If you’re like most workers today, you’ve probably been running yourself ragged working overtime, trying to show your boss that you’re a team player. But, let’s be honest, is it getting you anywhere? No. So quit doing it, girlfriend. Instead, apply the following rules, taken from dating tome The Rules, to your job-related conduct. And remember: you are an employee unlike any other.
Never accept a weekend job
Sure, you need money and the IRS is on your ass and you may have a sick child, but do you really want a job where they don’t have the decency to give you advance notice? What—did something just happen last-minute and now they need someone to fill in? Is that, in fact, what they’re saying? “Glenda is sick and we need someone to fill in”? Not so fast, eager beaver. If you take that job, you send the message that you’re available for weekend work, and then suddenly you could be working all the time. Is that what you really want? So just politely slam down that phone and practice saying the following words: I am an employee unlike any other. Then continue perusing the want ads.
Never call your boss
and rarely return his calls
It will feel strange at first. “Isn’t that rude and unprofessional?” you will think. But the thing about bosses is that they love a challenge! So be challenging! We have a friend, Andrea, who would hang on her boss’s every word, really incorporating what he said into her work and trying very hard to please him. She was always tired. Once she started doing the Rules, she found she had loads of free time.
Have an egg timer with you at work
There is nothing your boss needs to say to you that can’t be said in three minutes. Spending oodles of time on the phone with him or in his office only reinforces the idea that you work for him. Does it seem right that every interaction should be on his terms? Does it make you feel good? Has it worked for you in the past? So set that egg timer, and when it goes off, no matter what your boss is saying, simply stand up, explain that you have another commitment, and walk right out of that staff meeting. Also: Use it to make eggs.
Fill up your time on the job
with non-job-related activities
Your hours at the office are a perfect time to do those things that remind you that you’re a person with a rich, fulfilling life outside of your job. So schedule a tennis date. Catch up with your girlfriend. Do your nails or drink a cup of tea. The point is to fill your time so you aren’t thinking, thinking, thinking about that job. Our friend Helen followed our advice and went on a trip to Venezuela when a project was due and, wouldn’t you know it, her boss wouldn’t leave her alone!
Be honest but mysterious
Your boss wants to know where the reports that you were supposed to have on his desk are? Be honest with him: “I don’t have them.” But, instead of full disclosure, leave a little to the imagination: “And I’m not sure why.” If he presses, be nice but firm: “I don’t feel comfortable giving them to you yet, but I’m flattered that you’re looking for them.” “Who is this wild creature who doesn’t have the reports?” he’ll be wondering. Sure, it will feel uncomfortable for you at first, but, trust us, it’ll drive him crazy. He’ll probably have to contact you every hour. You won’t be able to get rid of him!