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Some Bosses Don’t Understand Boundaries

, , , , , , | Working | May 3, 2022

The company that I was working for at the time had very low pay for the work we were doing. I got a new car in the first year of my employment and there was no paid vacation. As a result, I didn’t take a vacation for seven years so I could maintain my car payments.

However, in 2019, a friend of mine paid to fly my wife and me from Hawaii to Missouri for a wedding, so I put my foot down with management and told them that I would be gone. I submitted notice of the trip in May of 2018, which was seventeen months ahead of the September 2019 fly-out date.  

By the time September rolled around, I had been working not only for seven years without taking a vacation but also, recently, seven-day weeks due to the company’s inability to hold a staff together. 

Making just under eighty hours a week, I was exhausted but I had maintained constant notice to the company that I would be gone, which they approved and accepted because they knew how hard I had been working. 

The day we were to fly out, I got two texts and a phone call from my direct boss, the person just above me on the ladder. I answered the call.

Boss: “Hey, [My Name], I need timesheets for your crew. Could you submit them today or tomorrow?”

Me: *Politely* “I cannot; I am currently awaiting departure at the Honolulu International Airport, which you have been informed about several times over the last year.”

Boss: “Well, could you take a moment to put the sheets together on your laptop and send them?

Me: “I can’t. I don’t have my laptop with me.”

Boss: *Angrily* “Why not?! It is your responsibility to get timesheets to me when needed!”

This was despite the fact that I was already up to date and the next set of sheets wasn’t due for another three days, a task I had left to my assistant.

Me: “I have no intention of doing any work this trip. This is my first vacation in seven years. You have had notice of my exact flight itinerary. You need to call [Coworker], who I left in charge of my people.”

This seemed to anger him even more, but I hung up the phone.

He proceeded to text me throughout the first four days of our trip, asking me for paperwork, and asking if he could borrow members of my crew to assist a short-staffed one. He asked about emails and equipment requests, and I ignored every single one of them. 

Just before the wedding started, I blacklisted my boss’s cellphone number and office extension on my phone to stop the calls and prevent any interruptions during the ceremony.

Fast forward two weeks. I had been back for a week now. My boss called me on the company phone and he was pissed. 

I had never taken the blocks off of his phone numbers.

Boss: “Why have you been ignoring my calls and text messages?!”

These are specifically in my off time because he has still been contacting me on the work phone during my work hours daily.

Me: “I blocked you.”

Of course, this didn’t sit well with him.

Boss: “Remove the restriction so that I can contact you when I need to!”

Me: “No. My phone is my personal phone, I pay the bill, and I decide what the usage for it is. There is nothing in my contract that states that I need to be contactable twenty-four-seven and nothing stating that a personal number is required. You having my number has been a privilege, not a requirement. You have abused that privilege and subsequently lost it.”

He started to yell, but I had been prepared for this since my return since I deliberately left his number blocked. I picked up a copy of my work contract from my desk where it had been sitting since my first day back. I thumbed through it.

Me: “Do you want to read it yourself? I can scan it and send it through. From now on, you can contact me while I am at work and I have the company phone on me.” 

He was livid, mostly because I had cut him off, and apparently, he went to file a complaint with Human Resources. 

I got a phone call from the HR department only forty-five minutes later, but it wasn’t what I expected. 

HR was calling to ask if I wanted to file a complaint against him! Allegedly, he had filed a complaint for insubordination and explained the situation to them. They had told him in no uncertain terms that I had every right to block him on my personal phone and then turned around and dinged him for contacting me while I was on vacation in the first place. 

At the time, my boss and I were normally on okay terms. I was happy enough that HR had backed me up and knocked him down a few pegs, so I declined to file a complaint. 

It took a while, but eventually, things fell back into place and we started working together as we always had… kind of, sort of okay-ish.

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