Psychologist, coach and corporate consultant,Yasmeen Engelbrecht answers your work questions.

Q: I am a working mother in a demanding job. I don’t mind working late on occasion but my boss wants me to work late all the time, which cuts into my family time. I love my job but I’m afraid if I refuse to work late it will impact my career advancement. How do I broach the subject with her? – Nokuthula, Cape Town

Approach it as a negotiation. To a working mother, this will not be unfamiliar territory and if you do it well, it could be testament to your negotiating skills, leaving a valuable impression on your boss. The best time for a discussion like this is immediately after a win, ideally one that you’ve had a hand in.

Avoid a knee-jerk response to a request to work late, and rehearse what you plan to say. Start by sharing the genuine passion you feel for your job and your intention to grow with the company. This plants a seed for the future and signals how seriously you take your career, implying that she should as well.

Second, note briefly and unapologetically that you have family commitments. Lastly, offer suggestions that address working late but also benefit the company. Sell the benefits – not how your job will be made easier. If all goes well, there will be change. During this transition, help your boss feel safe by checking in often, meeting deadlines and being reachable.

If working late is the company culture, a future promotion could leave you facing the same dilemma. If so, the company may not be the best fit for you.

Have a question for our career coach? Tweet us @marieclaire_sa #MCwork or email