How to Get out of Working Overtime


Spending 40 hours a week on a job may seem like enough, but for some firms it’s never enough. If your boss is slyly sidling up to your cubicle near the end of the day, he may just be ready to pounce for some overtime. You can get out of working overtime, without guilt or lying, with the following tips.

  • Keep a running list of your weekly accomplishments. This way when a boss comes and asks for more of your time, you can quickly run down all the productive things you’ve done this week, proving your need for a rest.

  • Say no politely, and explain why it’s impossible. You have a dinner date, a doctor’s appointment or two dogs that will tear up your house if you don’t get home promptly to walk them. You can also simply say you will be much more productive in the morning if you get the proper break from work.

  • Be firm. Stick to your answer. Do not feel guilty about having a life.

  • Thank your boss for the opportunity to do more for the company, and tell him how much you enjoy working there. Also tell him you need to meet soon to rearrange your job duties so overtime is not needed in the future.

Tips & Warnings

  • Overtime may be a requirement for some jobs. Ask about it in the interview and really take that fact into consideration. Do you really want indentured servitude?
  • Some places will walk all over you and suck up your life. Be ready to fight for your life, if you want it.
  • A quote to keep in mind: “If you don’t set your priorities, somebody else will.”

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  • Photo Credit Photo by Ryn Gargulinski
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