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Your Office Coach

Is this boss an electronic stalker or just a hyperactive texter?

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Q: “When I started this job, my boss asked for my cellphone number in case of an emergency. After awhile, he began sending text messages that had nothing to do with work. Even though this seemed unprofessional, I answered to avoid offending him.

“Recently, I discovered that my inbox was full, and almost all the messages were from him. This has become really annoying, so I’d like to put a stop to it. What should I do?” Besieged

A: Without knowing the content of these “unprofessional” messages, it’s hard to tell whether your boss is an electronic stalker or just a hyperactive texter. If he simply seems to be one of those people who feel compelled to transmit their every thought, then you should be able to renegotiate the terms of your communication agreement. 

For example: “I’ve discovered that constant texting is interfering with my activities and my relationships, so I’m trying to break the habit. I’ve turned off my text alert, but you can still call my cellphone if there’s an emergency.” After that, you must immediately stop answering his messages.

If your boss protests this restriction, you might agree to check text messages occasionally and respond to any urgent work issues. This will indirectly make the point that work is the only reason for the two of you to communicate.

On the other hand, if his comments are suggestive or inappropriately personal, this could be considered sexual harassment. In that case, you should immediately talk with the appropriate person in human resources or upper management

Does your boss drive you crazy? Maybe you can find some tips here: Five Types of Difficult Bosses.

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