How to Know if Your Boss Doesn’t Value Work-Life Balance (And What to Do About It)


Picture this: It’s your daughter’s ballet recital, and you’re stuck staring at your laptop, cursing that “urgent” email your boss sent at 7 PM. Or maybe you’re sipping lukewarm coffee during the family vacation, secretly fielding work calls under the table. If this sounds familiar, you might be working for a boss who has zero respect for the magical concept known as work-life balance. But how can you be sure?

Red Flags: When Work is Everything, and Life is Optional

Let’s delve into the telltale signs of a boss who prioritizes company profits over your sanity – some overt, some sneakier.

  • “It’s 10 PM, where’s that report?” 
    • Late-night emails, weekend calls, and messages during your hard-earned time off are big red flags. Unless you’re a firefighter or an ER doctor, no spreadsheet is worth missing your life over.
  • Guilt Trips Galore: 
    • Does your boss subtly (or not so subtly) hint at your lack of “dedication” if you dare ask for a personal day or prioritize your mental health? This is classic emotional manipulation.
  • The Praise is Non-Existent: 
    • Bosses who disregard work-life balance often take your efforts for granted. If you hear crickets even after crushing a major project, your boss might see you as a workhorse, not a human.
  • The Philippines Perspective: 
    • We Filipinos love family time dearly. If your boss expects you to stay late consistently, and miss dinners or gatherings, their values might not align with the strong community focus found in Filipino culture.

“Don’t let your job become your jailer. Work to live, not live to work.”


What’s a Sane Employee to Do?

Navigating a workaholic boss requires strategy and perhaps a touch of subtle defiance. Here’s how to respond without jeopardizing your job:

Set Boundaries (with Invisible Fences):

  • Don’t respond to those after-hours emails immediately. Create clear personal “cut-off” times for work communication. And don’t feel obliged to pick up that vacation call unless the world is ending.

The Artful “Decline”:

  • A polite yet firm “Unfortunately, I have a previous commitment” instead of a lengthy explanation goes a long way. Your boss doesn’t need to know that the “commitment” is to binge-watch Netflix with ice cream.

The Subtle Counter-Strike:

  • If your boss routinely sends non-urgent work your way outside work hours, try mirroring their behavior. Maybe schedule your email blasts to them at similarly wacky times!

Speak Up, Strategically:

  • In more severe cases, a respectful sit-down about their expectations of availability could be necessary. Focus on solutions and productivity during on-hours, not about your feelings.


Your job shouldn’t own you, as tempting as that extra cash may be. A workplace that encourages burnout may also stifle your true potential in the long run. If your boss refuses to change, don’t be afraid to explore options where your professional talents, as well as your sanity, are truly valued. After all, there’s always a competitor somewhere offering the same opportunities AND the chance to have a life worth living!

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