I have a great manager who I really admire. She loves what she does and works 24/7. She says she doesn’t expect it of us but it feels weird to leave work when my manager is always there. I ask her if there’s anything I can do and she says I should go and “take time for myself.” Other people constantly remark on the hours she works and I feel like they are judging me for leaving. Any thoughts? — B.B., New York, NY
If you’ve asked and she’s told you to leave, then you need to take her at her word. It’s understandable that it would feel odd—after all, you want to support her work and do a good job. Recognize that for her, this is a choice. Better yet, she’s clear that it’s her choice and is letting you know she doesn’t expect you to work those hours as well.
When someone mentions her hours, say something like “It’s great that she knows she’s choosing to work 24/7. Better yet, she doesn’t judge us if we work differently.”
That statement makes it clear that you’ve discussed your schedule with her without making either your manager—or yourself—“wrong” for your choices. A note of caution, make sure you continue to check in with her regarding whether she needs your help. Circumstances might change and someone who is so used to working that intensely may not think to ask for help.
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