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I’ll start first. I’m so protective of my holidays and this year I’ve had someone disrupt my holiday everyday via WhatsApp. This is why I hate texting rather than email. WhatsApp needs to set an OOO. Anyway on Monday when I got back from Amsterdam, I set a firm boundary. Didn’t get the response I wanted but I can be proud of me and my response! ❤️

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Mar 31, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

I work hard to provide for my family, but I hold time with my toddler, L, as absolutely sacred. So whenever a work event coincides with anything that's got to do with him, I will let go of anything work-related each time. Whether it's when I have to pick him up from school, PTA, his birthday (frankly even the preparations leading up to it!), or just when he's telling me about what he's built or drawn or is thinking about—I'll always choose him, even if that means I'm seen as less of an exemplar employee. I'd rather be a stellar mother (I try anyway!) and be as present for L as I can. I'll definitely remember moments with him more than any meeting or work conversation!

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I've twice been in situations where my workload has been ridiculously unreasonable and I've been able to sit down with my bosses with evidence, say it's not okay and if something didn't change that I was prepared to leave. Both times things did change, one of them they even agreed I was doing the job of two people & hired someone else... and that's even though in both situations I burst into tears at some point during the meetings! It's not my career any more, but I am still proud of myself for dealing with it the way I did back then.

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Mar 31, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

It’s a relatively simple one but starting at my start time and finishing at my finish time (except in very exceptional circumstances). I used to stay late in my old job as standard thinking it would be recognised that I was going above and beyond. It wasn’t. When the time came for my appraisal I was told I wasn’t getting a raise or moved up to the next level despite the fact I did more work than my colleagues already being paid at the next level. From that point on I only worked my hours and started looking for another job. I have only stayed a bit late on a handful of days in my new job and I’ve now been working there for almost 2 years and I’m working for an organisation that recognises how hard I work.

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Mar 31, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

I told my team that they weren't to contact me on my personal phone or outside of my work hours. When they did, I held my boundary and ignored the message until I was next in work. I reinforced it by saying I didn't contact them and ask them to do their work out of hours and them contacting me was the equivalent. They now understand that and use other work channels when I'm not in. My job is manager, but outside of that I need that time to just be me.

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Mar 31, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

I "moved out" last week. My husband and me were working from home together from the start of Covid and frankly it annoyed me big time. I used to love working from home On My Own, but we got into the habit of keeping each other from working by insisting conversations should be had during office hours. So, since last week around 9am I transfer to my parents house, who so far respect my boundaries and leave me alone in this separate room, and I move back when I'm done working and it feels like a workation, so good, so much focus, so much less stress! And home is home again. Thanks Michelle for hosting this! Have a great weekend everyone.

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Mar 31, 2023·edited Mar 31, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

A colleague has the habit of checking everybody else's schedule and making comments on their (pseudo) lack of workload (when she obviously has too much time on her hand for doing that). I've been annoyed at this for some time but not saying anything. That was until she touched my schedule when I wasn't there. I told her to not do that again as I am responsible of my own schedule. She did it again by shortening the length of a past consult I had with a patient by half an hour (?!), probably thinking I wouldn't see it. She has been sick at home this week so couln't have a chat about it but I went ahead and asked maintenance to block her access to my schedule from now on. Another colleague is now thinking of doing it too as she has done that before to others.

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I'm recovering from an major autistic burn-out that's going to limit my working hours permanently. My manager still prefers me to work two days of the week at the office, but I asked for flexibility on those days, because there are so many things that influence how well I can work there (e.g. energy, comfortable in day clothes or not, how easy (or not) the commute is, the weather, the amount of people in the office and the amount of meetings happening there, etc). Now I can leave after half a day and finish at home and don't have to ask permission all the time. And today - due to the time change of last weekend - I have an at-home-in-my-pyamas-day. Still feel guilty for doing so (like I'm abusing the accommodations they give me), but did it anyway. One day not being able to wear regular pants will be a good enough reason for me to work from home to not feel that guilt 🤭

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Mar 31, 2023·edited Mar 31, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

It took a while to convince my team but as the company claims to be “flexible” they ended up agreeing on “meeting times” between 10am and 5pm to allow people to start earlier or later as they want. I’m not a morning person so I don’t take meetings before 10am. Of course, I will make exceptions if needed but only if they stay exceptions. People are of course free to schedule 1:1s outside these times if both of them work before 10 or after 6pm. And we also agreed on “no meeting fridays” to give us one day to really focus on getting work done, though I am more flexible with that one than the 10am rule.

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Mar 31, 2023Liked by Michelle Elman

My boyfriend and I started working on a prject together recently. Boy, do we have different ideas about how and when to work! I set the boundary with him that I don't want to hear about our project all the time, so I will let him know when I "sign off" and get into chill mode. If he really needs to tell me something then he should start with "Can I ask you something about the project?".

Was quite an unpleasant fight but now he communicates more around the project in general instead of just throwing random thoughts at me any time of the day.

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My work boundary is to not work. I'm unable to work. Accepting that rather than forcing myself to is a really difficult boundary that i still struggle with. People love to tell me it to find a job and disrespect my own lived experience so I have to be firm now and explain I just cannot do that and that doesn't make me lazy or less of a human being. Even saying this i still have those stigmas in my head sometimes. As i have lots of hobbies people like to try and push me to monetize those hobbies without acknowledging how difficult and unviable that would actually be. Before I would listen to these voices but now I have tried to start hobbies again without the idea that they need to make money.

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This is amazing, I’m so stoked about reading everyone’s replies! I set my firmest work boundary to date by asking for a flexible working arrangement from my employer. Throughout the last few months, I worked a lot of extra hours and struggled to make use of them because of my perceived ‘need’ to always be ‘on’ with work. I built up the courage to ask for what I want (& deserve), and I’ve started my new schedule this week.

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I was asked to act up in a senior role for a year while someone was on maternity leave. It’s expected in my current role that I would want this/do this.

It came down to simply that I don’t want to do the job, not that I couldn’t but that I didn’t want to.

I’m happy in my current role and I don’t need the additional stress and pressure that the new role would bring me.

If I wouldn’t apply for the job normally why was I just accepting that I had to do it?

I told my boss I didn’t want the job and I was prepared to go elsewhere if not taking on the role wasn’t an option for me.

Turns out it is.

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I’ve learnt the hard way that boundaries at work are sooo important! I now work in a company that’s truly flexible but I’m finding it hard to encourage the young team to set their own boundaries - they’ll check messages on holiday “just in case”. Trying to slowly nudge them and be a role model but I’d love to hear from people who have struggled to set boundaries themselves and how I could support young women better!

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I tend to reply to messages as soon as I get them. Because of that I often get distracted from what I'm doing and it takes me more time to complete the task. Now I try to focus on what I have to do and take sheduled breaks for replying to messages. I also put my phone on an airplane mode when I want some peace and quiet- especially when I am off the clock and my co-workers are blowing off my phone.

The funny thing that helped me to stick with that boundary in dating life- my friend told me that when I text back a guy I fancy the second I get the text everytime, he can think I have no better thing to do, I have no life on my own and I rely on him for entertaiment. That really shifted my mindset!

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I genuinely love my job but I recently had to tell my boss that if she insists on micromanaging my time, I’m going to have no choice but to find somewhere else. She took it really well and we’re adjusting how we share information so that I’m being supported and she gets the minimum amount of data she needs to report to her bosses.

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I sometimes work overtime and used to just shrug it off snd not get paid. Now I write it down and use these hours when I have appointments for me or my daughter instead of using my vacation days.

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Last year I had surgery, but my employer saw it as cosmetic instead of a medical surgery. They proposed me to take a few days of sick leave plus vacation days. In the end I sent HR an e-mail saying I don't agree and I would take sick leave as long as I needed. I also knew I legally had more ground to stand on than my employer. In that e-mail I did give a longer explanation (even though I didn't need to), because I've always had a good relationship with my employer. I enjoy working there and instead of coming from: "But I'm right and they are wrong" I did try to work this through coming from cooperation. In the end, I took 2 weeks of sick leave and HR never responded to my e-mail. What I do regret is that I think I should have taken an extra week of sick leave, but in the end I did recover and when I started working again I was able to work from home.

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My big win at the moment is that I have decided to leave the company I’ve been working with for 7 years now at the end of May, regardless of whether I’ve found a new job by then or not. For the past few months I thought I’d only leave when I’ve found something different, but I haven’t had the energy to really do the whole job hunting at night while working during the day.

There are a lot of reasons, mainly that the pay at my company is really bad even though our boss somehow thinks she’s paying us well (she’s not, objectively seen compared to just about any other company), and also that I feel really underappreciated by our boss, even though at the moment I’m playing a really essential role. So I have decided to set two boundaries, one being that if she decides to keep treating me this way, she can look for someone else to do this work for the amount shr pays, and the other one is with myself, and that is to actually just quit, even if it does feel scary. I know in my heart that I can find something different that will definitely pay better. I will really miss my colleagues, because they mostly are absolutely wonderful, but that’s just the way it is.

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