While I no longer do official New Year’s resolutions, one of my goals this year is to put myself first. Truth is over the years I have become a bit of a workaholic, it most certainly has not been intentional but the pit falls of working at small non-profits is there is simply less hands to get the work done. In my case I run an agency that provides direct services to clients, in our case youth and their families. If someone calls out sick and I am short staffed I have two options, close for the day or step in and work directly with the kids myself. Knowing that we are a safe place for kids at risk of getting in trouble after school I often make the choice to step in, despite the fact it means more work for me or letting down my family.
Last month, I really ran myself ragged to make sure our annual programs went off without a hitch and it is paying off. Donations are on the rise, we received some good press, all good things except that I have spent almost all of the past 6 weeks sick. I suffer from year round allergies but this winter is off to a record number of days where I feet like shit. To say I am run down is an understatement, my body is exhausted, worn out; my mind is not as sharp as it could be. You get the picture.
To say I am not in a good place about work right now wouldn’t be too far from the truth, don’t get me wrong I actually like what I do but its starting to dawn on me that sometimes when we give too much of ourselves, people come to expect it. If a worker who is only paid for 20 hours gives 30, 35 a week and it cost the employer nothing rather than honoring that commitment and drive employers take it for granted. Yeah, they toss you a thanks but do they really mean it?
I think one of the reasons the rate of unemployment remains high is because so many Americans who still have jobs are working themselves to the bone. We hear how hard it is to get a new job so rather than say “Time to move on” we say “I am happy to have a job” and put up with the abuse. I don’t even think all employers are intentionally abusing their employers but if they cab get greater productivity and it costs them nothing extra, why not?
I also think as women we are at greater risk for not receiving the respect and rewards we deserve in the workplace. Many times women even professional women are taken for granted in the work world. It’s no secret we are still paid less than men for the same jobs, yet as women we often don’t want to rock the boat. In some ways I guess that is the point of this post. I need to find my voice when it comes to my work; I have tried the round about way of stating my needs and don’t feel I am being heard.
The very fact that I am writing this might be considered dicey after all, it really isn’t too hard to figure out who I am and where I work in the real world and that’s okay with me. Whatever risks I may be taking are outweighed by the relief I feel in speaking my truth. Part of taking care of me this year is about honesty, honesty with myself and with others.
So if you are women in the workplace I would love to hear how you go about setting limits and boundaries and getting your needs met in the workplace.