Companies often take their best, most dedicated people for granted. When bosses are awash with all kind of short- and long-term problems, loyal old, hardworking you are the last thing that gets on their agenda as needing time, attention and consideration.
Which can leave you feeling more than a tad resentful. Not good when you’re trying to make work a more peaceful, positive feature of your life.
Here are five ways that bosses can take the piss. And five things that you can do to protect yourself.
Dumping additional responsibility without your agreement
You know how it goes – you’ve already got work projects up to your armpits, and then she tells you you’ve been given something else. Typically with a short deadline.
Don’t just bitch about it with your colleagues over lunch. Do push back.
This isn’t about whether you actually want the extra responsibility or not. It’s about making sure that your boss doesn’t forget that you’ve got skin in the game too. So, have a quiet word and put yourself on her map. “Thanks for the extra piece of work. In future, however, I’d prefer if you could talk to me before assuming I’ll just take it on. I need to be able to balance these things with my other workload.”
Cutting you out of communication
You hear from a colleague, or worse, from a client, of something that has happened that materially impacts your job. You’re expected to be okay about it, even though it has never been shared directly with you.
Again, don’t sulk.
Go to your boss and check it out with her.
Then, remind her that, next time something happens that affects you, you’d like to be aware of it before other people.
Scheduling things without considering you
Keen to make progress on an important piece of work, she schedules a big client or team meeting right in the middle of a time when she’s already given you approval to be off.
You may feel pressure to either change your plans, or, worse, come in during your break.
Don’t. Instead, push back and assert yourself. “I committed to my family to be on holiday at that time and I don’t want to go back on it.” Stay strong and put the scheduling problem back at your boss’s door. Either she’ll go ahead without you, or rearrange. Let that be her call.
Not giving you a pay rise or bonus
The rationale you’ll get is that times are hard and there’s a limited salary budget. If you feel aggrieved about this or hard done by, don’t whinge about it.
Make a hardcore case for the value you’re delivering to your team or business, and put the rise you want into numbers.
Your boss can either say yes or no. Either way, you’ve kept your power and spoken up for yourself.
Contacting you in personal time
Sunday afternoon. You’re just settling down to watch the Grand Prix or the football, when she calls on your BlackBerry. She’s in the middle of putting a presentation together and needs information from you to complete it.
You might want to throw your phone at the wall. But wait.
Instead, either just don’t answer the call when you see her name coming up on the screen. Or, answer and tell her politely you can’t answer her request right now.
Ongoing, assert your right to decide on your personal policy about being interrupted during your evenings and weekends.
You know, on the whole bosses don’t mean to cut you out of things. And it’s often a huge back-handed compliment that they feel you’ll just run with stuff they fling at you. But if their behavior leaves you feeling taken for granted, it’s important that you remember your own value, even if it’s not being reflected day-by-day by your boss. Remember that you have personal power and choice, and don’t be shy about reminding them you exist.
Do you get taken for granted by your boss? In what sort of ways? And how do you deal with it positively?