Confident People Don't Stick Around at the Office

woman leaving the office

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 21, 2024 at 10:58AM UTC

We know boundaries are important — in fact, they’re pivotal to separating your personal and professional lives. But sometimes, they’re difficult to enforce.

This is the predicament one Fairygodboss'er found themself in with their manager. Every day, when their workday ends, their managers, who work variable hours, call them in for a chat. 

“I am literally walking out with my handbag, lunch bag, keys in my hand, and my bosses either want to have a 15-minute conversation with me or ask me work-related questions,” they said. “My computer is switched off and I’m mentally signed out for the day.”

Other community members were quick to offer advice for making sure they’re able to get out the door. Here’s what they had to say.

Have a wind-down routine.

“I had a manager who would come to stop by during the last 30 min and ask questions for status updates or debrief of what happened that day,” one professional wrote. “I told my boss I use the last 30 minutes of my workday to wind down, put files, folders, etc. back to where they belong if I got it from a file cabinet or tidy up my desk.”

Another community member agreed. “I told [my manager] that since the last 30 minutes I usually wind down, any info or topics she discussed with me, I might forget since my mindset is preparing to leave and to have the conversation the next day. My boss stopped asking me questions during the last 30 min and left me alone.”

Be firm.

Confidence means you have to stick to your guns. That’s why it’s important to be firm about your decisions.

“I was the supervisor and got into work around 6 AM,” Carolyn Fields wrote. “This was so that I could get a jump on my work while it was quiet. Most of my direct reports started at 8 or 9 AM.  At 3 PM, I was ready to go. Several days a week, one or more of my direct reports picked 3 PM to begin a conversation or ask a question. My solution was to say, ‘Walk with me,’ as I continued toward my car. I would continue to walk and talk, loading my car and getting ready to leave. Usually, the other person lost interest in the topic once we hit the parking lot. If not, I just said, ‘I really need to leave. Let's take this up again tomorrow.’”

Lisa thought it might be helpful to put this in writing. “Send a note — do NOT apologize or make family-oriented excuses: Dear Boss — I understand that you feel a daily catch-up is needed. I am sending you an invitation for a 1/2 hour daily meeting so that we can do just that. The timing is such that any follow-ups/action items can be at least started before the end of my workday at 4 pm.”

Just leave.

Overwhelmingly, people advised just leaving without a goodbye. “This used to happen to me all the time at a previous job,” wrote Aramis Salazar Gaudet. “The answer is simple. Stop saying bye. I stopped and I would also go out of the office a different way. It may be rude but it’s also rude to make you stand there with all your belongings waiting to leave while they want to talk about work after you’re already clocked out.”

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for avoiding staying at the office or working late? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

About the Career Expert:

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.

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