#31 “My Employer is Taking Advantage of Me” It was bad enough you felt connected to your job 24/7 prior to COVID-19, thanks to work cell phones. You could not have imagined how much worse the lines would blur. With most professionals working from home, work-life boundaries are muddled as you bitterly realize, “My employer is taking advantage of me.” It’s Just the Way Things Are Post #29 summarized an eye-opening interview I recorded with Stephanie Slocum, Career Coach at Engineers Rising. She asked riveting questions about employment and layoffs that people like you want to know the answers to. I offered my insights about job security, worthiness, people-pleasing, work identity vs self-identity, and other impactful topics. The most common topic people ask me about since the interview is, “My employer is taking advantage of me. It’s just the way things are. How do I say no?” Some of you are working 12+ hours/day while struggling to complete assigned tasks and take care of a household. You may receive emails throughout the evening with an unreasonable expectation to complete requests by the morning. The examples are numerous, but many people believe this is the way things are. When the employer says jump, your brain is programmed to ask how high. When you have bought into the mentality that this is the way things are, it is highly likely you will not question the system. It is highly likely you will not push back, and you begrudgingly continue to burn out. Saying No You may not realize that setting work boundaries and diplomatically pushing back is an option. It may sound too foreign a concept, especially if you tell yourself you cannot afford to be unemployed. The reasons to avoid saying no or pushing back include, “My reputation might be damaged; I don’t have a choice; my next raise will be poor; I may be the next to get laid off, etc.” The option to say no to unreasonable work demands is available to you – it is possible despite the doubts that come up. True, others may snicker or point a finger, and the boss may criticize. But, which is the higher price to pay: the risk of job loss with a disrespectful employer who doesn’t recognize your needs and pushes you over the limit, OR an over demanding life of work that is dedicated to appeasing others’ unrelenting, infinite demands? Employment is a partnership, not a dependency. Do yourself a healthy, long-term favor by learning the art of saying no. If you’re a disgruntled, hard-working employee who believes “my employer is taking advantage of me,” I invite you to watch my insightful interview on Youtube. It could be the start of a much-needed, restorative relationship you create with yourself. I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and subscribe to my Youtube channel for additional coaching insights!