It’s no secret that many
women are undervalued in the workplace. But since we don’t always know what we’re entitled to, many of us settle for less than what we deserve at work. We accept lower pay than the men we work with, bite our tongues when our bosses talk down to us, and brush off our coworkers’ sexist jokes because we feel lucky to have a job at all. We should never have to put up with disrespectful treatment, though. Once a line is crossed, it’s time to either say something or get out of there.
If someone at work is making you uncomfortable, there are ways to address it while minimizing the chances that they’ll retaliate. "Believe in the best of the person across the table from you, assume that they are good people, give them what I call MRI (most respectful interpretation), instruct them in a non-confrontational way, crack a joke about it to ease the tension, and if they continue to act in a poor way, go to your supervisor or HR," Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder of
Ellevest, tells Bustle.
If you don’t feel comfortable saying anything, that’s OK, too. The important thing is not to internalize other people’s mistreatment of you. And the first step toward making sure you don’t is to know you deserve better. On that note, here are some signs you’re not getting the respect you deserve in the workplace.
Your Boss Isn’t Helping You Grow
One thing your company owes you for all the hard work you put in is the chance to develop your skills and discover your interests. So, a boss who respects you will mentor you, set you up with a mentor, sponsor classes, ask you if there’s a new type of assignment you want to take on, or do something else to nurture your growth. After all, the reason you took the job in the first place was to advance your career.
“When an employer does not offer support, or worse, seeks to capitalize on an employee who is attempting to cultivate skills, that is often a sign of an employer who does not value the individual,” Elizabeth M. Minei, Ph,D, career coach and Founder and C.E.O. of
EMinei Consulting, tells Bustle.
You’re Being Paid Less Than The Industry Standard
Underpaying someone is literally devaluing them. “Being paid well below industry standards is one of the first clear markers of an employee being taken advantage of, and is one of the more demoralizing situations in a workplace,” says Minei. It’s hard to know what pay is fair for you, but one way to start is to ask your coworkers or friends in similar jobs. You can also
take a survey on Payscale.com to see what people with a similar position, location, and qualifications tend to get paid.
You’re Getting All The Work Because You’re “The Best”
It may seem contradictory, but if your coworkers are always talking about how you’re the best worker there, they may actually be devaluing you — if they’re using that as a reason to give you more work than other people, says Minei. If you’re going to take on more work than others (or than you were previously), you should at least be paid more.
You’re Not Included In Meetings
Leaving someone out of meetings relevant to their job conveys that their opinion isn’t important and they don’t deserve to know what’s going on. Even if you’re at a lower level and don’t need to contribute to a meeting, attending meetings is how you learn how things operate so that you can advance. “Even at a junior level, a manager or co worker who wants the best for you and cares about your engagement and career will make you feel included by inviting you to join conversations about your specific tasks,” Aurora Meneghello, Founder of
Repurpose Your Purpose, tells Bustle.
You’re Left To Your Own Devices
A good manager will invite you to ask questions, offer support, and clear up any confusion you have. They won’t give you vague instructions then get mad at you for not reading their mind. “Asking an assistant to make travel arrangements without locking the travel timeline and budget and then blaming the assistant when cancellations need to be made and refunds are not possible” is one common form of workplace disrespect, says Meneghello. “You want to work for and with people who not only take responsibility for their roles, but understand that it is by mutual support and cooperation that a company thrives.”
Unqualified People Criticize Your Choices
It’s fair for your boss to be giving you feedback, but someone below you or from an entirely different department should respect that you know what you’re doing better than they do. Especially if you're a woman or person of color, beware
privileged people who attempt to explain your own job to you. “This type of intrusion will undermine your credibility, chip at your confidence, and waste yours and everybody else's time,” says Meneghello.
Your Boss Never Gives Feedback
A boss who never tells you what they think of your work is setting you up for failure, Bob Fleshner, Founder and President of
EPICOACH, tells Bustle. You can’t improve if you don’t even know what you need to work on. And if you don’t know what you’re doing well, you can become unnecessarily insecure.
“This is a particularly insidious means of disrespect because it’s not immediately clear that it’s even happening,” says Fleshner. “But, over time, the failure to provide feedback allows the boss to demand more and more work in ever shortening time frames with the assurance that you will respond because you have begun to question whether you are performing well.”
If you notice any of these things happening, talk to your boss or coworkers, and if they’re not receptive, start looking for a new job.