People have different opinions about doing overtime work or OT. Some view it as essential to show your bosses that you’re willing to go the extra mile; some think doing OT just means you’re inefficient because you’re supposed to GET. S***. DONE during working hours. For others, it’s a good reason to claim time off or money because hey, no one’s gonna find out you were messaging your bae on the phone every 10 minutes or watching YouTube videos during office hours if you show how hard you work after-hours, right?

But some of us have things to do at home—loved ones to spend our time with, maybe kids to pick up from daycare or you know, real plans with real friends—so do we really have to do OT whether it’s for wayang or not? We asked an expert with 15 years of human resource experience, Alexandra Lamb, on whether it’s a must to do and how to say no to your boss. Alexandra is also the co-founder of Lanterne Rouge, the company behind career management platform, Boldly.

Is doing OT a must even if it was communicated to you during job interview?

Getting outcomes in your work is a must. Doing OT is not essential if you’re hitting your work goals. No one wants to see you turn up late, work at half-speed, take a long lunch and afternoon tea, then work OT to show how committed you are. Set expectations with your boss that you’re ready and willing to do OT when a project or deadline calls for it, but as a routine, you should be rewarded for being efficient and getting work done within the work day.

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How can you let your boss know you don’t want to OT?

Open discussions are important. Think about what you value: is it your health, family time or perhaps time to get your sport in? Equally, think about what your boss needs too: work well done! It’s hard to simply say “I don’t want to do OT” unless you’re having a conversation about win-win situations. You can choose a time during your one-on-one discussions with your boss to say: “I just wanted to let you know I have this thing that’s really important for me after work. I love doing this—it keeps me sane! Likewise, I know we have work to do here, and I want to ensure we get the results we need. Can you let me know what you expect in terms of my contribution and the outcomes I can demonstrate in order to protect my time after work as much as possible?” If you approach it head-on with a ‘what can I do for you in order to get this time for me’ attitude, you’re more likely to get the outcome you want.

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Will not doing OT affect your chances at appraisal?

It really depends on the company and the boss. If OT is a requirement of the culture, and this doesn’t work for you, then you’re in the wrong company.

Images: Unsplash, Envato Elements