We All Know What “Voluntary” Means.

One of our listeners, James Mulcahy, sent us in this response to the discussion of the Organisation of Working Time Act that took place in episode one of our podcast.  We’ll have more articles along these lines next week.  Until then, keep sending us your thoughts.

It’s Thursday evening, the first week of January. I’m looking forward to getting home with just one more day before the weekend, when an email from my manager lands in my inbox.

“Hi all, with the upcoming annual reports, I was thinking it might be a nice idea to come in on Saturday to get a head start. Of course, it would be voluntary, but you’d be doing me a big favour.”

It’s been sent to everyone in the department and we all know what he means by “voluntary” – you won’t get paid, you won’t get time in lieu but we still expect you to come in.

My heart sinks as I watch the responses come in from my colleagues. Everyone has said they’ll come in, so there is nothing for me to do but bite the bullet and agree to do him a favour too.

What annoys me possibly even more than having to work on the weekend, is that fact that my boss always frames these requests as “favours”. When you ask me to do these things, I can’t just say no without consequence.

I know it gets noted If I refuse and I know it will come back to bite me when review time comes. My colleagues know this too and that’s why we always agree to do you these “favours”.

That’s why we always agree to give up the little free time we have without getting anything in return. We know we are being screwed, don’t try to dress it up.

Things I’d like to say to my boss:

You might be a nice guy, but we are not friends – you’re my boss. I am not “doing you a favour” when I come in on the weekend, or when I stay late.

If you want me to do something, just ask me to do it, don’t make out like we’re mates.

Most of all, stop asking me to work extra days and hours without pay.

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