You need to leave early for an appointment. Your boss schedules a last-minute meeting. What do you do?
Depending on the flexibility of your plans, you may be able to unpick your arrangements and stay. Other times you may just have to keep heading out the door.
Simple choice, right? But it doesn’t always seem this way. You may feel resentful when you stay, and worried when you leave. You may waste way too much time and energy wondering what your boss and co-workers think about your decision—and what they say about you when you’re not there. You may even have been told that someone else would love to have your job so you’d better do what it takes to keep it.
How do you arrange your priorities so life doesn’t get in the way of work—and vice versa?
Here are a few things to ask yourself:
- How often do these last-minute meetings come up?
- Is this meeting truly a priority? What’s the impact of waiting until tomorrow?
- Can the meeting be handled over the phone or by email?
- How easily can I reschedule my personal appointment?
- What type of boundaries and expectations do I need to set for my work and personal time?
Next, talk with your boss. Whether unplanned-for work events are rare or you find your personal time is always hijacked, this is no time to let assumptions linger. Establishing expectations on both sides, including a backup plan and options for when you can’t be present, can help you avoid this kind of work-life conflict.