Whether you’re a rank and file employee, a mid-level manager, or the head honcho yourself, you have to admit that working from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., five days a week, sometimes even more, can take its toll on you. Aside from making you feel like a drone—how many times can you file the same reports over and over again—working the same job day in and day out and suffering your boss’ tyranny or your team’s pasaway tendencies in silence can make you feel powerless and listless. The good news is that you have the power to change all that. Here, seven ways to take your power back.
Own your job.
Be the best damn employee or boss you can be. If your job is to assist the boss, then be even more proactive that you already are. Anticipate her needs—whether it’s coffee, yesterday’s meeting minutes, or a pack of gum—right off the bat. If you’re the one who’s giving out the orders, lead the team to victory and take care of your subordinates. At the end of the day, there is pride in a job well done.
Be honest about your purpose.
Your boss or your customers will tell you that your purpose is whatever your job description is, but why are you really working for your current company? Is it because you want to learn as much as you can from the experience or is it because you’re saving up for a car? Either works because as long as you know what you’re getting out of your job, you’ll always be one step ahead. You can decide what your limit is, when it’s time to quit, and when enough is enough.
Ask for what you want.
You’ve become so used to your fate as a work horse that you forget to ask for things that you deserve and want. Whether it’s a raise, better hours, or a titular promotion, you should make a habit of discussing your options with your boss. Not sure how to go about it? Oprah.com says you need to ask with commitment, awareness, and trust. Whatever it is you’re asking for, you need to be sure that it’s really what you want. Be ready to pay the price and back it up with strong conviction.
Limit your OT work.
There’s nothing wrong with a little overtime work, but if you keep going home at midnight, then it’s no wonder you’re feeling burdened by your job. Plan your day well so you can have more time for yourself every week. Make changes to your schedule gradually. If you typically go home at 10:00 p.m., shut your computer down an hour and a half earlier. Every week, try to bring that number up, so you can spend the extra time having dinner with your family or catching up on your favorite teleserye.
Learn your company guidelines by heart.
Is your boss making you do something you’re not entirely comfortable with? Or is someone from your team asking you for leeway you’re not sure you can give? Not knowing whether to say yes or no can make you answer yes by default. Avoid sticky situations like this by referring to that tiny pamphlet they give you on your first day or by asking your HR rep about it. Every employee—yes, bosses, included—deserves to make informed choices.
Always have leverage.
Are you the only person who knows how every department works? Do you have a strong list of clients who will gladly follow you wherever you go? Knowing what you bring to the company is important, but knowing what the company stands to lose when you walk is significantly more valuable, even if you don’t have any demands to make.
Be mentally strong.
Bounce back from a negative review or a harsh talking to by fortifying your mind. According to Amy Morin’s book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, it’s not about acting tough or pretending to be a robot. It’s about recognizing your emotions and acknowledging instances when you need help. Have an office buddy you can talk to? Talking to her about your day can help you get your bearings back after a particularly tough day.
PHOTO: Sean Dreilinger/Flickr Creative Commons; GIFS: Giphy.com