Some companies establish a culture of respect and employee appreciation. Others, not so much. But if you land in the latter camp, you might quickly come to find yourself miserable on the job. Here are a few telltale signs that your employer is taking advantage of you -- and how to put a stop to it.
1. Your workload keeps increasing -- but your salary doesn't follow suit
The more time you spend working for a given employer, the more skills you're apt to pick up. So, it's natural that your workload increases as your manager sees what you're capable of. But at some point in time, you should be compensated for taking on all of that extra work, so if you're putting in more of an effort than ever but can't remember the last time you got a raise, it's a sign that your company isn't playing fair.
2. Working nights and weekends has become a given
We all need to burn the midnight oil every so often to meet deadlines and keep up during busy periods on the job. But if working nights and weekends has become the norm for you, and not the exception, it's a sign that your company has not only come to expect too much, but cares little about your work-life balance.
3. You're constantly doing other people's work
In any given job scenario, you'll likely be called upon to tackle tasks that technically fall outside your realm of responsibility. But if you come to find that you're consistently doing other's people jobs, and no one seems to have a problem with that, it's a sign that your company doesn't care that the situation isn't fair. (Incidentally, it also speaks volumes about your coworkers who are willing to sit back and let you pick up their slack.)
Breaking the cycle
If your company is taking advantage of you and your work ethic, it's time to do something about it before the situation truly gets out of hand. You can start by sitting down with your boss and setting some boundaries. These could involve limiting your workload, better defining which tasks are yours versus other people's to own, and establishing a schedule that doesn't leave you perpetually chained to your desk.
Next, learn to push back when others try to dump on you. The next time your coworkers ask for help, explain that you're only willing to give it once your own work is done, and that you expect them to do most of the work at hand. Reaffirm this stance with your boss as well -- and make sure to get your manager's buy-in.
Finally, start making (reasonable) money-related demands that allow you to get paid fairly for your efforts. If you consistently put in 20% more time than the average person in your position, you may not get a 20% salary boost -- but you might snag a 5% raise if you make a compelling case to your boss.
No matter what tactics you employ to prevent your company from taking advantage of you, don't make the mistake of sitting back and doing nothing. If you go that route, you may reach a point where you start to resent your employer and burn out simultaneously. And a hard worker like you deserves better.