Coming home from a 7-8 hours of work that is stressful and tiring enough and after relaxing for a split second, there are the emails from clients who are waiting for an immediate response and so, work is eventually brought back home. There is a thin line between being true to your job and just plain working hard rather than working smart. It is hard to just ignore the ‘responsibility’ that you think is yours; however, taking the time for yourself and taking the much needed rest is as important because your productivity is going to be affected because of the strain and the exhausting routine that you have built. Not just the stress and the ever present client emails that always seem to demand your immediate response but the other facets of working in a big company, demands your best everytime. Here are some points that will help you pinpoint the things that you do not owe your Boss –
Boss Boundaries you don’t owe to your Employer:
1. Health: You do not owe your health to your boss, compromising your health to put a few more hours of work is not advisable. Your health is the first thing that takes a hit because of the stress that comes with working everyday, 6/7 days a week; the overtime hours and losing sleep because you don’t know if the deal will be close or not as you had hoped is taking a toll on your mind, body and obviously your sanity. Your eyes are always tired and your headache is getting bad, just sitting in one place can have an effect on your back and there is no denying the out of shape belly; losing sleep is another after effect – It is a boundary that needs to be set as soon as possible.
2. Family: It is easy to forget that the people at home needs your attention as well, make time for them whether just relaxing in the sitting room and having a conversation with your family members. Get to know about their things and do not lose track of the people around you who actually cares for you. This will also have an effect on your family as well, there will be a breakdown on the communication with everyone that you love. Yes, you work so that you can support your family and so that they will be able to live comfortably but you also have to understand that your family also needs your time especially during your off days.
3. Identity: Again, this is a very common occurrence that you get lost in the title that you have in your work place; people might not be able to separate you from the person that you are at work.. Who you are at work is a professional executive, manager or leader and the important point to notice here is that you are a professional at work and that is the identity that you do not want people to know you as; this is why you should not mix your work identity and the person that you are really. Being an individual is the most important thing that you should hold onto, the professionalism that you uphold in your workplace will only stress you out more if you carry that home with you.
4. Contacts: Through your years of hard work and ever innovative ways to get your projects successful, there will be new connections that you make and important contacts that you get to know along the years. Yes, you are true to your work and the contacts that you have made may have been friends with because of the work that you have done have been shared with your employer. Of course, it is unethical to try to take your company’s work and it is the Non compete agreement that you might have signed with your company when joining them; what keeping your contacts mean here is the communication or simply keeping your connection with them.
5. Mental strain: With the ever stressful environment that you will find in any work place, there is bound to be strained relations with your team or your boss and this will eventually have an effect on your day to day mentality. Your mental health is also your responsibility. Your employer does not reserve the right to say just about anything whether you have done a bad job or just made mistakes with the project that you are handling, afterall you are also a human being and you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
6. Loyalty: Yes, you have to be loyal to your work and do the best that you can to bring about success to your organization, be productive and effective in what you do. If there is a better chance somewhere else and there is a job opening where you believe is going to be better, then it is your right to send in your resume to the hiring panels there. And if the loyalty that your employer demands from you is not earned then you reserve the right to find another job. The pay and the successful projects or good client feedback is your hardwork done and this is not something that you have to be loyal to your boss for; infact if you have to be loyal, be loyal to the work in itself – doing it right, getting the result and just giving it your best.
7. Skill: Most of us learn a certain skill on the job and there are those who are given the opportunity to go through training sessions to learn a particular skill in order to join an organization – Yes, your job gave you the chance and the necessary resources to learn some skills that will eventually be productive for the company. There are companies that makes you sign a non-compete agreement that will not allow you to use the skills that you have acquired while working in the company when you are ready to move on to a different job. Remember that you do not owe it to your boss or the company not to use those skills or sign the NDA, at the end of the day, your hardwork helped you learn those skills in the first place.
8. Pride: If you feel that a particular job will make you uneasy, might take away the time that you have set for your family or an unfair decision that you are afraid to address because it might affect your work relationship with your company. You should not remain silent. Be the unique individual that you are and let them know, because keeping quiet might actually do more harm than good because at the end of the day, it might cause you to be unhappy with your job. There will be things that you do not agree with your employers and you reserve the right to speak out and let them know what is on your mind or report such behavior to higher authorities.
9. Holidays/vacations/offs: The last and most common point that most employees have trouble setting the boundaries with are their holidays or vacation and off days. You do not owe it to your work and especially not your boss to work on these days because these have been set aside for your personal activity, family time or just days for your rest and relaxation. Make sure that you do not respond to emails or answering calls because these are the first steps towards blurring the lines between professional and personal space.
10. Selling Point: If you are in the writing business or a creative columnist and all you are looking for is the perfect story that will garner attention and more sales for your company and your boss knows that you have a personal experience to write about that could be the story to get the successful number of readers for the column. If you do not feel comfortable sharing that to your readers then that is your right and there is no one who can make you write the article. Your boss or your job does not have the right to get your story.
11. Personal Information: Your personal life is yours and the information that you provide to your boss about you should only be the relevant data that would be applicable and pertinent to your job; yes you will have to share with your company, the important information that is necessary and standard for employees to share. However, more than that you do not have to divulge any other probing questions to either your team mates or your boss. Share enough and be honest and transparent about the necessary information but there is no rule that you will have to answer all questions.
12. Unethical gain: Every company has rules and very strong ethical code that all the employees are expected to follow and then there are all the opportunities and help that your mentor and boss has given you that has led to your success in the work place. However, you do not owe it to your mentor and boss to do something unethical that breaks the ethical code of your company and you do not owe it to him/her to keep quiet and not share these behaviors and misdemeanor to the supervisors or whoever is above your boss.
13. Equal Opportunity: It is your right to grow, succeed and avail all benefits that your company is providing irrespective of color, caste or creed. No one should be treated differently because of these non important skin deep qualities or just plain differentiation – If you feel that you have been robbed of a promotion or an opportunity because of anything else but your performance then you have the right to report such instances to the right authorities and no one reserves the right to get the credit for your good work. It is you who is earning your place everyday and hence you deserve to be given the same and equal opportunity as others.
14. Bullying: Unfortunately, this is a very real occurrence even in the world of professional Business man and woman; this might not be done intentionally or even consciously however, if there is any indication that your boss is bullying you into doing something for him or just plain bullying you , then you have the right to stand up for yourself and let your boss know how you feel. If there is no visible changes to his behavior then you also reserve the right to report this to higher authorities.
15. Menial jobs: Look at your job profile and be clear about what is expected from you – do your job right, get the projects done and provide results. However, sometimes your boss might ask you to do some personal work for him that you are not comfortable with or which might hamper the deadline that you have on the real job that you are expected to do and one which does not fit your job profile, then you reserve the right to say no and just to be clear, explain why you can’t or won’t do it because then you are also being candid and at the same time, helping your boss realize his mistakes.
Boundaries are important for a well balanced life between your work and everything else about you. The boundaries has to be set by you and to see it through. Make sure that you have worked out a plan so that you have the time for all the things that will make you happy and satisfied with your life and of course, your workplace; there are things like getting the job done right, being effective, giving your 100% so that you are able to bring about success to your company and being honest to your work .
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