General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

How to say "I'm hourly" in a polite way.

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Where I work I'm a rep that has about 100 dedicated clients.  Basically we are wholesale and our clients are distributors, so this is not the general public. I've been working with many of these clients for several years and most are wonderful, reasonable people.  However there are a few unreasonable ones that I can never seem to please 100% no matter what I do.

One such person emailed me Friday night about 5pm her time. Unfortunately 5 pm her time is 7 pm my time and I was long gone from work. This morning I responded that I was sorry but I just got her email and would take care of her request right away.  I also reminded her my normal hours are 8:30-5 so if she has an emergency after that she can call either the main line and talk to a 3rd shift production supervisor (our service dept only has 1st shift) or there is our Hotline after-hours number if that doesn't work.
She called a little bit after that and asked if I shouldn't be checking my emails from home in case such a situation arises. I explained that that would not be possible.   She continued to tell me that I really should be checking my emails from home or from my cell phone (which is my personal phone fyi) and that I should be aware that she sends inquiries after hours that need immediate response. 
I finally explained that I was not set up to work outside of my building that any further questions should be directed to my supervisor.  Doesn't anyone realize there are those out there who don't get paid to work from home after hours?   I know this lady will bring this up again in the future as she does not let things go easily.  I so want to say "I'm hourly and any work I put in outside of work will not be compensated and by the way my cell phone is paid by me and only me and does not have unlimited data".   I tend to think, however, this is none of her buisiness.

"Yes, I realize that issues do come up outside normal hours.  That's why you can call our 24-hour line and talk to someone any time, day or night.  I'm only here from eight-thirty to five on weekdays, though, so if it's something I personally have to do, I will try to get it done as soon as possible when I'm next at work."

If she tries to tell you you're required to answer email / phone calls at all hours, repeat: "Oh, I'm afraid that's not possible for me.  You can call the main line, though, and talk to someone else who can try to help you!"

Ahh don't you love clients like that!

There is no need to explain thing to her, just be firm and keep reminding her 'I'm not avaliable after 5pm local time, please contact x for after hours service.' I suspect nothing you say and no amount of logic will made her happy so there isn't any point stressing yourself over it in an attempt to get her to understand. Just keep telling her the same thing until she gets sick of the broken record!

It does seem like in this age of cell phones/pads/Wi-Fi/etc some people * don't* get it that you have a separate life. It doesn't really matter if you are an hourly basis or not.
I like slartibartfast's reply. Another thought is for you tho put an auto reply message on your emails on Friday afternoon - this way , when someone sends you a request 'too late' on Friday, they will at least have an option of getting your 24hour help line

Library Dragon:
Caveat: I don't know your company's rules.

Explain that your communication needs to be via the company's avenues, email or office phone.  Since your phone is personal you aren't to be answering work emails on it.

Also, checking for emails would require working after normal hours and compensated.  This would have to be approved first and she is more than welcome to submit a formal request to your supervisor.

This indicates that you aren't being unhelpful, but must operate within company policy. She may still not like it, but you aren't just saying no. You are giving her an action she can take to try and get the results she wants.


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