'Meeting with a Union Organizer': How to Get Your Nosy Boss to Stop Asking About Your PTO, According to Reddit

Taking a break from work Out of office concept


Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Taking a break from work Out of office concept

Back Off!

Is it any of your boss' business what you plan to do with your PTO? Absolutely not. But many managers and companies still haven't gotten through their heads what "personal time" actually means. 

Redditor u/FormerEnglishMajor is dealing with a nosy boss that insists on knowing what employees are doing during their vacation days, and wanted to make it crystal clear that it's none of his business. They asked r/Antiwork for "some uncomfortable excuses we could give him to embarrass him and help him understand that it’s none of his business what we do with our PTO," and Redditors delivered. 

Here are some of the funniest — and probably effective — answers to not-so-subtly tell your boss to mind their own beeswax.

Protestors Raising Fists

Scare Tactic

"Meeting with a union organizer."

Simple, but effective. You have to deploy this one carefully though, or you could be retaliated against, depending on your industry and company. 

female uterus

100% Effective on Men

"Anything involving your period or your 'woman parts' should do it … Say 'I have this cyst on my ovaries ….' And you’ll get a boss-shaped hole in the wall for sure!"

Lots of Redditors responded with anecdotes of this one working well: "I did this and it was for real. My boss wanted to know what everyone was doing and got mad at us for using our benefits so I told him I had to have womanly testing to make sure it was ovarian cysts and not something more sinister and the blood draining from his face was chefs' kiss."

Too many hours in the hot seat

Enough Said

"'I have an infected cyst near my anus that makes it painful to sit & I am having a procedure done to drain the infection. A few more treatments and hopefully I'll be able to sit for my full shift without worrying about soaking through the medical pad and staining my pants and chair with blood and pus. And OMG don't get me started on how much pooping and wiping hurts.'"

RelatedThis Is Why Many Gen Zers Refuse to Apply for a Job

Brown bedbugs hiding in the crease of the mattress macro

Creepy Crawlies

"Helping your sister move because the apartment next to hers refuses to do anything about their bedbug problem. Go into itch inducing detail."

This one works best if you physically work in an office with your boss, of course.

Fresh beer

Too Tipsy

"'I’m too intoxicated to be helpful' [is] a great reason for all kinds of knowledge workers (software engineers for example) to bow out of being called into emergencies."

Lots of other Redditors chimed in that they use this one too, especially in jobs that involve physical labor. "I worked at a postal plant briefly, great union job. The first tips the old timers ever gave me was, if they ever try to call you in on your day off tell them "I can come in, but I've been drinking." Management doesn't want the liability and will try to find someone else."

Related: Is Bare Minimum Monday the New Quiet Quitting?

Person depicting Jesus and reaching hand out

Spiritual Awakening

"Just say Jesus told you to take time off to reflect."

We're guessing most bosses won't touch a response that involves religion. 

Want more useful career advice in your inbox? Sign up for our free newsletters.

Young Woman Having a Job Interview Sitting at One End of a White Table in the Background with a Male and Female Interviewer Blurred in the Foreground


"Tell him you had an interview for another job."

That should shut your boss up pretty quickly. Bonus: Maybe you'll even get an unexpected raise out of it!

Lawyer in office with gavel, symbol of justice

Legal Troubles

"'My lawyer says I shouldn't talk about it until... after.' Do not elaborate."

This could mean anything from divorce to suing the company, which is why it's such a perfect answer. 

Disappointed businessman looking at computer screen

Call Their Bluff

"I usually deadpan stare and ask, 'Are you sure you want to know? Because, I'll tell you. In detail.' No one has ever wanted details."

When confronted with their own stupidity, most people will probably back down. 

Hand holding smartphone with mute sound during concert

Ignore Your Phone

"I never answer a call or text right away when I’m off. I wait to see if they leave a message other than just 'please call'. Then I wait at least a few hours before responding. 'Sorry, didn’t have my phone on me.' As long as I am not “on call” (ie, being paid to be available outside of work) and they are not paying for my phone service, I am not required to respond expeditiously to any communication from work when I’m off. They used to call me a lot at like 0530 on my off days to ask me to come in due to call outs. I never responded until hours later. They don’t really bother calling me anymore unless they get really, really desperate. They know it’s a wasted effort."

If you deal with bosses who bother you on your days off, setting boundaries by ignoring them will make for a more healthy work-life balance.