DEAR HARRIETTE: My job doesn’t have any written policy about allowing phones at our desk. I’ve worked for this company for more than 10 years, and I’ve never had an issue. I have kids, and I am a nervous wreck with them in high school during the pandemic, so I check my phone and text them throughout the day.
We just got a new manager, and she is completely against cellphones at our desks. She asked me to use my phone in the bathroom only, but now I am constantly away from my desk. Other co-workers in different sections of the office use their phones with the permission of their managers, but mine won’t budge. What is the big deal? I am a responsible adult and would not let it interfere with my work, and it’s never been a problem. It seems as if this manager is overcompensating for being new. Am in the wrong for how I feel? -- Bathroom Cellphone
DEAR BATHROOM CELLPHONE: Take a deep breath and develop a new strategy. Creating friction with your boss is not going to invite success for you. I understand your concern about your children being in school at this uncertain time in our world. But it is likely hard for them to text you all the time. I recommend that you come up with times that your teens can text you with updates -- preferably in between classes -- unless there is an emergency. Then have them text you when they are leaving school and when they get home. These can be standard check-ins. Keep your phone in your pocket or wear a smartwatch so you can feel the buzz. If they text outside of the normal times, you will know you have to check right away to ensure there’s no problem.