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I've seen a few similar questions asked, but they don't seem to address my particular situation:

My boss occasionally calls my personal phone (mobile) after work hours on Fridays, usually between 5:30 and 7:30pm. This means that I'm either driving home or have just gotten home (or elsewhere) and so I nearly always miss it. My boss only seems to call about non-critical and/or non-immediate things (e.g., office furniture will need to be moved in the next month, new computers might be delayed, etc.). I would call him back immediately, but it's sometimes quite late and he has very young kids and I don't want to wake them up and/or disturb his family.

I'm still a junior developer and while I don't have many critical responsibilities, I also don't want to seem inattentive. Is it appropriate to respond to my boss's calls by email (possibly giving a short re-cap of the message he left on my phone)? Or should I call him directly? Or should I just wait until Monday before responding?


Edit: Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone! Since a couple people had thought the topic was a bit odd for a software developer, I just wanted to say that my boss and I have (I think) a pretty good relationship and he just wants to "keep me in the loop". E.g., we had a lot of old office furniture replaced and he wanted to let me know that my set-up was going to be changing. Might seem like overkill to some, but as long as we all get along and get good work done, I'm happy.

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    If you're a software developer, why is he calling you off-hours about moving furniture? – alroc May 7 '17 at 1:00
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    "I would call him back immediately" - wow he really has you where he wants you. – Armada May 8 '17 at 12:06
  • Short answer to the question in the title: Not [until Monday]. Don't encourage his behaviour. – AllTheKingsHorses May 9 '17 at 14:19
  • The answer is unambiguously to wait until office hours to respond. I wouldn't even listen to his messages until next time I was in the office, personally. – Jonathon Cowley-Thom May 9 '17 at 14:43
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Some of this is the personal preference of your boss, but email is totally appropriate. Also waiting until Monday could be appropriate, but since he called I would take the email approach and let him know if he asks that you don't want to disrupt his family by calling back later. He might be just calling you to keep something in mind by sharing so you can remind him next week too...and email should suffice for that.

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    Good answer. The only thing I can add is to not call back right away, intentionally.unless you're actually "on call" (which you're not). People shouldn't expect you to be at your immediate call unless they're paying for that and need to be "trained". I personally wouldn't wait until Monday but wait a few hours and reply by email with a simple acknowledgement so he knows you got the message and then deal with it when you get in. That's just me though. – Chris E May 6 '17 at 23:49
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I partially agree with the other replies, but I would like to add something.

You should systematically and programmatically not return any communication until Monday. Your time off is your time off, the company shouldn't invade it. You are a junior developer so you might have limited working experience; you should aim to have a good life-working balance, and replying to your boss out of hours for non-urgent things could affect it on the long run (just think of when you will have a family and he will bother you).

This is true in every working environment; you have to mark your personal space and keep it separate from the company. If the boss asks you why you didn't reply on Friday, just day you had already finished for that day, and the issue was not business critical.

Your boss may have a different view about the work, but at the end your relation with your workplace is regulated by your contact, which says from what time to what time you should work, not by his beliefs.

Furthermore, you are a developer, and you should be judged by the quality of your code not by what you do in your spare time.

The sooner you establish a line/border, the sooner he will understand it.

(Of course if you are on call, just phone him back as soon as possible; if he does not want to be call back for non urgent things, he will tell you for sure)

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    +1 The boss needs to understand boundaries. Email outside of working hours may be fine since you can just not check your email, but calls are disruptive and he should be told, in a nice way, not to do it unless it's really important. – JohnSomeone May 7 '17 at 9:25
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It's a personal preference thing. Personally, I am a 24-hour kind of person, so I will respond by email as soon as I receive a message. Waiting until first thing the next business day is fine, too.

The boss is not necessarily expecting you to drop everything and start working on a problem at 2am in the morning. He just has the item on his mind, so he is just letting you know as soon as he thinks of it.

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This looks like your boss is considering on these times, what issues are still open and then calls you to get these items off his to do list. Maybe he's on his way home and now has the time to make a few phone calls.

If these calls are clearly outside your work hours, I would just ask him, if it's OK that you answer these non important questions on Monday. I assume that you see, if such a call is urgent or not.

  • Care to explain the down vote? – Simon May 7 '17 at 17:51

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