Men's Life Today: Expert Q+A
My company just gave me a cell phone -- and I’m not happy about it. I don’t want to be expected to check email and be accessible by phone at all hours of the night, on weekends and vacations. How do I set limits or at least find out what kind of limits I’ll be able to set?
When your boss hands you a cell phone, it feels kind of like an electronic leash.
Many of the problems people have with company cell phones or BlackBerrys are self-imposed. Once they get one, they feel compelled to keep checking it for messages or emails. I coach one corporate client who comes home and locks his cell phone in his car. He checks it once before he goes to sleep. You don’t have to do something that extreme, but you get the point.
You can’t be expected to be able to answer the phone in every circumstance, unless you’re at a job that specifically pays you to be on-call -- like a doctor. If you’ve got a normal manager and not someone who’s an obsessive workaholic with no sense of boundaries, negotiate the terms. Present a plan on how often and when you’ll be available. Say, “If there are times when you’re especially going to want to get in touch with me, let me know, and I’ll keep the phone on.”
And if you do have an obsessive workaholic boss with no sense of boundaries, start polishing up your resume. You’ve got bigger problems than the cell phone.