July 14, 2010
Texting the boss: Yea or nay?
[Photo by Zawezome]
According to the makers of the mobile phone texting app textPlus, some young workers have no qualms texting the boss about urgent workplace matters. As a Houston FOX affiliate first reported, among recent college grads, "11 percent think it's okay to ask for a pay raise by text, 32 percent say it's okay to call in sick by text, and 11 percent say you can quit a job by text." Among high schoolers, those numbers are even higher.
Exactly how much does the next generation of workers text? A new Ball State University study of 5,500 college students found that "text messaging has overtaken email and instant messaging as the main form of communication." According to the study, 97 percent of students regularly send and receive texts, while just 30 percent use email and 25 percent use IM.
But let's get back to the textPlus survey. Although the source may not be the most trustworthy, the topic certainly has the blogosphere talking. An online Lifehacker poll of nearly 3,500 readers found that 41 percent of respondents would text their boss under "less formal circumstances" than asking for a raise, 42 percent would only do so if their boss had "specifically noted that texting is okay" or had texted them first, 10 percent said texting the boss is "always okay," and 7 percent said it's never acceptable.
Call me a fossil, but I don't buy the "texting the boss is always okay" thing. If your job involves a lot of subordinate-manager texting throughout the day, then by all means, text your manager that you're stuck home with the flu. Otherwise, you need to use the medium your manager predominantly uses to communicate with you, be that email, phone, or IM. It's not about what's convenient for you; it's about making your boss's life easier and speaking their language technologically. And if their language doesn't include texting, you're not making their life easier. Instead, you risk looking too cavalier, inconsiderate, or clueless.
As for giving notice that you're quitting or asking for more money, skip the text and have that conversation by phone, by email, or in person. The more formal your communication medium, the better.
What do you think? Managers, has a direct report ever texted in sick, resigned via text, or otherwise texted you about an urgent workplace matter? Staffers, have you texted your manager about a sick day, raise, or resignation? Could you? Would you?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
- career profile (155)
- cool jobs (51)
- education and training (57)
- entry level (66)
- etiquette (95)
- events (70)
- featured (323)
- finding your passion (89)
- health care (70)
- interviewing (76)
- job fairs (54)
- management (72)
- market trends (89)
- networking (261)
- resumes (93)
- salary (80)
- social media (79)
- technology (103)
- unemployment (53)
- work/life balance (85)