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How do you know if you work for a Slave Driver? Easy – he’s the boss who likes to schedule meetings on a Saturday afternoon, who wants to review your memo at 7:00 am on a Monday morning, and doesn’t seem to bat an eye about calling you on your vacation to discuss an upcoming project. Hard working? Sure, but the Slave Driver takes it to a scary new level, where it seems there is little else that matters more to him than work – and you’re expected to follow suit.

Manage the Slave Driver: Start by taking a look around the office: Do you work in a company that celebrates a ‘work hard/Type A personality’ type of culture? Have you noticed that many of your colleagues work weekends, come in early, or stay late? If that’s the case, accept the fact that you’re part of a company or industry where working long hours is par for the course and your Slave Driver boss is simply one of many around the office. On the other hand, if you and your boss are usually the only ones burning the midnight oil, you may have some room to negotiate.

Try this: If you’ve truly got a Slave Driver on your hands, you owe it to yourself to take a stand. Still, tread very, very carefully when telling your boss ‘no’ in any way, shape, or form. Even if your boss is being unreasonable, the last thing you want to do is gain the reputation of being unreliable, lazy, or not holding up your end of things.

[Note to newbies: Keep in mind that there are always situations that require more of your time and energy, no matter what the job. This isn't only because we're sometimes expected to ‘pay our dues' as newer employees, but also because it takes time - sometimes, lots of time - to figure out how to really do our jobs well. After all, if you're new, you're new - of course it will take extra hours to understand what's what. As New Professionals, it may be a very smart move to put in more time than everyone else, Slave Driver boss or not.

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Comment by Carrie Robinson on November 1, 2010 at 10:29am
Sometimes slave drivers have other issues in their lives that make them want to stay at work. It is a tough situation and in today's market we have to make ourselves visible as much as possible.

Additionally, you make like to burn your oil early in the morning versus late at night so that could be a suggestion for your boss.

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Lee Iacocca Quote on Listening

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