4 Ways to Stop Being Taken Advantage of at Work


Author: Patricia Thompson
Source: The Daily Muse

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of an activity at work that you really wished you hadn’t agreed to? Maybe you ended up joining the company softball team, even though you hate sports and are embarrassed by your inability to throw in a straight line.

Perhaps you became the organizer of all of the office birthday parties, because no one else would do it. Or, maybe you picked up the slack yet again, and ended up staying late for a colleague who begged you to help him to finish a project at the last minute.

We’ve all been there. And, let’s be real: There definitely will be times when you have to do things at work that you would rather not. However, if you find yourself in this position more than you would like simply because you don’t want to let other people down, then you could be a people pleaser.

And it may not seem like a big deal in the short term. But in the long-term, the cons far outweigh the pros. Accommodating others too much can result in feeling overwhelmed (because you’ve taken on too many commitments), resentful (because of the inherent imbalances in the relationship), and stifled (because you’re constantly ignoring your own needs in a quest to be liked).

It can also make you feel inauthentic, because when you’re smiling on the outside—despite feeling frustrated on the inside—you’re essentially pretending to be someone who you’re not. In fact, research suggests that smiling to appease others when you’re not genuinely feeling happy, is linked to a decreased sense of well-being, and “withdraw[al] from work.”

So what’s a people pleaser to do? Here are four tips to deal:

1. Give Others More Credit

Sometimes when you’re bending over backwards, it might come from a place of not giving others enough credit. For example, you might tell yourself, “If I don’t help him, how will he manage?” or “Nobody else is going to do it, so I have to jump in.” The reality is, people are often much more resilient than we believe.

If you say, “no,” most people can either find someone else to say, “yes” if they’re motivated to do so or even solve the problem themsleves.

2. Be More Compassionate (to Yourself)

People pleasers tend to be very compassionate when it comes to others. They frequently anticipate others’ needs and do their best to try to prevent the people around them from feeling uncomfortable.

However, to stop being taken advantage of, you’ve got to learn to treat yourself with that same level of respect. Recognize your own worth and be willing to be an advocate for yourself.

A good rule of thumb is to consider, “If this request was being made of someone else, what would I think?” If you start to feel protective, then it’s a sign you might be getting close to being taken advantage of.



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