Background: Time flexibility in a company is very important to me. In my case, I am a person that has no troubles in waking up earlier, so I made clear in my interview if it was going to be a problem if I could start working earlier, and leave earlier. The CEO (which I knew beforehand and have a good relationship with) had no problem with that during the interview.

I started working (it was a workspace, so the office was a small room for 4 people) at 8 and left at 17. Most of the time I was by myself, sometimes with the project manager and another colleague) without problems. So most of the times I had lunch in 5 minutes from my lunch box and kept working, so as not to waste time and leave earlier as the relationship and atmosphere was not going to get "that kind of friendly, just professional".

The issue: The other colleague had no problem at all with me and my timings, as my job was always done and I put the effort, but the manager always came later (ergo, left later). So sometimes the manager would come at 11, but expect me to leave when he was leaving. I stayed 1-2 hours extra almost every day. Sometimes the manager was very subtle (him making comments when I started packing up or adding last minute tasks that were indeed not short) but sometimes direct as well "oh you are leaving early?" (I would always say I started at 8 but, deaf ears it seems.). I even got his late texts some days, and worked home (some days at 22h). After a few weeks, I had a doctor's appointment at 17:30, which was outside my working time, and still my manager asked me for the medical proof to bring it on the next day (in some countries it is compulsory for the doctor to sign the document to demonstrate you really went to the doctor and you didn't slack off). That really angered me (specially because he did not know the kind of doctor, and even that can be sensible information) and I told the CEO. He told me not to worry about the manager, that he is just a very demanding person but is happy with my work and wants me to keep learning.

This is in the past but, how to handle something similar if it happens again (especially if you do not have a lot of working experience)? The first thing I would do is to communicate with HR, but in this case it is a very small company where HR was done by the CEO.


The company had time flexibility, so I started at some hour I could choose (8am) and my manager 2-3-4 hours later. He "expected" me to stay longer every day, sent me texts (with new tasks or checks) outside work hours (even 21-22 sometimes) like "work on this so tomorrow we are ahead." He even asked me for a medical proof of a doctor's appointment even though the appointment was not only outside my working hours but that day I was already staying a bit longer.

  • 4
    Why do people even know you had a doctors appointment outside working hours?
    – Kilisi
    Jan 15, 2021 at 15:08
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    @Kilisi: OP stated that the manager expects OP to only leave when the manager himself leaves; if the manager starts late, then they leave late, and thus 17:30 might still be when the manager is at work, thus expecting OP to be there as well (even though it's both outside of the usual working hours and after OP having done a full day of work by starting early)
    – Flater
    Jan 15, 2021 at 15:26
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    Indeed, it was "outside" of it. Precisely because of that. I packed to go to the doctor. Was asked "are you already leaving" followed by "bring the doctor's sign tomorrow" @Kilisi
    – M.K
    Jan 15, 2021 at 15:31
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    Nope! This company was giving it to me! By words of the CEO! @JoeStrazzere
    – M.K
    Jan 15, 2021 at 16:57

3 Answers 3


He told me not to worry about the manager

The CEO has already given you the right answer. Just keep doing what you're doing and don't let the managers rubbish impact on your morale.

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    I still have this feeling (because my working experience is very low) that even though the CEO is telling me that, who is actually WORKING with me is my manager. And I feel like "he knows I don't have a lot of experience so he knows I will not complain about it"
    – M.K
    Jan 16, 2021 at 9:39
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    Some managers are just like that, might be a power trip, might be his idea of humour, might be anything. Nothing magical about being a manager, they're humans Some are absolute &^$%# people. In your case he's obviously just picking on you because he can.... best to ignore it and keep your back covered.
    – Kilisi
    Jan 16, 2021 at 9:42
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    The root problem is in 2 parts. One part is the manager. The second part is how you deal with the manager. If he wants stuff at the end of today the answer is: I'll get to it first thing in the morning. Not to do it right then and there. If he has a problem with that, then that's a discussion that you can have with HR/the CEO. "Hey CEO, manager is bugging me to work extra even though I'm leaving for the day. When I said no he complained." Then you'll get the real answer. Does the CEO want you to work and shut up. Or does he actually care. If he cares he will be on your side, not the managers. Jun 1, 2023 at 13:37

how to handle something similar if it happens again?

The first time it happens you do what you did and casually mention back that you start/leave earlier.

The second time it happens you take your manager aside privately for a frank conversation that looks like this:

Hey [Manager]

That's the second time you've made a comment implying I'm leaving earlier than I should be. I agreed with [CEO] when I was hired that my hours would be from 8am - 5pm. So when you see me leaving around then, that's why.

Please don't make a comment like that again.

The point is to immediately and firmly establish boundaries and expectations which head off all kinds of future confrontation.

Either it was an honest misunderstanding, in which case you've cleared it up. Or they're the kind of manager who will bully you unless you stand up to them, which this also does. Either way you've stopped it from happening again, or created a good position to escalate it if it does.

The same thing applies to getting texts/calls outside of work hours. Depending on your situation you can either ignore it, and have the boundaries conversation the next day if they bring it up.

Or you can text back and say that it's outside of work hours, so unless it's an emergency it will have to wait until you're back in the office tomorrow.

  • Good answer, but consider: This could be interpreted as confrontation, especially by a manager who is power tripping and/or playing mind games. I still think it's a good idea, as it seems OP has good rapport with the CEO, so this would serve to show limits to the manager's power. All of that said: Keep in mind that this will very likely lead to politics, and be prepared. I for one think it's good and necessary from the brief description of the situation, hence my upvote, but strongly suspect this wouldn't be the end of the manager's shenanigans.
    – bytepusher
    Jun 8, 2023 at 19:23

Do not worry, you are right.

If you're competent enough to complete your work within the time and leave, that does not give any right to your manager (or whoever else for that matter), to assign you with more work once you are done. IANAL, but asking to work or communicating regarding work without seeking permission first, outside work hour maybe illegal in certain places.

That said, your question has all signs of lack of proper tracking / project management tool. Without one being in place, the manager get to assign more (read, extra) work and efforts are not tracked properly.

Use a tool, where proper work can be allocated and achievements / completion can be tracked. As long as this is visible to all, your efforts are recorded and registered and any extra work being "dumped" on you or anybody, will stand out.

Note: A personal advice, you can read the work-related messages outside office, but do not respond. Reply only when you resume work on next day.

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