If you’ve worked somewhere for a long time, or are used to poor and disrespectful working conditions, it can be hard to realize if you’re being respected, or if this is simply “how it always is”. So I wanted to take an opportunity to blog about what respect at work looks like.
You deserve to be respected. Being disrespected, especially in subtle ways, can be difficult to spot. It’s also insidious. Once you realize you’re being disrespected, you’ll see more and more areas where your contributions aren’t valued.
1. You don’t know if/when help will arrive
There’s no shame in asking for help, and in many jobs you need to escalate issues to other teams or individuals who have the responsibility and ability to fix them. That’s normal. However, if you ask for help and are left hanging, especially if the issue is customer-facing and you are also the one who has the placate the customer, or help is given in throw away lines or cryptic messages, then you are not being respected and more importantly your business’ customers are not being respected.
Things happen. And it’s possible departments and individuals are busy, or overwhelmed. However, if this is the case it needs to be addressed. I think we all know that corporate environments often don’t lend themselves to full staffing levels or even fixing issues. But if another department or individual’s overwhelm is affecting your work, it’s all right to say so.
And if someone helps you only when they “want” to, or you can’t count on a vital partner for help when it’s needed (or worse yet, they gaslight you about needing help and “fixing” things), then that’s a clear sign you’re not being respected.
2. Your boundaries aren’t respected
If you set a boundary, for example asking to be emailed rather than have someone walk up to your desk, or even using inter-office messaging systems, and an individual never honors that boundary, then they’re not respecting you. An organization with a culture of respect will honor and understand your boundaries.
This also goes for having to work through lunches or breaks, or not getting them at all. You deserve rest and a breather. If you’re not getting that, you’re not being respected.
3. You aren’t provided what you need to do your job
If you make a request for something you need to do your job, then the person you’re asking needs to either provide what you need or explain in clear reasons why you’re not receiving it. Waiting for months, even years, and never receiving what you need, especially if it’s vital information or accommodations, means that you are not respected.
Taken alone any one of these things could be an issue to be quickly explained and resolved. However, put together, they’re a signal that your work wellness isn’t a priority for your employer, and that’s not good for you.