Ask Amanda:

How do I deal with a manager who works around the clock?

My manager has no life outside of work and is constantly sending texts and emails, and is phoning outside of work hours. How do I deal with this? J.S., Philadelphia, PA

I understand your frustration and would first caution you about judging your manager’s behavior and assuming that s/he “has no life.” Whether or not it’s true, it’s not your business. Judging takes your energy and provides no upside. Your judgment is also apparent to others—and most likely also felt by your manager—whether you’ve actually said anything directly or not. Any way you look at it, you lose.

If you’ve been responding to these messages outside of work hours, you’re going to have to retrain your manager and manage his/her expectations along the way. Start by deciding what is acceptable to you. Let’s say you decide that 7pm is the end of your work day. You’ll need to be disciplined about not responding to anyone in the workplace after 7pm, even if you think “it will only take a minute.” Go ahead and read messages if you must but do not respond until the next day.

Be prepared for push back. If you are asked why you did not respond immediately, say something like “I turn off after 7 unless there’s a specific project that needs attention after hours.” Don’t over explain. You don’t owe anyone a rationale for why you are not working 24/7.

You must use your judgment with this strategy, particularly at the beginning. If you see a message and it truly is urgent, call the person (avoid email—it documents and perpetuates the behavior you’re trying to change), acknowledge that you understand they have an urgent need and confirm that this is true. If it’s not, then tell them you’ll get back to them first thing in the morning. If it is urgent, respond.

If your manager has overtly requested 24/7 availability, you’ll need to have a direct conversation. Start by reiterating your commitment to your work. Mention that you are concerned that your thinking may be getting stale given your “always on” mentality. Since research shows quite clearly that giving your brain a thinking break makes you much more effective and efficient, you’re going to switch up how you’re working outside of office hours. You’ll be available for urgent matters but other than that you’re going to focus your problem solving during work hours to see how it affects your deliverables. If there’s push back, stay firm and say you want to experiment with this approach. Tell him/her you’ll check in at week 2 to see how it’s working. Keep track of how your thinking has changed during those weeks and be sure to share your “wins” at your meeting.

Moving forward, you must be consistent in your behavior. You can’t respond to some people (your friends, for instance) and not others at your job. We all train others how to treat us and consistency helps them understand how to best interact with us.

If you're wondering why corporations act as they do or would like advice on how to navigate the corporate landscape, please Ask Amanda and submit your question here.

You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from “Our Corporate Life®,” a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. Copyright © MMXVIII Amanda Mitchell and Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life ( to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company,, and She lives in New Jersey with her family.

Corporate Driver: Perspective

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Taking Control of Your Career® Bootcamp Content Overview

Our Bootcamp is designed to get you back to feeling like yourself fast. To avoid overwhelm, we cover critical topics sequentially so you can make small changes quickly and experience immediate results.

1. New Beginnings

We start by creating a clear picture of your desired outcome and showing how feeling stuck can benefit you. You’ll also learn how to increase your physical and mental energy and a quick (less than 5 minutes!), easy way to improve your mood.

2. Setting Yourself Up For Success

It’s easier to succeed when your environment completely supports you. You’ll learn how to easily analyze yours and bring it into alignment. We’ll also cover techniques for viewing your work situation in a neutral, productive way–allowing you to move within it effortlessly.

3. Values & Standards

Values impact your behaviors, decisions, relationships and direction in life. Yet your values are often not aligned with your workplace. Standards are what we honor because we believe they will lead us to our goals. Logically you’d think high standards would result in a superior result but just the opposite often occurs. In this session we’ll cover how to maintain your standards when they’re not shared and how to stay true to yourself without making it an issue for others.

4. How Your Best Intentions Work Against You

If you’re like most achievers, you welcome and thrive on responsibility. Sometimes, however, your life can feel like one long “to do” list leaving little time to figure out what is working – or not – in your life. We’ll cover how to retrain your teammates, how to redefine your role and the concept of “responsibility without authority” – having one without the other makes success impossible.

5. Core Beliefs

Understanding how personal beliefs drive behavior is critical to freeing you from feeling trapped. This is a deeply personal and important aspect necessary to move into action. You’ll learn how to uncover the core belief that is out of alignment and the 5 step process you can use to replace it.

6. Who is in Control of Your Life?

Control is like catnip to high achievers – we all want it. But surprisingly few exercise control in the one area where they actually have it. This cycle of relentlessly trying to get control over an uncontrollable situation is exhausting and self–defeating. Resetting expectations so you can focus on fulfilling activities will provide the energy you need to regain your perspective and take action.

7. Setting Boundaries

If you’re surrounded by those who constantly violate your boundaries it will create conflict, drama and drain your energy. When you set and maintain appropriate boundaries you will experience an almost immediate reduction of stress. We will review the 5–step boundary setting process; discuss how to hold the line without alienating others or compromising your standards, and the implications of not being able to say “no”.

8. The Path Forward

Your work each session will have helped you uncover your personal traps and provided strategies for overcoming them. We’ll do a quick review and focus on how to use your strategic plan so you’ll never get in this situation again. We’ll also review how to appropriately take responsibility, how to manage workplace expectations and perceptions and the best habits for self–management when “overwhelm” strikes again – as it inevitably will.