Does it feel like you are being taken advantage of at work?

You probably don’t want to complain about it. You feel lucky to have a challenging job that you mostly enjoy. Society rewards people who are productive and you’ve always been the kind of person to hunker down and give a task all you’ve got. You love doing your best and don’t mind going the extra mile.

Yet, is it beginning to seem that the more you give the less you have to show for it?

It is important to pay attention to how you feel. If you try to ignore your concerns, you might end up resentful of your work and coworkers. To maintain a healthy perspective and productive work environment, take a look at these five signs that you may be getting taken advantage of at work:

  1. You Frequently Do Tasks Outside of Your Job Description

A job description is just a general starting point for what you will do every day at work. Of course, you may discover with time that there are plenty of related activities that fall outside of your usual job description. However, if people regularly ask you to do things well outside your own job or skills, then you probably need to look at what is happening. Signs to look for include:

  • Doing personal assistant type tasks for a superior
  • Taking over tasks, especially when a co-worker leaves and isn’t replaced
  • Spending an inordinate amount of time on tasks unrelated to your job
  • Constantly changing tasks to meet someone else’s needs
  • Regularly clocking overtime because of understaffing

Some jobs do require more flexibility than others. However, you should be able to work within your job description a majority of the time. Otherwise you are likely to feel taken advantage of at work.

  1. You Are Always Available

Do you feel like you have to check your email before bed and first thing when you wake up? Are you unable to turn off on the weekends because your boss expects you to check in? Are your loved ones annoyed that your never available to them?  While today’s technology offers many benefits, one significant drawback is the assumption that employees are always available. Employers may expect to reach you at all times of the day and night.

Obviously, some jobs legitimately call for such connectedness. For example, an on-call doctor can’t just turn off alerts. However, many jobs inappropriately bleed over into employee personal time unnecessarily. You may need to set some boundaries.

  1. Others Take Credit for Your Work

Many occupations rely on collaboration and teamwork. You don’t need credit for every single idea that you have or individual task you complete. However, it isn’t wrong or arrogant to expect credit where credit is due. More importantly, your boss or coworkers should not steal or minimize your contributions.

If you have a boss who consistently takes credit for your actions and ideas, then you’re being taken advantage of at work. Likewise, it is a problem if co-workers regularly take your credit, and your boss allows it to happen.  How difficult would it be for you to advocate for yourself when you see this happening?

  1. Your Work Load Grew, Your Paycheck Didn’t

Do you receive proper compensation for your work? Sometimes you start out in a job with certain expectations that match your wage. However, over time, your company or superiors may realize that you can handle a large variety of responsibilities. When the tasks add up, your wage should properly compensate for the tasks you do regularly.

Similarly, if you have been working for a long period of time, but have never received a raise or promotion, you might need to have a conversation with your boss about your value to the establishment and appropriate pay.

  1. There are no Signs of Appreciation

Nobody has to thank you for doing your job. However, appreciation is a sign of respect. Co-workers and bosses should at least thank you occasionally, especially when you help with something unusual. You should expect and receive recognition when a job is particularly well done. You may witness others being acknowledged while you get ignored. If this is the case, it might be time to check in with your boss to let them know you notice. Alternatively, you may be in an environment where everyone is treated poorly. If so, it might be time to move on to a healthier, more respectful workplace.


All in all, if you are being taken advantage of at work, it’s worth determining whether there might be an underlying reason. For example, you may need help setting boundaries or being more assertive. You cannot always change those around you, but you can certainly change your response to it. Learn more about how individual therapy or group therapy could help – contact me soon for a consultation.

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