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 | By Jim Berlucchi

Do I Have To Respond To After-Hours Texts From My Manager?

My manager emails and texts me after 5 p.m. and on weekends. What should be my expectation and how should I respond?

There are three virtues and one principle that relate to this dilemma. The virtues are justice, diligence and prudence. The guiding principle is the golden mean.

Justice is to give to the other what is due. With justice, the key question is: What do you owe your employer? Assuming you have standard workdays and hours, you are not required to text or email beyond those boundaries. Strictly speaking, all you owe your employer is solid work, Monday through Friday, 9-5 (for instance).

Diligence is a constant and earnest effort to accomplish whatever is undertaken. Diligere in Latin means “to love.” When we love something, we can’t help but pursue it with gusto – whether it be a hobby, work or reading FAITH magazine. Diligence tends to overflow beyond the strict obligations of justice. Kind of sounds like your boss….

Prudence is the perfected ability of right decision-making. Don’t leave your house without it. Prudence is the mental habit of sound practical judgment. Prudence thoroughly examines, intelligently decides and smartly executes. Ready, Aim, Fire!

The golden mean. The golden mean is that sweet spot between too much and too little. Says Aristotle: Everyone who is wise avoids excess and wants to find the mean. St. Thomas adds: Excess is vicious and defect worthy of reproach, but the mean receives praise and shows the right path. (Ironically, I suspect they both worked a lot of overtime!)

To find the golden mean that works for you, ponder these questions:

Justice: Am I happy with working only within my work hours, and what that might mean for my career?

Diligence: Do I love my job enough that I’m happy to be on call with my manager after hours?

Prudence: What do I really want? What does my manager expect and how do I best negotiate/resolve this issue? And what’s my strategy if a standoff?

The golden mean: What is the right balance for me – the bullseye for work/life equilibrium?

Once you’ve readied and aimed, then fire. Then, don’t look back.

Jim Berlucchi is founder of the consulting firm Cardinal Leadership.