Woman’s Boss Wants Her to Check Her Work Phone While on Vacation

In a viral post, a woman revealed that despite being on vacation, her boss wants her to check in with him every day. Read on for more details.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

We’ve all had our fair share of horrible bossesand no matter how exhausting a job is, they’ll continue to make your life a living hell. If you can’t quit, the only way out is by taking a well-deserved vacation — or at least it used to be.

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On Sept. 13, 2023, a woman wrote in to Ask a Manager and revealed that, despite being on vacation, her boss wants her to check her work phone daily and forward any and all messages to him. OK, seriously?! This has to be a joke.

Read on for all the known details, including what the internet had to say about this.

Woman using her laptop while in a swimming pool.
Source: Getty Images

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This boss wants an employee to check in every day while she’s on vacation.

“I am on vacation for a week using PTO. My work phone has been off since Saturday, and my boss has access to my work computer and email,” she explained. “He just called my personal phone at 4:58 p.m. to tell me I need to check my work phone at least once a day to forward all calls/texts/emails to him.”

The woman noted that PTO is an opportunity to “disconnect from work, and relax and recharge,” but having to check her work phone daily means she’s not “fully able to disconnect from work.” No lies detected!

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“I’ve been with the company for two years and have been thinking about moving on due to inconsistent raises across the board, being expected to be available 24/7/365, and some new internal policies,” she added. “So combined with this information that I can’t take a true vacation, it has me wanting to really put my job search plans into high gear.”

This is an absurd request, and the expert manager she came to for advice told her as much.

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Alison Green, the “manager” of Ask a Manager, told this woman that it’s “not normal” for her boss to make her check her work phone while she’s on vacation. However, there are certain situations when she might decide to do that.

“For example, if you’re in the middle of a high-profile project and the other key person working on it is in the hospital and the only way you can take this week off is if you check in periodically to handle anything urgent, you might decide that trade-off is worth it,” Alison explained. “But that shouldn’t be the default or the norm.”

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Alison said the woman’s boss could’ve easily set up automatic forwarding before she went on vacation or created an out-of-office reply that told people to contact him while she was away.

In the end, Alison told this woman that her boss truly “doesn’t care about people’s ability to have real time away from work” before suggesting that she start looking for a new job immediately.

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“Your company is deeply out of sync with professional norms, as well as just basic humanity,” she pointed out, adding that until this woman finds a new job, her “future vacations will just happen to be somewhere without reliable internet or cell service.”

Unfortunately, many people have had similar experiences.

At the time of writing, the post has racked in over 250 comments from fellow readers who were just as taken aback as Alison at the ridiculous things this woman has had to put up while on vacation.

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“This place sounds controlling and micromanaging,” someone said. “The ‘job is your life’ sort of jobs really distort your version of normal going forward. I’d try to find another job.”

Another person wrote, “Pretty sure a company which treats their employees like this would shrug and just tell you that if you can’t stay connected, you can’t take PTO.”

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“I would say that if he wants messages forwarded from the phone, I would just … leave him the phone,” a third person added. “I certainly wouldn’t take it on vacation with me!”

A fourth user agreed, writing, “Yeah. It’s work property, so you don’t want to risk losing it when you’re on vacation. Nor anyone getting hold of confidential data on the phone. Best to leave it securely in the office.”

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Others shared similar experiences and urged the woman to start looking for a new job. “I worked for a place like this for several years,” one person replied. “My advice is to get the hell out.”

A second person penned, “Run. I was in a somewhat similar position earlier this year. No set core hours, boss would message at night/while people were on their approved PTO/etc. Saw it as a hilarious quirk to always ‘forget’ to check the calendar rather than the inability to manage/flightiness on their part.”

Someone else said they “know this all too well,” adding that she and her husband “started taking cruises a couple of years ago” because it was the only way they could stop their colleagues from contacting them.

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