The Workforce Totem Pole: What’s Your Breaking Point?

In this economy, most of us are working in  a place that is other than our career choice. Besides the fact that it isn’t our chosen profession, most of us didn’t find ourselves off the bat having much influence in the work office. There is that period of time where you feel things and people out in order to see where you want your niche to be. Now that you have settled into the environment and have become more involved you still have individuals that feel entitled to make sure you know that you are “beneath” them.

What do you do about the people who like to swing their weight around? Truth of the matter is, those individuals were once in the same position that you were but for some reason they feel as though because they have moved up on the totem pole they are entitled to treat you that way because of the hierarchy. Little things like grab a file here, make a copy of something that is on my desk with the copier in my office, or ask you to get someone for them when that person is in the office next to them makes you question when have we gotten to the age where we can do simple things ourselves. Is it anyone’s responsibly to budget a program and also wipe your boss’ butt at the same time? What about co-workers that feel entitled to try to let you know how things work in the office so you won’t change any of the things they are use to?

Co-workers that don’t like change are usually the ones that have been at that office for several years. They have probably moved around in the office somewhat, therefore being familiar with numerous peoples jobs including yours. When they see you doing something different that directly or indirectly affects them, they are going to try to “offer you advice” about how you should handle your job. At the end of the day, years after you have found a new job, they will still be at their same place, offering “advice” to the next unsuspecting person coming along.

How do you get your point across that you are no ones’ slave without loosing your job? How do you hold on to you’re self-respect without putting yourself in jeopardy?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. TeasTer
    Jun 06, 2011 @ 13:34:08

    u already know….

    based off of our daily gchat discussions, i can pretty much say that u and i are def. in the same boat job-wise. every single person that i work with feels the need to assert their authority, or prove that they matter. the other day, i heard a chick yelling “i am NOT a secretary!!!” from across the hall. she repeated this multiple times before she retired to her office with a “don’t test me” look. and its like that here, daily. i even had a boss once that asked me “who’s your boss?? am i your boss??” in a tone oddly reminiscent of the “who’s your daddy??” type of bed rhetoric. yeah. i just stared at him as if he was speaking a dead language. anyway…to answer your question: how to hold on to self-respect without putting myself in jeopardy??

    i know my worth. currently, i’m doing the job of 3 persons rolled into one. i am the only team member that knows how to run my aspect of the program effectively. if i walked out of this building right now and chose to never return, they’d be screwed. and they know that. i make sure that they know that. i make sure that they know that i know that they know that. ya dig?? i also always maintain a level of mutual respect. (there is an older manager here that always called me “girl” when speaking to me…so i started calling him “boy”, and he immediately apologized and changed his tone. yeah. i’m gangsta like dat.) trust me, it isn’t easy, and every day is a struggle, but knowing my value and demanding respect are the best ways that i know to cope.


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