4 Situations When You Should Stand up for Yourself at Work
Let’s face it — the ability to handle tough conversations is an art form, and not everyone has the tools to do it well. Even if you’re not an eloquent communicator, you’ll still face situations in which you will have to stand up for yourself.
If those moments take place while you’re on the job, you might wonder if it’s even worth the stress of speaking to someone. The following four situations call for a conversation — here’s when and how to stand up for yourself.
1. When a Colleague Takes Credit for Your Work
Whether it’s on purpose or unintentional, a coworker might say they’re responsible for an idea you came up with or a task you completed. In the moment, you’ll feel a little shocked, and perhaps slightly heated — don’t act on those emotions. But you should make a point to stand up for yourself.
If the credit-taking happens at a group meeting, start by kindly acknowledging your coworker’s hard work on the project, before shining the spotlight on what you specifically did. Then, in private, speak to the person who tried taking credit for your accomplishments. Be kind, but authoritative — tell the person that if it happens again, you’ll talk to your boss about the fact that you feel undermined.
2. When You Need a Break
Another common problem for the American worker is the lack of breaks. We’re not talking about lunch or mid-shift breaks, but nice, long vacations that allow you to refresh, recharge and, ultimately, return to work with gusto. Seriously — workers who take time off see improvements in their productivity when they return to the office.
Of course, some companies make it difficult for their staff to take their given time off. Even if it’s not prohibited, you might find a general knowledge that vacations are frowned upon by management. But you deserve this time, and you shouldn’t feel afraid to take it.
To make the situation less pressured, give your boss plenty of notice about your vacation time. Then, get all of your ducks in a row before you leave so you’re not putting anyone out while you’re gone, so they know they can trust you to take off in the future, too.
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3. When You Feel Uncomfortable
This is one of the toughest situations in which you have to stand up for yourself. However, there’s nothing more important than your safety and comfort while you’re at work, so if someone is making you feel the opposite, speak up as soon as possible.
You need to find the right colleague in whom to confide. In most cases, speaking to the human resources department is the best way to handle your problem — they’re trained to deal with these types of complaints and will handle your situation discreetly. Of course, not every company has a dedicated HR team or official, so you could also speak to your boss — unless, of course, this is the person who has been making you feel that way.
4. When It’s Time for a Promotion or Raise
You know your worth as an employee, and you know what you deserve regarding position or pay rate. When you get consistently underpaid or under-worked, you should make a point to speak to your boss about the situation.
Schedule a private time to speak one-on-one about your career development within the company. Talk about your potential for a new role, one that would give you tougher responsibilities.
Or, remind your boss how long you’ve been working at your current job, and how you believe your dedication proves you’ve earned a pay raise. There’s an art to asking for these things so try and time the discussion right. For example, start the conversation after you’ve completed a huge project and have earned what you’re requesting.
You don’t have to sound pushy, but you should feel confident in asking. With that type of confidence, your boss won’t want to lose you over a financial woe and will make concessions to keep you on board.
Each of these conversations revolves around one thing — self-respect. You know what you’re doing, you know how you feel and you know what you deserve, so don’t hesitate to speak up and get exactly what you want.
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