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Do You Feel You are Being Used at Work? Signs and precautions to follow when you feel you are being taken advantage of at work

By Sania Gupta

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Just think and say a yes or no-are you feeling like a doormat taking up all the work that comes up your way? Are you working for jobs out of your jurisdiction just to please others? Have you been loaded with too much work without being adequately compensated for?

If the answer to any of these or all of the above is a "yes', you are a victim of being a "person pleaser', the one who is easily being taken undue advantage of either by the boss or the colleagues.

Here are a couple of signs which tell you if you are being "too nice' and you need to watch out and stand for your rights. The boss is easily able to force work on you without compensating you adequately. The colleagues aren't respecting you but asking favours more often. You feel you are being burdened by work out of your job description. You have started harnessing negativity but just to stay in "good books', you are unable to refuse extra work. There have been instances where the accolades due to you have been travelling to the colleagues or the boss.

How do you tackle this "catch 22' predicament where neither you want to work off the line nor you want to upset anyone by refusing the onus of extra jobs? You have to develop a strategy and adapt the tact of politely saying "no' to save your self-confidence going down the drain. Browse through a few handy tips which will save your skin:

1. Make a balance

Try and communicate with your colleagues that it's a give and take relationship. Hence ask for favour sometimes so that you can balance out the extra time spent in doing their chores.

Satyan Bhatia, Managing Director of IMC suggests that you must responsibly share the workload with your colleagues so that there is a win-win situation and harmony pertains. There will be no chance of conflict if you are sharing the work on mutual terms instead of thrusting the load on one person.

2. Be empathetic

You ought to understand the difference between being taken for a ride or whether the colleague actually needs your assistance. You have to analyze whether the boss is asking for a genuine favour or simply seeking advantage of your meekness. This will prove to be an insight for future as well. Satyan also emphasizes being empathetic and understanding others.

Gagan Sood, Director of Sood Studios, says, "To create a perfect work-balance you need to have an eagle eye and understand if your colleague or junior is entrusting the work to you as you have better knowledge or they are simply shedding off their workload. This will help you judge the scenario and assist accordingly."

3. Set the boundaries

Sometimes you need to create a boundary beyond which you will not favour anyone. This helps in keeping your personal goals satiated and keeps you off frustration. If you let the favour-seeker know that you are tied up with your own impending deadlines or are unavailable to grant the, they will think twice before approaching you in future too.

Bhavdeep Silkey Kohli, Founder of Kohli Star Image School, suggests, "Carve a line beyond which you will not favour anyone or accept any jobs. You have to be clear in your mind that your own work holds priority and thereafter, even your free time is valuable to you. Do not oblige undue favours just to appease someone. Take a stand and say "no'."

4. Set your priorities

Be clear and set a priority chart where you emphasize what is most important to you and to what extent helping others doesn't ruin your happiness and satisfaction quotient. This will demarcate the point where you will easily be in a state to decline the unrequited jobs and favours.

Ramneet Kaur, COO of Rapid Skillz, emphasizes, "If you keep obliging favours you feel harassed and frustrated beyond a point. To retain your sanity, raise an alarm and do not accept undue jobs if they run over your own priority list. You need to make sure that you do not make your work suffer just to be a "people pleaser'."

The Crux: Being bold and declining to oblige is not being rude. It's just a matter of habit and the people around you will know that you cannot be easily taken for a ride or imposed work upon forcibly. You have to take a stand for yourself and develop a strategy so that no one is able to take an advantage of you.

Sania Gupta


Sania Gupta is also Founder and CEO, Digital Kangaroos, an author, entrepreneur, marketer and blogger. And as a career coach at My Study Destination, she has helped thousands of students realize their dreams.
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