How often we find ourselves in situations where others continuously walk all over us. It is then that the feeling of low self-worth kicks in, and we become accustomed to being human punching bags, especially at the office.
You may not know it yet, bitches, but that initial step that lands you in the ‘human robot’ category are those first few times (usually during your probation period at a new job) when you play the ‘Yes Man’…or ‘-Woman’…or in this case ‘-Bitch’.
Boss on day 1: “Suzy, can you please pull together the latest finance reports?”
Suzy, full of enthusiasm: “Certainly!”
Boss on day 2: “Suzy, can you set up a meeting for me and Joe?”
Suzy, clearly recognizing a duty: “Yes, can I book if for 2pm on Thursday?”
Boss on day 3: “Suzy, I know it’s not your job, but can you grab me a coffee?”
Suzy, in all kindness: “Sure. One sugar, no milk, right?”
Boss on day 4: “Suzy, can you pick-up my kids from school?”
Suzy, rather confused: “Uh…sure…”
Boss on day 5: “Suzy, where’s my morning coffee, did you forget to make it?”
Suzy, confused and now feeling unnecessarily guilty: “…sorry… (Bitch)”
How quickly a favour turns into an expectation.
The Bitching Guilt Factor
We feel so lucky to have landed a job in a market that is currently limited in stock, that we don’t mind tending to tedious and tiresome duties that were never mentioned when the contract was drafted. Where did all these new job expectations and responsibilities come from?
Too often companies hide behind that “this company retains the right to add duties to your job agreement” line, so ingeniously placed in our contracts and written in a tongue that only an educated lawyer would understand. Instead of arguing that the additional work exceeds our current work capacity, we merely smile woefully and go forth to work overtime (mostly unpaid).
The Assertive Bitch’s Solution
All it takes is a bit of ‘standing up to yourself’. I know, I know; easier said than done. Fact is, bosses get what they want because they are intimidating. The rest of us are simply forced to do as we are told, fearing that talking back will land us in the dog box.
Luckily, the fear of losing your job or falling prey to bad office politics is just that – a fear. The trick is to remember that there are unions and organisations that regulate poor work conditions. In South Africa we refer to the CCMA, an unbiased organisations that acts as the middle-man between disgruntled employees and their employers.
Once you manage to eliminate even a small part of your ‘bossophobia’, start politely communicating your feelings to the right superior (and yes, there are wrong ones, those with vindictive gossipy personalities). Embrace the art of assertiveness!
‘You can’t be scared of your boss if you want to be successful…Find ways to interact with the person in charge. This takes effort and might be uncomfortable, but it’s worth it.’ – Andrew G. Rosen, author of Bossophobia: How to Overcome Fear of Your Boss
The Polite Bitch’s Promise
When you finally scrape enough courage together to talk to your boss or senior, the best line of defense is to be as polite a bitch as possible. Never, and I know it’s hard, but never lose your temper and let it show. Don’t swear. Don’t shout. Don’t get aggressive.
This doesn’t mean you cannot call out their faults or threaten to leave the company. You just have to do so in a polite, respectful way. It’s not about being a negative and sarcastic bitch all the time. It’s about utilising those clever skills of a Queen B, namely:
- analyzing situations to a T in mere seconds,
- picking the utmost perfect moments, and
- focusing your wit to speedily deliver mountains of information in only a few words.
Senior employees aren’t always aware of the full effects that their ‘big’ decisions can have, so if you notice something, speak up! Balance your skills of assertiveness with your arsenal of bitch tools: analyse, pick your moments, and decide the best way to deliver your blow – and politeness does have its perks.
Text: Andy Moller