If you’re like most people, losing your job would be a life-changing experience. And it can be especially stressful if you have major financial obligations such as providing for your family or paying your mortgage on time. For most people, there’s little that can be done to regain financial stability aside from looking for another job.
For the average person, their job is their sole source of income. That being the case, most people have to be cautious about what they say or do while on the clock. And these days, off the clock too! Because we depend on our job to pay the bills it can be especially difficult to say no to “requests” from an employer, even if we’re being taken advantage of.
Unless you’re absolutely certain that what you say or do won’t cause a backlash and put your job at risk, there’s a good chance you’ll bite your tongue when it comes to offering unvarnished feedback regarding ways your employer can improve. And you probably won’t feel comfortable politely defending yourself when the boss places unrealistic, unfair, or even unsafe demands on you. It’s a shame that the need for a regular paycheck often prevents employees from openly communicating with their employer, which can prevent both parties from making the most of the relationship.
And it doesn’t stop there. In addition to walking on egg shells with our employers, we have to play it safe during interactions with customers and clients. Imagine what might happen if you were direct and honest when confronting a rude customer or disrespectful client. In many cases, your employer is forced to take the customer or client’s side because they can’t afford to lose their business or don’t want to handle complaints.
Weighing Your Options
These types of situations can put you in a tough spot where you have two options: stand up for yourself or just accept the less-than-ideal treatment. Of course, standing up for yourself at work can come with significant consequences. You could hurt your chances of being promoted or even losing your job altogether. Although it’s a terrible predicament, there are most definitely times when you need stand up for yourself at work. In fact, despite the risks involved you’re actually doing yourself a tremendous disservice by remaining silent.
No one wants to feel like they’re being taken advantage of. That’s why it’s important to realize when your employer is taking advantage of your eagerness to please authority or your reluctance to draw a line in the sand.
Most People Would Just Quit. But Not You!
Most people in undesirable work environments will just quit. Or they’ll suffer in silence. Don’t be like most people. This is an opportunity to turn a bad situation into something life-changing!
Wouldn’t it be great if your employer respected you?
How nice would it be to feel appreciated for the work you do?
How awesome would it be to influence change in your workplace?
None of these things will happen if you just quit. And none of these things will happen if you just keep your mouth shut either.
Take matters into your own hands and speak up. You won’t regret it and your colleagues who are experiencing the same struggles will probably appreciate and respect you for taking a stand too!
Your Terrible Job Might Actually Be a Tremendous Opportunity
It may come as a surprise, but standing up for yourself at work could actually be one of the best things you can do for your career. Consider the possibilities. The worst case scenario is that you’ll be fired from your horrible job. Well, if you’re financially prepared with an emergency fund, a side hustle, or a replacement position lined up, that worst-case-scenario might not be that terrible after all. Plus, it could end up spurring you into action and lead you to a better opportunity. This could also be an opportunity to engineer your own layoff, which could be the best of both worlds. Why quit your job and burn bridges when you can negotiate a severance and leave with money in your pocket?!
Inspire Change in Your Workplace
If you’re not the only one feeling mistreated by your employer, then there’s a good chance that standing up for yourself can inspire change in your workplace. It’s important to think of it as not just standing up for yourself, but the interests of your colleagues as well. The same applies to other abusive employees that are working alongside you. For instance, if one of your senior managers is showing that they’re clueless and they’re making your job harder, then escalating the situation and speaking to human resources or someone higher up the chain could make things easier for everyone.
There will always be difficult people in the workplace and it’s important that you make a stand for yourself so that you’re not subjected to endless amounts of poor treatment, unfair labor practices, unethical job duties or unreasonable expectations. If you care about your job and believe in your business but feel that management doesn’t have the best interest of its employees at heart, then it may be time to make a stand.
Being More Vocal and Increase Your Chances of Promotion
Has it been a while since your last promotion or raise? Employers often leave it to the employee to take the initiative of asking for more. If it’s your employer who keeps asking for more and more from you and you never ask for more from them, then what do you expect? Showing some initiative may be all it takes to get some positive results.
Of course there are plenty of employers who don’t care for feedback from employees. That’s a poor leadership quality and a bad sign for the business. But there are actually some employers that want to hear from their employees. Whether it’s constructive criticism of existing procedures, ideas to become more efficient or grow, or just confirmation that certain strategies resonate with your department – many employers appreciate this type of feedback because it shows that you can think for yourself and that you care enough about the business to bring new ideas and concerns to their attention.
By identifying problems in the workplace and offering solutions, you can showcase your talents and let your employer know that you’re serious about making your workplace more efficient and more productive.
A Few Final Thoughts
There’s no doubt about it – standing up for yourself at work comes with risks. But remember, everyone moves on from their position at some time or another. Unless you plan on working at the same company until you die (which likely means enduring the same undesirable conditions for years or decades), then it’s time to get over the fear of potentially losing your job and taking a calculated approach to protecting your interests. Arm yourself with the right strategy and take matters into your own hands. Your initiative and willingness to stand up for yourself will be liberating. Either you’ll influence the change in your workplace that you want to see or you’ll know that it’s time to move along and find a better job somewhere else!