Telling Your Boss You Won’t Keep Working After Hours

Enough is enough.

You’re already working more than 40 hours a week, and you love your job. But one day your boss asks you to stay even later, maybe because they have to and they want you to match the workload. Or perhaps they just keep piling on more responsibilities, until you have to burn the midnight oil just to keep up.

That’s not fair, and your boss is taking advantage of you. You should be able to have a personal life. If you’re ready to put an end to this, check out a few of our tips below.

  1. Ask for a Pay Increase or Promotion

If your boss expects you to work more hours for the same pay, that’s unacceptable. However, if you can handle the additional workload and would be happy to do it in exchange for a promotion or pay raise, let your boss know that’s where you stand.

Set a meeting with your boss and come prepared with a presentation that shows your worth to the company. Data that shows your extra hours are helping the company.

If your boss tries to say that this type of work is included in your job description, find the description and show them that isn’t the case. If your job description grows by a large amount, your pay should similarly increase.

  1. Set Boundaries

If you aren’t interested in additional hours (regardless of promotion or pay increase), tell your boss that you value your personal time and will not be responding to work matters after hours. Be polite and civil: tell them that you want to be the best employee you can be, and that constant working leads to stress and burnout. You work very hard during work hours and need to spend your time at home unwinding.

  1. Quit

Quitting should only be a last resort. But if your boss isn’t willing to provide a pay increase or set boundaries, it might be time to find somewhere else to work. Start the job search before quitting, and once you have a few offers, set up a meeting with your boss. Let them know that you simply can’t function at an optimal level if you’re overworking yourself, so you’ll be looking for employment elsewhere. And if they still won’t concede with you at that point? You’re free to go.

Have you ever been overworked in a job? How did you solve the problem? Let us know in the comments section below.


  1. Tracy Wood

    I enjoy, and find my life happier when I stay organized and prepared for the next day, so working a bit after closing time is a regular reality for me. I rest better when I do get home and am able to sleep best knowing my checklist has been completed. It’s the difference between a job and a career. Family time is important as well so I am not stating that “burning midnight oil” is a healthy option but staying 30-45 minutes after to wrap up something important will help the rest. If you wake up suddenly at 3:00am because you didn’t want to run through your daily checklist once more, that is not what I consider resting well anyhow. On the other hand, if you are working past business hours because a boss is putting extra on your plate, more money should be the first conversation (or promotion, more PTO, etc.). Do not ever become taken advantage of or everyone will take advantage of you and your time.

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