Worker Cheered for Not Giving Their Cell to Colleague for After Hours Calls

Reddit's r/antiwork forum is full of bosses without boundaries.

From being asked to work on their days off to unpaid overtime, the subreddit is where overworked and underwhelmed employees can vent their discontent.

One worker's run-in with a pushy colleague is the latest boundary-breaker to go viral on the platform. In a post to the forum on 12 August, user ar3u5 shared their frustration over a coworker asking for their personal number so they could call them out of hours.

According to data collected by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. is the 7th most overworked country in the world.

Worker Cheered for Not Giving Colleague Cell
A stock photo of a man's hands typing on his phone. Redditor's praised the poster for setting boundaries. Chainarong Prasertthai/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Americans work an average of 1,791 hours per year or 38.8 hours per week, which is 75 hours above the global average annually. Although hours worked vary by industry, employees work approximately three hours of overtime a week.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the average full-time employed man works 9.05 hours a day, while the average full-time employed woman works 8.65 hours. This is roughly the same amount of time spent on personal care, including hours spent sleeping.

Ar3u5 said when his coworker first asked for his phone number, he gave him his work cell.

"Oh, I have that number," the colleague said. "But I called you last night several times and you didn't answer."

"Ya, that phone goes in my backpack on silent when I leave the office," the poster told them.

The coworker then asked for their private phone number, to which the Redditor replied: "No, sorry, my personal cell stays personal."

"'But then how am I supposed to get a hold of you after hours?" the coworker asked.

"...Exactly" they said.

The colleague just stared at him "incredulously" as he walked away.

Reddit users praised the poster for standing their ground, with their story receiving over 9,000 upvotes and nearly 400 comments.

One user said: "OP set some boundaries and it was most effective. Coworker needs to open their eyes and stop providing free labor."

A second agreed: "Seriously! People need to normalize keeping their personal phones personal!"

Another commented: "I completely flummoxed one of my previous staff members when I explained to her that she didn't have my personal number, and I don't give my personal number out to anyone at work. 'But then how can I find your social media?' That's the point, Laura."

While others shared their own stories of overstepping staff members.

One said: "The managers would call my emergency contact when they couldn't get a hold of my number after work hours. I answered a few times at first but started ignoring it after my first year."

And another wrote: "I was a bar manager and a bartender texted me on my day off about her schedule. I don't know how she got my personal number. I didn't respond.

"The next day at work she said 'does your phone not work or something?' And I said 'not on my days off for people who I didn't voluntarily give my number to.'

Newsweek has reached out to ar3u5 for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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Correction 08/15/2022 at 4:24 a.m. ET: This article previously stated that the average full-time employed man works 9 hours a week, instead of 9 hours a day.