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Woman Balks After Coworker Asks Her To Stay Late At Work So She Can Go To Daughter’s Recital

Two professionally dressed woman are in a tense conversation
Nicolas McComber/Getty Images

Personal time is important for everybody.

As many have learned over the last several years, personal time away from work is especially essential.

But many co-workers and managers still like to try and steal a little from others.

Especially from people without kids.

Case in point…

Redditor RoadTrip6 wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for telling my coworker that my solo picnic is as important as her daughter’s recital?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (29 F[emale]) started working at a new company 8 months ago.”

“I was headhunted specifically for the role I have, which gave me enough power to negotiate my contract like I wanted.”

“One of the things I managed to get was a clause that prohibited my employer from contacting me outside work hours.”

“If it is a true emergency, then they can send me an email.”

“Otherwise, they can’t even send me a text.”

“Furthermore, I have a separate work phone that I shut down at 5 on the dot, then turn on at 9 am.”

“Another thing is that I don’t work O[ver]T[time].”

“I am very efficient, so my work is done by 3 pm, or 5 pm if we have an emergency.”

“I also take my whole lunch break outside the office, and my coffee breaks away from my desk.”

“My coworkers are not the same, they tend to socialize during work hours and have work left for afterward.”

“They sometimes ask me to ‘help,’ but I always decline by saying that I have plans.”

“I won’t go into details, I just say that I have plans.”

“These plans 99% of the time just include going home, reading books, or sleeping.”

“But that is my personal time.”

“Monday, a coworker asked me if I could stay a bit later to help her out, apparently, she was late with some essential work, but had to be done by that night because she had to attend her daughter’s recital at 6.”

“I said that I was sorry, but that I had plans.”

“It was a nice day, so instead of going home, I just went to a park to read while breathing some fresh air.”

“Brought some fruit and bubble tea, and made a picnic out of it.”

“My coworker found me there, and she was pissed.”

“She said that I could have helped her if I didn’t have plans.”

“I said that I do have plans, this impromptu picnic.”

“She said that it wasn’t as important as her daughter’s recital.”

“So I said that for me, it was even more important than her daughter’s recital.”

“She called me an AH, and some of my friends agreed.”

“So AITA?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“I mean… you’re living 10000% in the black-and-white definition of your job responsibilities.”

“If you’re asking if you are wrong for refusing to change your boundaries, you’re NTA.”

“If you’re asking if I would like working with you – also probably no, but I don’t think that will keep you up at night.”  ~ Major_Barnacle_2212

“I have a feeling that op has chosen to be this way for a reason.”

“The expression ‘give an inch and they’ll take a mile’ is incredibly relevant in the workforce these days, especially in America.”

“I didn’t notice if OP mentioned where they live.”

“Work-life balance has gotten so out of control that the phrase ‘quiet quitting’ is being used by managers to describe DOING ONLY YOUR JOB.”

“Somehow, it is now the worker’s job to work more than they’ve agreed to for the same amount of pay as a minimum requirement? No.”

“And sorry, but childfree folks get thrown under the bus and treated as less than those with children.”

“All the time.”

“We are expected to work more holidays, stay late so parents can pick up their kids, cover sick days, and the like because our lives are treated less seriously than those who have chosen to procreate.”

“Good on op for not allowing that crap.”

“It may seem harsh, and yes as a former preschool teacher, I do love to advocate for helping one another.

“That being said NTA.” ~ witchywoman713

“I had very much the same attitude as OP until my mom changed my outlook.”

“I was asking her why she was taking on extra work to help out a colleague with a personal issue, basically saying ‘That’s not your problem.'”

“And she pointed out that years ago when her partner had cancer and she was dealing with chemo and end of life prep and all that sh*t, her colleagues had always helped her out when she needed it.”

“I don’t think work colleagues should have to help each other out all the time or anything, but I do think it’s good to pay some kindness forward.”

“You never know when you will really need help.” ~ Kaia455

“To you. Choosing to have friends or preferring to be alone doesn’t mean you’re in for a ‘miserable’ life.”

“To be frank being surrounded by people who don’t really care for me and just want me around for favors or so they don’t feel alone sounds miserable.”

“Being able to enjoy your own time is a powerful skill.”

“I love being alone the majority of the time like I literally look forward to my alone time.”

“I know people typically use each other which, hey you gotta give a little to get a little, but if OP made it this far helping themselves I think they’ll be okay many years to come.”

“I actually admire OP for not being a people pleaser.”

“You only live once and you should do what makes you happy not what makes other lives easier.”

“And again a lot of people are able to problem solve on their own.”

“Which again is a good skill.”

“It’s like people are getting on OP for not relying on people ever (which is smart) and not letting others rely on them.”

“NTA but I will admit eating fruit with bubble tea is making my teeth and stomach scream for you.” ~ virgodaze

“Here’s the thing about today’s work environment: Budging an inch on your boundaries to do anyone favors very quickly becomes ‘Well you helped that one time, so you should be willing to help this time and every other time.'”

“Give an inch and they will absolutely take a mile if you let them.”

“OP’s coworkers choose to socialize during work hours.”

“They are the reason they lag behind in their work.”

“That is not OP’s problem.” ~ ExcuseMeMyGoodLich

“In the sense that it is your personal time, and you owe it to no one NTA.”

“In the sense that if you were my coworker and this happened, I would never go out of my way to assist you with anything.” ~ Pure_Cantaloupe6872

“I think, it’s more we are all in this sh*t/life together and we should help people out occasionally.”

“If co-worker was asking OP every day to help them finish their work, that’s a problem.”

“If a co-worker asks once in a blue moon for help before an important event for them and you have nothing urgent, it’s just the decent thing to help them.”

“So where OP is NTA, she just sucks as a person and isn’t someone you would want to work with.” ~ iguessithappens

“NTA- you’re well within your rights to utilize your leisure time how you see fit, free from the comparative judgment of your coworkers.”

“Zero obligation to justify what you do with your own time.”

“Your coworker is mad at the wrong person.”

“I don’t know the nature of the work, but if the team needs support I assume a manager or other staffing personnel would be in charge of sourcing that support.”  ~sumaCamus

OP came back to chat…

“So I log off for a few hours, log back in expecting maybe 100 comments.”

“I am blown, and thank everyone for their judgment, NTA, YTA, or ESH.”

“Now for some important things…”

“How did she find me in the park?”

“The park is small, near her daughter’s school (I didn’t know that).”

“And I was sitting closer to the street.”

“She was driving by looking for parking when she spotted me and decided to confront me.”

“I guess she wasn’t that late for the recital.”

“We are not on the same team.”

“She asked for help because she knew I know how to do her tasks, not because we are on the same team working on the same project.”

“For people who are worried about my career, thank you, but don’t worry.”

“I am not planning to climb the corporate ladder.”

“All I want is a job that pays enough to live a comfortable middle-class life.”

“I invested in a bit of a niche/rare skillset, and it paid me back with a 6 figure salary and is very sought after.”

“All I have to do is to maintain my skill set and keep up with the times, and I will be golden.”

“I have had offers from all around my state, and a few more.”

“For those who say that I am a miserable loner, I have a very fulfilling personal life, with a tight-knit family, and a great friend circle.”

“I just prefer to not mix work and personal life, and that means no befriending coworkers.”

“Made that mistake early on, but I learned from it.”

“And lastly, for those saying an impromptu picnic is not ‘plans,’ enjoying my personal time is and has always been my plans.”

Well, OP, Reddit is with you.

Your time, your rules.

Personal time is a must.

Enjoy yourself.