abuse, especially since he refused to discuss anything in writing. But once again, commenters who have been there and done that told him to hold the line. 

They gave him the same recommendation that many HR professionals do — get his boss on written record so that he can report him to HR and have his boss's inappropriate handling of the situation in black and white. 

"He isn’t writing it down because he knows he is in the wrong," one TikTok commenter wrote. Another recommended he "email him and CC his manager or HR" with a recap of their conversations. 



They also urged him not to fall for his boss's claims that doing him this favor "will not go unnoticed" and will pay off for him in the future. "Don't," a commenter wrote. "It will go unnoticed. He will not scratch your back. Go to HR."


The bottom line is that nobody owes it to their boss to do anything extra without extra pay, and nobody owes it to their boss to prioritize work over everything else in their lives. Studies have even shown that these demands make workers less productive anyway.

Employees are also tired of playing these games. Not only are workers burned out, but they're putting two and two together. One survey found that less than half of American workers feel like their employers care about them, which is surely part of why trends like "quiet quitting" and "acting your wage" have become so prevalent.

Work is a means to an end, and nobody owes their boss or employer any favors. The sooner American managers learn this, the better off we'll all be because workers have clearly had enough.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.