my boyfriend is getting work calls on his days off

A reader writes:

My boyfriend works in the tech support department of a well-known retail office supply store (not Best Buy). Technology is not this store’s primary focus, but they sell a fair amount of computers and software. Therefore, he’s one of only three employees that knows the job. He’s also the best one they have, mostly because he’s been there the longest and is the only one who likes to tinker with technology in his spare time. He’s hourly, non-exempt, not a manager, and is scheduled just short of full-time every week.

My concern is, his coworkers (and even his managers!) will call him at home on his days off, multiple times a week, and ask him questions about pending jobs for customers. Things like, What were we supposed to do about X’s computer again? or Z wants to know when their computer is going to be ready, or What kind of software would be best for Y’s needs? But, not only is he not on-call, he is not paid for his time when answering these questions, because he is at home and not on the clock. These extracurricular Q&A sessions can take up anywhere from 5-60 minutes of his free time in a given week.

I don’t believe this practice is legal. And I’m pretty sure if the HR department found out about it, the managers could get in trouble. But I don’t know the best way for him to handle this situation. I asked him why he can’t just stop answering the phone, but he’s already been letting them do this for years. He fears if he puts his foot down about it, he might piss off his manager. Even if he doesn’t get fired, it would make him less likely to get off on days he wants off, or various other intangibles.

What should he do?

Well, first, does he care? There isn’t actually anything in your letter stating that your boyfriend minds the calls, only that you do. If that’s the case, then this falls under the Not Yours To Meddle In category. You’ve got to let people manage their own work lives and decide what they do and don’t care about, and that’s particularly true in relationships. For the sake of this answer, I’m going to assume that he does indeed want to put a stop to calls (or get paid for them), but make sure you’re being honest with yourself about that before you proceed.

You’re right that non-exempt employees need to get paid for all time they spend on work things, including taking calls from home.

It’s possible that his manager doesn’t realize how often his coworkers or calling him — or that they’re calling him at all. If his manager thinks she’s the only one calling him, she might think it all adds up to only a few minutes a week and doesn’t realize that’s it’s a more significant chunk of time than that.

It’s also possible/likely that his manager doesn’t understand the rules about non-exempt workers needing to get paid for any and all work time, including stuff like this, and needs HR to explain it.

In any case, your boyfriend has a few options:

1. Start tracking the time, and ask his manager or HR how to best report it once he’s back in the office. This will probably either put a stop to the calls, or will get him paid for them.

2. Stop answering his phone when he sees these calls coming in. If he generally makes himself available, he’s training his coworkers that calling him is an effective option. If he stops answering them, it’s likely that they’ll eventually try something else. And if you think about it, by not using this option previously, and instead continuing to answer these calls for years, he’s conveyed that the status quo is fine with him.

3. Ask people to stop calling him on his days off. This is a more direct version of #2.

Now, your boyfriend is afraid that if he draws some boundaries, he’ll anger his manager and face consequences at work. Does he have any reason to believe that? This is the type of thing that people often worry about without actually having any reason to worry about it. Has he seen this kind of behavior from his manager before? Or is it just a general fear, because he’s not comfortable asserting himself at work?

If it’s just a general fear and he doesn’t have any evidence to back it up, I’d urge him not to be governed by that worry. All three of the options above are entirely reasonable ones, and while certainly anything could trigger an unreasonable manager, most managers aren’t going to flip out over any of these three things.

If, on the other hand, he does have real reason to fear his manager, then he should probably go with option #2. Simply not answering these calls is a more passive approach that doesn’t involve any direct statements, and doesn’t give an unreasonable manager much to be angry about. (Unless the manager is willing to directly tell him that he needs to be available for calls on his day off, which is fairly unlikely … and frankly, if it happened, would surface the issue in a way that might end up being helpful.)

But I hope he’ll do #1 or #3, because they’re both reasonable and they both center around him politely asserting himself, which is generally a good idea when people are feeling taken advantage of.

{ 55 comments… read them below }

  1. Ashley*

    Also, does your BF keep a log of projects, status, communication with customer, ETA, etc? If not, a simple spreadsheet with all these details accessible to his coworkers might help.

    1. Ash*

      Yeah, it’s really surprising that there isn’t already some sort of tracking system (or even a simple paper note system) for these jobs at his job. I wouldn’t want to work for a place that wasn’t smart enough to have some sort of system like that in place.

      1. A Bug!*

        I agree that the problem is less that the boyfriend’s getting calls outside of work hours, and more that there’s apparently no method of tracking the status of projects other than “Oh, Other Guy was dealing with that, he’s the one to ask.” Solving the latter will solve the former, or at the very least give the boyfriend lots of room to say “It’s in the project log” for every single call.

        It doesn’t have to be super complicated. Customer service can have a sheet listing all the “active” projects and where they are being kept, and then on the project itself a sheet can be taped to it. Then, whenever a person stops working on a particular project for the time being, they just jot down the status of the project, any ETA’s, any “to-do’s” or “waiting ons”, so that literally anybody – particularly customer services – can glance at it and have all the information they need.

        This is something I do with my own work, even though I don’t share my job with anybody else. When I put a file away, if there’s any part of it I didn’t complete for any reason, I clip a post-it to the top of the file so that in the event someone does have to cover for me, they can tell what’s needs doing without having to sit down and review the whole file.

        1. Steph*

          This is great advice. Shame on the management staff for not implementing this earlier- but this will be easy enough for your BF to implement (and save him a lot of off the clock Q&A).

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Excellent advice. I’m going to implement this.

          For my old job, I created an SOP manual so anyone could cover any aspect of my job for me if I was out. If they needed to answer the phone, ship something, or make labels for samples, all the info was there. I referred colleagues to it a couple of times when I was out sick or on vacation. Putting it together helped me learn my job, too.

          1. Rana*

            Yes. Procedural guides are one of the things I am really good at making. I figure they’re partly for my coworkers, but also for me, especially if they involve repeat projects that happen annually, and the like. I can’t trust myself to remember the procedures a year later, so documentation is essential.

    2. Waiting Patiently*

      Yep, I thought most place kept communication logs esp for stuff like this. Agreeing with everyone else, and when I had become the go to person for the “how do you do that?” I would write it out in layman terms. I can’t be bother too much on my day off unless it’s to divert a major emergency.

  2. Yuu*

    I agree with Ashley – if the info is being tracked he can answer, “check the spreadsheet” and call is done.

    I think his bigger worry is not that he will get fired, but that it will effect the way his managers look at him in the future when it comes time to promote/raise/be a reference.

  3. Goobledigook*

    I would have assumed based on his not speaking up because he fears angering his manager, that he does care about the calls but that’s my reading of it.

    If the frequency of these calls is actually affecting the OP’s relationship with her boyfriend (for example, they are out for dinner and keep getting interrupted by these calls) then I would have to say, at that point it does become the OP’s business a little bit. Obviously it’s not her place to meddle in any way with his workplace, but she does get a say in her communication with her boyfriend about it. I can say from firsthand experience of dating a guy who took work calls on his off-hours constantly, that it can affect your relationship and be very frustrating when you know he does not want to take the calls but is afraid to do anything about it.

    I really like options 1 and 3 OP. You cannot guarantee your boyfriend will address this, but at least if he receives some sound options, he might feel more confident about doing so.

    1. Goobledigook*

      Also, a side-effect of your giving him these tips on how to address it is that it will show him how much it bothers you. You can see a lot based on how he reacts to that.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      One possibility I’d pictured was the OP’s boyfriend saying he didn’t want to anger his manager, more to end the conversation than because he really feared that. I’m obviously not saying that’s definitely the case — it’s absolutely possible that the boyfriend very much wants to figure out how to handle these calls — but it occurred to me as a possibility, since I’ve seen similar things happen between people. (OP, if that’s not the case here, please excuse the speculation!)

      I agree that it becomes the OP’s business when their time together keeps getting interrupted by these calls, but I think I’d say that she should address the fact of the interruptions more than tell her boyfriend how to handle them. (The interruptions that affect her are her business; the details of how he manages his work life are not.)

      1. Goobledigook*

        Agreed! That’s actually what I was eluding to by saying that how he reacts based on knowing it bothers the OP says a lot. It will most likely tell her if he’s saying he fears bringing it up with his work more to end the conversation than because it genuinely does.

        Again, all speculation and my apologies as well, OP if I am way off the mark :-)

  4. AdAgencyChick*

    I like option 2, honestly, and not just because I hate confrontation (although I do). It’s because, in my experience, asking someone to stop a behavior they’re used to rarely works as well as simply making the behavior not have the desired effect. You ask them to stop, they may get annoyed at you or they may respond reasonably, but very likely by the next time a situation comes up, they’ve forgotten your request and whooops! the phone starts ringing again.

    You don’t answer the phone, then the caller is forced to figure it out. Best case scenario, the caller figures it out and isn’t upset about having to figure it out without help. Maybe not, and the caller complains to OP’s boyfriend next time they’re in the store together, at which point OP’s BF can say, “What? It was my day off.” Worst case, caller complains to OP’s BF’s boss. If it’s a reasonable boss, the boss will say, “What were you doing calling him on his day off?” If not, the boss confronts BF, at which point BF can pursue option #1 (“Well, boss, I’m happy to answer the phone when I’m not in, but let’s figure out how to get that on my timesheet”).

    Call me a cynic, but I find that people return over and over to the easiest method that works for them, regardless of whether or not that method is considerate of other people. But once the easiest method stops working, then they turn to the next easiest method. So IMO the key to not being walked on is to not BE the easiest method!

    1. -X-*

      This sort of passivity in communications really annoys me. If you don’t want something to happen, tell the other person. As an adult, I think we have a responsibility to be clear to our co-workers and other people. Speak up for yourself.

      Then you can ALSO stop answering the phone. But it’s lame to not be willing to speak up for yourself about something reasonable.

      Now, if there is some reason to not speak up other than vague worries (manager might get mad, might hurt morale, etc) I can understand being quiet (though just not answering the might provoke the same sort of “problems”….). But otherwise, speak up for yourself. Make it a habit.

      And note, I’m not arguing about which method (speaking up or stopping answering the phone) works best. I’m saying in life, speak up. Tell people what you want and don’t want.

  5. Eric*

    I worked in retail for a long time and actually had a very similar job for a while. I know when a customer is on the other line or in your face asking when their computer is going to be ready for pickup that it sucks not having a good answer. It sounds like a lot of the calls might be similar to this scenario.

    If so, I think the boyfriend has a responsibility to his co-workers to devise a way to communicate this information without having to resort to a phone call.

    In my case, we had a folder for each customer and an electronic log that indicated status so anyone could check the status of a customer unit without having to speak to the technician actually working on it.

    With that said, he should certainly be paid for time spent on the phone dealing with work situations, that’s part of being a non-exempt employee.

    1. Ash*

      “If so, I think the boyfriend has a responsibility…”

      No he does not. It is not his fault that his co-workers aren’t paying attention to project, or can’t read notes, or can’t function without him. He shouldn’t have to hold their hands just to get them to leave him alone.

      1. Eric*

        I’m making an assumption that he is doing repairs and upgrades on customer computers so if that isn’t the case I could be wrong.

        These projects are usually handled by a single technician so it’s not unusual that his co-workers aren’t aware of the details of a job unless he is leaving good notes or they have some other way of communicating status information. The point that I was trying to make is that he has a responsibility to make sure that he is communicating the status to his co-workers in whatever fashion they have agreed on. If he isn’t and a customer is at the desk asking when their computer will be ready, what are they supposed to do?

        1. VintageLydia*

          This was my husband’s pet peeve in a similar role. He was the only one who used the established documentation system, bit everyone else did not. He’d STILL get calls because the counter people never even looked at the documentation for the status (sense they were so used to other techs not leaving it.) He didn’t mind calls clarifying anything, but status updates really got his ire.

  6. PEBCAK*

    One thing I noticed is that there are two types of questions being asked here. Stuff like “what software is best for Y’s needs?” does, indeed, require some level of expertise, and I could see why they are calling the person they believe to be the expert. It’s not okay, but it’s reasonable.

    HOWEVER…things like “when will X’s computer be ready?” are an entirely different sort of thing. Getting questions like this on a day off imply some type of process failure, that there is not documentation or other tools for continuity among different employees who may be working different shifts. I would argue that this type of thing could be raised with the manager in a very different manner, something like “Hey, I’m getting a lot of questions about pending orders when I am off the clock. Is there a better way I could document them while I’m at work so other employees don’t need to track me down?”

    This type of language makes it really about what he can do to help his team, as opposed to how he can put a stop to the annoyance.

    1. A Bug!*

      Stuff like “What software is best for Y’s needs” should be met with “Carl’s really the expert on that, but he’s off until Tuesday. If you can’t wait until then I’d be happy to help you go over the specs and features of the software we have so you can select one yourself.”

      But that would require marginally competent people in this role and given that even managers are making these calls, I don’t have a great deal of faith that’s the case.

      1. PEBCAK*

        Well, I think the real way to deal with the root cause is to train more people so Carl is not the only expert. That’s a much more substantial investment of time and management resources, though.

  7. Jamie*

    I worked retail for years at a very large, well-known big-box store (not Wal-Mart) and HR would have set us on fire if we didn’t account for any and all work-related texts or phone calls that occurred outside of our regular shifts. I’d be surprised if his company didn’t have the same kind of policy in place. I think his managers are either not well-informed of the policy or they’re taking advantage because they know it’s something they can get away with. I’m not a lawyer but I believe it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  8. Mike C.*

    I have a really difficult time believing that the manager of a large retail outlet doesn’t understand labor laws about hourly employees. Given the past history of places like this, I suggest not giving this particular workplace the benefit of the doubt, log all time spent on work outside of work and get ready for a chat with HR.

    By the way, this fear of manager angry over hours worked is really, really common at places like these. It’s a great way for employers to deny full time benefits to employees and under count employee budgets. Don’t stand for this crap.

      1. Jamie*

        Very true. I had a user ask me for remote access once, so he could check his work email on his off hours and be available for questions if needed.

        When I ran this by his manager I explicitly stated that it’s different because he is non-exempt and if they want to allow this there needs to be a way of tracking his time so he gets paid.

        There was some confusion (not on my end) about whether it’s required if we aren’t asking him to do this and it’s of his own volition. I pointed out the verbiage from the DOL regs that leaves us on the hook whether we require or allow. If I granted him access we are allowing it.

        Fortunately HR backed me up so it was a short conversation. But a lot of people don’t know that this applies to phone calls, checking email, answering “quick” questions, etc. That’s by no means universal knowledge.

      2. Mike C.*

        I’m still suspicious but I’ll take your word for it.

        I makes me wonder, given the issues some managers have with telecommuting, if there isn’t some belief that if you aren’t at your workplace, then there’s no possible way you could be doing work.

    1. VintageLydia*

      It wouldn’t surprise me at all if store-level management doesn’t know. MAYBE the general manager, but department managers are usually promoted into those roles and get absolutely no training when it comes to this sort of thing.

    1. SevenSixOne*

      PREACH. I get so annoyed at these letters that are some variant of “my guy has a problem with X at work, what should he do?” Your partner is the one having the problem, not you. Let him write to the advice columnist, IF that is what he wants to do.

  9. mel*

    Hmm if he really has been there the longest and is their best, I would assume he would have a pretty safe place to “assert” himself. Managers are usually pretty accommodating to their best, aren’t they?

  10. Anonymous*

    What happens if work calls you on your day off and they ask you to come in because they have had several people call out? Do you need to be paid for that conversation? (I know the boss has to record and track his time when someone texts him on his cell phone. Does it work the other way too, when the boss calls their employees?)

    What about when they email out the weekly schedule, they add several paragraphs on things like current promotions and contests at work, reminding people of various procedures, etc. rather than just an email saying “here is the schedule.” As an employee, do you need to be paid for this time as well, because they are discussing work-related matters in this email?

    I’m just curious.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Great question, and I’m not sure. My hunch is that no, it doesn’t count — unless it for some reason turns into a longer conversation. But I could be wrong about that and I’d love to know for sure.

      (I can tell you from a practical standpoint that demanding to be paid for 2 minutes for a scheduling call is unlikely to do much for your standing at work, but that’s a separate issue.)

      1. Jamie*

        Don’t most companies pay to the whatever minute for hourly people?

        Per the department of labor: “A6: As noted in 29 C.F.R. § 785.48(b), for enforcement purposes, the payment of wages based on recording and computing time to the nearest five minutes, or the nearest one tenth or quarter of an hour, will be accepted provided that it is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a period of time, in failure to compensate the employees properly for all the time they have actually worked. See Wage and Hour Opinion Letter November 7, 1994 (copy enclosed); see also Field Operation Handbook § 30a02(b).”

        What I’ve typically seen is that work is rounded in 15 minute increments.

        1. KellyK*

          So it sounds to me like, as long as time is rounded to the *nearest* quarter-hour (or smaller unit), then you wouldn’t have to be paid unless you work 7.5 minutes (or half of whatever unit is used).

          As far as the practical side of things, personally, I would probably ask to be paid for an off-the-clock call once it passed 15 or 20 minutes, unless the calls were a constant thing. (If I’m getting 10-minute calls every day, that adds up to real money in a hurry. If it’s once every two weeks to go over scheduling, or two minutes here and five minutes there when someone calls in, no big deal.)

          For the email, I would think it depends on whether you’re expected to read those extra paragraphs outside of work hours, in addition to how long it takes to get through them.

          1. Jamie*

            That’s exactly it. Now, we don’t allow non-exempt people to work off the clock including email and calls – but even shift work and back when I was temping treated the time this way.

            If I work 7 hours and 55 minutes or 8 hours and 5 minutes I’m paid for 8 hours. If I work 8 hours and 7 minutes (we don’t do half minutes – we round up at 7) I am paid for 8 hours 15 minutes. It isn’t exact, but when you look at the actual times before rounding it’s amazing how it does even out.

            So to extend that to this situation if over the course of a pay period you “worked” and extra four minutes by reading work related email attached to your schedule it wouldn’t be processed through payroll. I can say in re the OP’s boyfriend that there is no such thing as a less than 7 minute tech support call in my experience…:)

          2. Lynn*

            We’re paid hourly, and bill to our clients in 15-minute increments. This is how we do it, round to the nearest 15 minutes, so if you’re spending less than 7.5 minutes on the phone on your off day, don’t log it.

  11. Dana*

    I get the sense that the OP’s boyfriend likes being called at home otherwise he would have instituted a system to communicate the necessary information while he’s not working. Being needed in that way and that often creates a sense of importance in the work place, and with it a false sense of security. If I were in the boyfriends shoes I would pitch to my manager how I could solve these communication issues if I was a full time role (I’m assuming this is wanted since the OP mentioned he’s scheduled short of full time every week) This problem could be an opportunity for advancement.

    1. Runon*

      I didn’t see anything in the email that gave that impression but I know that this can be a common occurance. If they need me for all these things then I’m irreplaceable and can’t be fired. This isn’t a great way to be promoted or held onto though. I do think at this point it would fall into not your business.

      1. Lynn*

        It’s somewhat outside the scope of AAM, but if the calls are really disruptive to their personal lives, it is her business for that reason.

        1. Ask a Manager*

          His being distracted while they’re together, yes, but not telling how to handle his work life unless he asks for advice.

          1. Anonymous*

            Yep, it sure is her business and she should take the bull by the horns, sweep into his ‘office, and give them a right bollocking for ruining her freetime.

  12. Helene*

    I work in a similar position but in a small family business.
    Ad I agree with previous comments. There are two different questions here.
    “What kind of software do you need for Y” is a legitimate questions. And if your bf is the “expert” then I can see why they would call him. If it is an issue, he might want to ask them to get a hold of him in a different manner (IE e-mail or text).
    When it comes to his ongoing repairs, there really should be a system in place to track progress and know where he is at. We use a specific software here, as well as post-its. And as the manager, it is an essential part of my job to know what every body else is working on. Shouldn’t his manager do the same?
    I was also wondering if everyone else in his department gets calls or if it is only him.
    He should let his colleague / manager know that he does not wish to be contacted during his spare time, and how they can find the info they need. After that, stop answering the phone..
    As for his fear of getting fired, if he needs to answer the phone as part of his job, then his manager will likely let him know before he is fired.
    Good luck

  13. Anonymous*

    Yes, it’s unfair to get called on your days off, but in my experience it’s not uncommon for tech support to be unofficially on-call on their days off. It’s an unfair par for the course. However, there’s a more interesting development here. With the exception of Allison, it appears most posters think it’s the OP’s place to regulate her boyfriend’s days off. It’s evident most posters ‘feel her pain’, that is, of not having her boyfriend’s attention on his days off. If he’s so bothered by it, why didn’t he write into this blog himself? Does he know you’ve unilaterally sought to solve his problem.

    For sure, without a doubt, had a man written in to seek advice on solving his girlfriend’s work situation, this blog would’ve blown up with all sorts of charges of sexism, abuse, control, etc, etc and to some degree they might’ve had a point. But here, silence, as everyone digs in deep to solve ‘his’ alleged problem.

    1. Anonymous*

      nah I think I would have given him the same benefit of the doubt as I’m giving this OP. For that matter, how do we know it isn’t a man writing in for his boyfriend? Food for thought.

  14. Not So NewReader*

    Having known a few techies, I tend to think they enjoy being called in the off hours. Any number of reasons for the enjoyment, so I’ll skip that part. But these techie jobs seem to be a 24/7 thing but get paid for a 40 hour week, no matter how much work is handled at home.

    OP, based on years of watching this stuff, this is probably never going to change. I don’t believe any one person is at fault here, there are many people adding to this problem.

    Assuming your BF wants to change things, my suggestion is to go to the boss and say something like this: “Boss, for the x years that I have worked here, I have tried to be a good guy by answering questions over the phone during my off hours. Well, this started out fine. But now it has gotten out of hand as I am receiving X number of calls per day. I do not mind helping out in a real pinch. But I have gotten calls while I am in the shower, in the dentist chair and even at a funeral. [Fill in with your own real life examples.] What do you think we can do to get a handle on this? I am willing to help but I also have things at home that I need to take care of.”

    What I like about this approach is that it puts your BF in a good place, he is trying to be a good guy. It gives the boss the opportunity to have some control on how this shakes out. It might work….

  15. OP here*

    Hey, thanks for posting my question! My boyfriend has expressed annoyance at these extra-curricular calls, because he’s not getting paid for the time. If he WERE, the extra hour a week (some weeks) would bump him up to full-time–meaning better benefits eligibility. While the calls have interrupted us on dates a couple of times, if he were getting paid (and if it didn’t bother him) I wouldn’t mind at all. These calls also use his cell phone minutes, which are neither tracked nor reimbursed.

    This boss is known for being a passive-aggressive jerk. And my boyfriend is definitely conflict-avoidant in the workplace. I don’t know if he will ever speak up about this, but it’s good to know that, if he were to do so, the law is on his side. I’d support him in either case, because I know how uncomfortable it can be to speak up.

    I also think that keeping a simple spreadsheet would be a fantastic idea. Unfortunately, his manager intentionally shorts their weekly schedule… they’re spread too thin as it is. Even if it would only take an extra 3 minutes per customer to do this kind of standard documentation, that would be an extra 1-2 hours of work a day. It’s not going to happen. :(

    1. Runon*

      In that case and because if I’m right about the company they are notoriously retaliatory I’d return the calls about an hour later, let them leave a voicemail, return the call at the next convienent time. And start looking for a new job. A company that goes out of its way to short employees hours and then actually make them work as a dodge is not one worth staying at.

    2. Anonymous*

      Ugh I feel his pain. One of the first jobs I ever worked at they intentionally shorted hours as a way of avoiding giving people health benefits and allowing them to be part of the Union like the workers who had worked there forever were. It’s such a slimy thing to do.

      Good luck to him and to you with everything. Let us know how this works out! :-)

  16. Richard*

    On reading some of the other comments dealing with some companies don’t allow all calls to someone who is off work is true, some larger companies frown on any calls to anyone unless they are a manager or a salary paid employee, this is also correct with smaller companies. The said thing out there is though there are companies who really don’t care because they think that since you work for them that they own you whether you are on or off the clock. I have worked for companies like that as well as companies that would bend over backwards to make sure you got time off to spend with your family. But the companies that all calling you or more specific the managers and employees calling you about the job on your day off, unless you are willing to either try and work with the company and letting them know that you will be on call for them but that they will need to pay you for your time or unless you start recording the calls and then present that to the manager or HR on what they are going to pay your for your time, the HR department as well as the company is going to tell you that you need to quit answering the calls coming from work and they will talk to the employees and managers of the store (which by they way could cause friction both with the employees and the manager after corporate gets done talking to them) or if you continue to answer the calls, then it is all on your time and they will pay you nothing for your time since you choose to talk with the employees and managers and the company will like that knowing they are gettting FREE HOURS from you.

  17. Wife With Same Problem*

    Oh wow, I could have written this letter! I think my husband works for the same company that the OP works for, and he’s their indispensable tech guy.
    We get daily calls from people working the tech bench with him, usually asking what’s going on with an open tech job, and sometimes long detailed calls to walk the other tech bench people through how to use some of the programs. This company apparently has no way to track the tech orders in detail, no log book or spreadsheet, and no time between shift changes to discuss open tech orders.
    On top of that, almost every day he has off involves them calling him to come in and work. I don’t mind, I really don’t, if they want to schedule him for more time, but the constant disruption to our life is wrecking our marriage. Every time the phone rings I shout “no” before he picks it up.
    Either he’s reluctant to complain to management because he fears retaliation, or he’s discussed it with management and they haven’t taken his complaints seriously enough. We weren’t aware that he should be getting paid for these work calls, the only time he’s been compensated is when a co-worker purchased more cell phone time for him out of their own pocket. Like the OP we’re on pay as you go cell phone time, and it’s costing us huge.
    I’m emailing him a link to this article, and we’ll be keeping a log of incoming calls and call lengths from here on out.

  18. OP here again*

    Hey, I just wanted to follow up and say the calls have stopped, although not because my boyfriend spoke up. They managed to hire another competent tech guy and generally schedule things so that one of them is there all the time. But the calls have stopped, my boyfriend is happy, and that’s all that matters.

    Thanks again AAM. You provide the best advice!

  19. Goldenwolf*

    I went through the exact same thing at staples. I used to sit on my days off on the phone and reading texts and emails from co workers. I was the only one with the know how on working the tech department. But they wanted everyone involved, meaning when they didnt know something they would call me. Eventually I got fed up with it, and turned in a nice 2 week notice. Even once i was gone i received calls for 2 weeks, of course I would answer and say I was not available to assist them. Eventually the calls stopped. I say have your bf give more info before he leaves the store daily so the other employees have info to give out on eta’s etc. Also to ask other employees to limit calls unless an emergency with a angry customer. I have seen it all at staples. And to be honest, I would not not dare get my pc worked on at staples best buy etc. All they do is over charge you and invade your privacy. I have seen it all. And when i tried to adjust policies to keep data private I would just get a disciplinary action.

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