“My Boss Won’t Stop Texting Me After Hours!”


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Welcome to Dr. Aaron Turner’s “Mailbag” series, in which the Spark contributor, licensed therapist, and clarity of mind expert for One Thought answers reader-submitted questions about the issues vexing them at work and at home.

This week, we launch with a question from a reader whose having a hard time getting her boss to stop texting her during non-work hours.

Watch below as Turner answers this question by first asking ‘Mixed Messages’ to accept what her boss is doing, and her frustration around it, instead of upsetting herself by ruminating on it. This, Turner specifies, is not the same as accepting behavior from others that doesn’t work for you. Simply, that you have to re-orient yourself to how you relate to it, to decrease the risk of upsetting or stressing yourself out even more.

Dear Aaron, 
I work in a demanding job with a boss I’m on friendly terms but who has a hard time with boundaries. She frequently texts me  — including at night and on the weekends — with rapid-fire blasts of information and questions she expects replies to. It’s usually work-related (though sometimes it’s not), but it feels overwhelming, and I often miss things or forget to reply, especially if it’s a busy Saturday afternoon with my kids. This fills me with anxiety. It’s only gotten worse with the pandemic, as all of our usual one-on-ones have become virtual. I’ve told her that texting is not a way I prefer to work — that I’d rather have her make requests of me over one platform, like Slack, or email, instead of a little of both, plus texts. She’ll heed my requests for two days, then always go back to texting. I built my career working long hours and weekends, but I’d like to move on from that grinding style of work now that I’m older and higher up in my industry. I feel burnt out and resentful that she can’t listen to my wishes. How do I have a talk with her about not contacting me this way that’s not massively awkward? I don’t know what else to do. 
Mixed Messages 

Have a question for Aaron? Email [email protected]. You’ll be kept anonymous.