“Do you want to stay a bit later?” We’ve all had this happen to us before; after all, setting boundaries at work is not easy.
Our boss approaches our desk or sends us a message asking if we can work until late, typically right before the day is over. It almost seems like a backhanded question if you think about it. They ask as if we have a choice, but let’s be honest. They say it in such a way that makes you feel you have no choice.
Before you know it, you blurt out a hesitant “yes” and, with a big sigh, text your partner that you won’t be home in time for dinner. You knew you had things to do, but the culture at work makes you feel as if you have to bend to their every will.
This type of permissive behavior has made companies think like this is okay. It’s time to cut the crap and the mentality that we need to do every little request and task our boss, and colleagues ask of us.
Yes, we get paid to do our jobs, but we do not owe them anything. We are offering a service to them and are getting compensated as a result. Who would get the job done if not you or another colleague?
This is why it is essential to set boundaries at work. You are worthy. You are a valuable asset to any company and deserve to be treated with respect.
The importance of boundaries
Boundaries are what help set the foundation for work-life balance. We cannot solely focus on work.
We must make time for our families, leisure, vacation time, and anything else that makes us feel whole. In fact, it was found that “maintaining work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace.”
I know it can be frightening to put your foot down, but if you are not stern, unfortunately, Corporate America will just walk all over you. The occasional overtime is okay, but when is it too much?
It is important to note that work-life balance looks different for everyone.
What may be OK for one person may be unacceptable for another. This is why you must be clear with your expectations and boundaries and speak your mind to ensure your voice is heard. Some of us are naturally people-pleasers, which can lead us to put others’ needs above our own.
Boundaries you can consider are not attending “work events” past a certain time, not speaking about your personal life, not answering work calls after hours, taking your entire lunch hour, and not working on weekends. The list is endless, but you must reflect and see what is non-negotiable.
While you may get judged in Spanish for setting these boundaries, you are not asking for anything impossible. After all, what matters is you get your job done productively and respectfully.