How do you handle that awkward moment during a job interview when your potential new boss wants to know, how deep into your free time, will you allow me to go? Texts on the weekend. Phone calls in the evening. Emails to plant seeds for you to think about over the weekend. Where do you draw the line?
Who can resist a headline like the following? “Watch out for this disturbing new trend in job interviews”
According to a recent article published on Ladders.com, employers and bosses are turning up the heat on the free time of their staff. They want you to be willing to give up even more of it.
“Are you willing to work weekends? Holidays? Through the birth of your child? Until you collapse? It’s the hot new thing in job interviews: Testing whether candidates are willing to sacrifice everything — their home lives, their families, their health — for the good of their company.” By Jane Burnett, Ladders.com
Sounds like a verbal trap to me…
And if you are offered the job and you accept it, what then? How will you successfully manage work intrusions during weekends, evenings and holidays? If you don’t allow it and others will, where does that leave you when it’s time for promotions and raises?
This difficult situation is what British people might call, “a bit of a sticky wicket”.
In the world of DramaGuru, I call it a Creepy Wally attack.
Creepy Wally at Work
Oh, boy. Someone — in an appropriate, fair and really nice tone of voice, is using an emotional warfare tactic on you. That injection of fear might make you feel sick. It will definitely keep you awake at night and distract you from feeling relaxed, during your time away from the job.
More from the Ladders.com article: Erika Nardini, CEO of Barstool Sports elaborated, “It’s not that I’m going to bug you all weekend if you work for me, but I want you to be responsive. I think about work all the time,” Nardini said. “Other people don’t have to be working all the time, but I want people who are also, always thinking [about work].”
And one more for good measure:
Ladders.com: “It was also reported recently that Vena Solutions CEO, Don Mal asks candidates if they’d ‘leave [their] family at Disneyland to do something that was really important for the company?’ He expects them to say yes.”
Obviously, there are extenuating circumstances that might require an interruption.
But to interfere with a vacation just because “that’s how we roll here at XYZ Corporation” feels like someone is taking advantage.
Fear, as a tool, works like a chisel. As in, cut or shape. And even, cheat or swindle. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between whether you’re being re-worked into a better version of yourself or a worse one.
DramaGuru Situation Analysis
Working alone, brown belts set traps that people consistently fall into and have tremendous difficulty escaping.
If your boss acts like a brown belt villain, it will be impossible for you to change your situation by yourself. You’ll need the agreement of the other people who feel abused by his or her intrusive tactics.
Banding together, you have a chance to defeat him. But you need to be sure that the next level boss agrees with you and not with your boss. If this behavior is normalized where you work, it’s unlikely that your complaints will make any difference.
Terrible Trap, Big Part of Your Life
When your boss interrupts your away-from-work time, emotionally, it feels like a frog is hopping all over you — and you can’t make it stop. Ugh!
Over time, when you make plans, you’ll wonder if you can “get away with it”. When you start keeping weekend plans secret by not sharing them with your boss…That’s when you’ll know, a snake is wrapped around your body. And it can squeeze you, anytime it wants too.
That’s a lot of trust, in a place where you have no control.
Two Positions Plus Creepy Wally Attack Means When The Boss Calls, You Squirm
Bosses who feel they have permission to interrupt your time away from work are operating from two positions: Vulture and Skunk. The combination gives all the power to your boss and none to you.
But isn’t that always the case?
Not really. Some leaders inspire employees to work extra hours and to constantly think about their work projects. Those leaders do everything in their power to avoid interrupting precious vacation time. When they have to interrupt, they do it with respect. No Creepy Wally attack. No shifting from position to position. No fear. Only clarity and transparency.
Does your boss dominate the situation by using these DramaGuru positions?
Instead of standing in neutral position, your boss slips into one or both of these aggressive positions. Acting alone, all your efforts to push back will back-fire in your face. Your boss has all the power,
Position One: Dramaguru Revelation skunk Position card number 12 – Disruptive. I create chaos and make people uncomfortable.
Position Two: Dramaguru Revelation card number 16, The Vulture – Entitled. Everyone should cater to me. Your boss believes he or she is entitled to all of your time because of the paycheck you earn.
When You Don’t Know What To Say…You Need MMA For Your Mouth
Maybe your current boss will be transferred and the next boss is more reasonable. Or maybe you’ll get promoted or transferred. If the situation is entrenched, either you move or the boss moves. Or you put on a good face and keep responding to those texts and phone calls.
Another alternative is to study the moves your boss makes. Look for a pattern. Everyone has one.
Protect What You Love: Relationships, Time and Money
Learn how to make yourself unexpectedly, unavailable using a lost or dead phone for your excuse. You might say, “No coverage in the area where I’m heading, so if you need something, tell me now.” That could backfire, of course, with the extra assignment coming in hours before you planned to leave.
Here’s another idea: Tag team when your boss interrupts you during an important I’m-not-at-work event. If you can, take turns with a co-worker being “on-call” over the weekend. If the boss sends a text to you, acknowledge it and say that your co-worker will handle the situation promptly. That’s placing a lot of trust in your co-worker, of course. But, it’s better than fuming or doing nothing except feeling victimized when the boss pings you.
Use evasive moves. Dodge and weave. Slip those verbal punches. You’ll win every now and again, but not every time. Stop frustrating yourself by trying to find a reasonable answer in an unreasonable situation.
Practice Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) for your mouth. This article is a brown belt DramaGuru lesson.