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Friday, April 23, 2010

A little backbone?

I am doing some soul-searching these days about my role in some situations in which I feel taken advantage of. I've blogged about some of these things before, but mainly I have this situation at my job where my co-worker (who is also a good friend) has been taking lots of time off and showing up to work late on a daily basis - late by several hours. This has been going on for a couple of years. The end result is that she does a few things and I do a thousand things. She makes the same money as I do.

I have other past and current relationships with similar dynamics. In the past I've blamed the person taking advantage and felt resentful, but what I want to figure out is what I am doing and putting out there to make it okay for people to treat me this way.

I honestly have no idea whatsoever what to change, but I know I have to establish clearer boundries and learn to stand up for myself. I wanted to ask all of you guys if you have any experience in this sort of situation and, if so, what have you done?


Mary said...

I have kinda had a similiar situation at my work recently. I have a coworker that I feel takes advantage of me. I work at a center that house many programs for the community I live in. There are 2 school programs housed in the building I work at. I am the office coordinator and the receptionist shares the front office with me. She is late every day, not by hours but like 15 to 30 mins. She leaves ALL the time. Infact she left 1/2 a day today! It gets on my nerves because it is her job to open the doors in the mornings, let kids in, ect. I end up doing it everyday! It makes me so angry sometimes. I too feel that she takes advantage of me because I am nice and she know I wont say anything!!!! I don't have any advise bc I am in the same situation!!! Let me know if you try something and it works! :)

tessierose said...

Amanda, I have been in situations like that before too, however the older I get the better I am at setting boundries and speaking up for myself. I do know that these things are hard to stop once they become a habit for the person who is getting the free ride. There really is no easy way around this one. When I have to confront someone in a situation like yours I find it helpful to write what I want to get accross before I talk to them and then I try to think of all the ways the conversation can go, so I won't be caught off guard. I also make sure that I'm not PMSing or in any danger of getting too emotional. I hope you get this squared away! Good luck and let us know what happens.

workinprogress said...

Phew - this is a hard one. What a great post.

Here's what I think I would do.

Instead of creating a confrontation (which is never pleasant) put it back on yourself. Tell her (and your boss if you like) that you are little confused about your role. Tell them that you think it would be great if you could each have clear job descriptions.

Ask her if she would sit down with you and list all the duties that need to be completed and then divide them between the two of you.

Type them up and then give them to your boss to file.

Then stick to them. Do what is on YOUR job description and not hers. It should become obvious to everyone that she is not pulling her weight. If not, at least you are not covering her butt anymore!!

I hope this helps! It's a tough situation to be in.

Jenny said...

I have a hard time saying no because although I won't admit it I like to be liked.

But at work its work. Maybe you could pick one thing that she asks of you and say no to it, and then build your confidence.

Cindylew said...

In the words of Dr. Phil..."you teach people how to treat you".
If how you're being treated is unacceptable...don't act like it's not.
No easy way around it but it's also not the end of the must have a conversation and tell her how you feel.

Robin said...

Not only is your co-worker taking advantage of you (Amanda and Mary both), but this co-worker is stealing from the employer. I know if you saw a fellow employee walking off with... oh I dunno, the computer from your desk, you'd say something, right? They are stealing money (wages) from the employer and they are stealing YOUR TIME because you are having to do their jobs.

I'm really bad at confrontation, but somehow you need to delineate what is and is not acceptable to you.

Drazil said...

Ugh - been there, done that. And I just keep doing it. Lately though, like you, I've realized by letting it happen, I'm treating myself just like I let them treat me...and that's unacceptable. Now I just gotta get some balls and stop it - which is so easier said than done. Good luck...keep us posted.

Lonicera said...

I was going to say that the key will be in the preparation, and that if you know what you're going to say you'll sound confident, but having read workinprogrress' entry, I think this is a good way to tackle it. That way feelings don't need to come into it (and risk your looking upset, which might weaken your case). It's a job description matter: you don't know what your job is, you don't know what hers is - you would like to see it in writing. Quite normal.
What does amaze me in your story is what the heck is your boss doing in not observing what's going on?

beautifulinsideandout said...

Ugh, I feel your pain. I am often the "go to" person when people need something done, or someone to listen to them and sometimes it gets very draining.

What I have been working on is making myself number one (with my children and husband a close second). I think it really does make a difference when you learn to respect yourself enough to put yourself first. I always used to worry about upsetting people and thereby tended to shy or walk away until my stress/anger got so bad that I would cause a scene and make a teary mess of everything.

I agree with what Tessie said about PMS, I don't know about you, but it affects me! I can't count how many morning I have woken up to Aunt Flo after a night full of crying... lol

Also, don't only start to think of yourself as first but tell people! And learn that it is qiute ok to do it. At the beginning of this year I stated on my FB for instance, that *this* is MY YEAR. My year to work on me. My year to work on things close to me. And thereby let everything else slowly start to fall into place. I was worried that people may say I am being selfish... but you know what? If they think it, no one has dared say it... and that's ok with me :)

Good luck in your situation. It doesn't sound fun at all. Not only is she taking advantage of you as a so called "friend" but she is clearly stealing and not respecting your employer.