How to deal with a job that doesn’t respect your boundaries 

Is it really worth it?

23 May, 2024
How to deal with a job that doesn’t respect your boundaries 

Picture this: You’ve finally managed to carve out some much-needed time to catch up with your friends after months of conflicting schedules. The atmosphere is filled with laughter and shared memories. Or perhaps you’re cuddled up on the couch with your partner, enjoying a quiet evening after a hectic day at work. Maybe it’s a Saturday afternoon, and you’re enjoying a family outing, and spending some quality time with your loved ones. All of a sudden, your phone rings. You glance at the screen and your heart sinks—it’s your boss, calling at 9 pm, or worse, the middle of the weekend.

Anxiety grips you as you anticipate the demands of the call. You’re physically present, but your mind is hijacked by work. You struggle to stay engaged in conversations with your friends, family, or partner. Instead, you’re mentally planning how to handle the unexpected work call. You’re sacrificing your sanity for a job that would replace you in a heartbeat while missing out on irreplaceable moments with the people who truly matter.

This scenario is all too common for countless corporate professionals. So here’s how you can handle a job that doesn’t respect your boundaries and reclaim your peace of mind.

Recognise the signs 

The first step is identifying whether your boundaries are being violated. Do you feel overwhelmed with tasks outside of work hours? Are you frequently expected to stay late or work weekends without prior notice? These are red flags. Recognise these signs early to address the issue before it escalates.

Communicate clearly and assertively

Once you’ve identified the problem, communication is key. Schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss your concerns. Be clear and assertive about your boundaries. For example, if you’re expected to answer emails after hours, express that your evenings are dedicated to personal time. Use “I” statements to keep the conversation focused on your needs, such as, “I need to disconnect from work after 6 pm to recharge.” 

Set firm boundaries 

After you have the conversation, set firm boundaries and stick to them. This might mean not checking work emails after a certain time or not taking on extra projects that infringe on your personal time. Plan your schedule well so that you have designated periods for work and personal activities. Consistency is crucial; if you waver, it signals that your boundaries are negotiable.

Seek support from your colleagues 

Sometimes, change is easier when you have support. Talk to your colleagues to see if they are experiencing similar issues. A united front can be more effective in advocating for healthier workplace practices. Additionally, colleagues can offer advice on how they manage their boundaries, providing you with practical tips. 

Know when to seek external help 

If your attempts to set boundaries are repeatedly ignored, it might be time to seek external help. This could involve talking to the HR, consulting a career coach, or even considering a job change. Chronic boundary violations can lead to severe burnout, so it’s essential to prioritise your mental health and well-being. 

Image Credits: Netflix 

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