Before yesterday, my last full day off from work was on May 13th. Between now and then, I have worked every single day in some capacity, usually 9-5 but also unusual hours on a work trip, being assigned weekend duties & also working late nights on top of my regular 9-5 hours.

Last Thursday I was given permission from both my direct managers to take today (Monday) off from work given how long it had been since I'd had a proper 2 day weekend off. I already felt guilty about the idea as I always want to be in the office helping out and completing deadlines - but I felt as if I needed the time off as all I have really been able to think about lately is work work work work - it even has been seeping into my dreams. I took this as a sign that it was time to take a break.

Now on my day off, one of my managers texted a bunch of messages to me with a kind of stressful tone about certain unfinished assignments, including some that I had only just begun on this past Thursday night & Saturday evening. It's unreasonable for them to assume I was going to spend my whole weekend (Saturday morning & Sunday) finishing projects when I have already been at work for so many consecutive days, correct? He previously hinted that I "could" finish the projects he's referring to on the same day I've started them - but I also was given no actual deadline by the department that requested them and the type of project that they are aren't typically same-day urgent.

These messages have just compounded the guilt I already had about having a day off and now I'm feeling pretty uncomfortable. My break was just, was it not? Please help alleviate my guilty feelings.

Thank you.

  • Are you being paid hourly or salaried? If salaried, when you count up your hours worked, is your pay still reasonable? Jun 11, 2018 at 19:06
  • Why does he have your personal phone number?
    – Rémi
    Jun 11, 2018 at 19:10
  • My pay is salary and when I count my regular hours up, it is reasonable enough for my position. But during the past few weeks I have been working more hours than is usually expected and we have a system for accruing time in lieu. I asked for this day off in particular under the idea that I had worked 6 extra hours on Thursday and 2 extra hours on Saturday when I would not normally. I believe there is an understanding this is part of the job, ie flexibility, but my understanding is also that it is OK to use banked in lieu hours for time off is also part of the office culture.
    – user87978
    Jun 11, 2018 at 19:14
  • I don't have a work phone and I'm happy for them to communicate with me on my personal number, that's not an issue for me usually. I don't mind that he's texted me about something on my day off, rather I am just concerned about the tone he used as it's compounding my guilt for taking a rest.
    – user87978
    Jun 11, 2018 at 19:16
  • 1
    "I wish I had worked more for my company" say no one on their deathbed ever. It's important for your emotional and physical health to take days off. As a manager, I wouldn't message my direct report on their holiday. You should set boundaries between your work and personal time to prevent burnout, but also work for understanding managers.
    – jcmack
    Jun 11, 2018 at 20:13

4 Answers 4

  1. Assuming you are on a salary, count up the number of hours you've worked (not simply those you're contracted to work, but actual hours worked) and divide it by your pay. Determine if this figure is above or below the minimum wage, and if above, how far above.

  2. Demand a raise.

  3. Next time you take a day off, turn off your phone.


Last Thursday I was given permission from both my direct managers to take today (Monday) off from work

Stop there, and stop feeling guilty. Taking time off is part of any job in any country, unless you are a slave. Your managers gave you permission, so you took your needed time off, end of story.

Personally I'd consider other job options in your area, and quickly give your notice if you find something else. It doesn't sound like you are well respected that they are giving you grief about taking this (approved) time off, and you can bet you'll never get promoted into a new role, since they don't seem like they have any sort of replacement for your current role.

  • (Specifically, before the Civil War in the United States) Slaves had Sundays off, and sometimes Saturday afternoons as well. Jun 11, 2018 at 20:19
  • If you work anything above 40 hours a week, it is your boss that should feel guilty, and you should feel guilty for working too much.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 11, 2018 at 21:42
  • @Adonalsium Would you have a reference for that? Would be extremely useful for some people.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 11, 2018 at 21:43
  • @gnasher729 reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/2i6hza/… You can find the posters citations within their posts. It's mostly books so it's not easy to link directly, eh? Jun 12, 2018 at 12:35

From what you have told us, it sounds like it was reasonable for you to take the day off, even if it doesn't sound like your day off was particularly relaxing.

I worked for a company with the same "policy." They were very proud to tell me all about it during the interview process. Unfortunately it wasn't a policy at all, and was documented nowhere in the employee handbook.

Shortly after I was hired my old boss left and with her went the whole 40 hour week idea. Ironically enough the idea came back a year or two later when the same company decided that all employees must work at least 2080 hours per year in order to receive a raise. This "policy" didn't make it into the handbook either, but it was certainly discussed come review time.

Maybe your company is different. I know I loved the idea of earning back my time after 40 hours and some companies really make it work.

Is this policy documented in the employee handbook or in your contract? If it is, the onus is on you to disconnect and relax when you are away from work. Let it go, and come back the next day refreshed and ready to get back into it. If your supervisor won't allow you to do that, it might be time to start looking for another opportunity.

  • This sounds eerily similar to my company - policy in the interview process did sound different to the reality I faced upon arrival. With that said, I do believe the in lieu system is officially in the employee policy book and I haven't had any issues with requesting time off previously. I love the system when it works, it's just a bit new to me and feels strange I suppose.
    – user87978
    Jun 11, 2018 at 19:41

Almost a month without a day off? That is close to slavery (or at least indentured servitude).

Are you salaried or hourly? If hourly you need to be collecting your overtime. If salaried then determine what you're actually earning per hour and ask for a raise.

As humans we need days to rest and recover. Even God took the 7th day off. :)

Don't feel guilty. I've done the 70+ hour 'death marches' for months on end. It affected my health. You need time away. Next time turn your phone off. I had a company in which (P)aid (T)ime (O)ff (PTO) was referred top a (P)retend Time Off.

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