7 Telltale Signs That Your Workplace Is Taking Advantage Of You

We all want to make a good impression at work. And so we tend to put our best foot forward when we’re at the office. There’s nothing  wrong with going the extra mile for a job that you love, but if you overwork yourself, some employers and even coworkers will try to take advantage of you. 

If you notice that the work that you do is way beyond your job description, then it may be time to set some boundaries with the people in your workplace. 

Here are seven telltale signs that your workplace is taking advantage of you:

1. You’re given more work for the same pay.

The first and most obvious sign that you are being taken advantage of at work, is when your workload is steadily increasing, but your salary stays stagnant. Your workplace is probably taking advantage of you. The longer you work for a particular company, the more experience you gain and the more productive you become. Your manager will naturally want to give you more responsibilities to complement your new skills and knowledge. 

At some point, however, your employer should compensate you for taking on these extra responsibilities. If your company refuses to pay you what you are worth, then it’s a clear sign that this company is playing you. 

2. You dread tasks that you used to love

Another telltale sign is that you dread taking on tasks that you used to genuinely enjoy in the past. 

Research shows that overworking can make you less satisfied with your job.

It only makes sense that if you’re doing more of the same tasks every day, you are bound to reach a tipping point. You may lose interest in your work altogether. 

3. Facing Unrealistic Expectations

Occasionally taking on more work or consenting to putting in a couple more hours in the office is one of the best ways you can get noticed as a valuable employee. However, when your employers stop asking for your permission and simply start expecting you to put in more work, that’s a clear indication that you’re being exploited. This can escalate to a point where you’ll feel like you’re working multiple jobs. 

When you’re taking on other people’s responsibilities, it can result in extreme burnout and stress. 

4. Breaks Are Almost Non-Existent

If you’re putting in a ton of extra work in the office, having a safe space in the workplace where you can just relax, breathe, and recharge is essential. 

Nevertheless, if your employer barks at you for getting a quick lunch or if they never permit you to go on well-deserved vacations, that is a massive red flag that you are being taking advantage of. A smart boss understands the necessity of taking time off, regardless of what field you work in. It’s better for staff productivity and the bottom line, according to all of the research.

5. The Value of Your Work Is Constantly Being Minimized

Oftentimes, in cases that involve sexism in the workplace, employees — often women — are left out of important discussions or projects simply because of their sex/gender. If your employer is constantly ignoring your ideas or (even worse) they keep taking credit for your work and execution, that could be another clear sign that you are being taken advantage of.

6. Public Chastisement and Criticism

“Praise in public, criticize in private.” 

That’s how the saying goes — a good employer knows better than to berate an employee in front of their colleagues. When time comes that an employee needs to be talked to, it is done inside the employer’s office, where no one else is present to witness the exchange.

Shaming people is a way of emotionally manipulating them into doing things that you want them to do. If your manager is constantly berating or ridiculing you in front of other employees, he/she is taking advantage of you. 

7. Efforts Are Left Unrecognized

It’s not always a salary or promotion that makes a difference; sometimes it’s simply expressing open gratitude for an employee’s efforts. You can’t expect a ‘thank you’ or a ‘good job’ every time you complete a task, but it can also be demotivating if you never receive appreciation.

When coworkers or employers make it appear like anyone could do your job and there is no need for acknowledgement, it can go even farther into insulting efforts.

How to Break the Cycle

It is necessary to take measures well before the situation gets messy. You could perhaps begin by communicating with your manager and establishing some ground rules. You may choose to limit your workload or effectively articulate which responsibilities are yours versus others’ to own. Perhaps you may request setting a schedule that doesn’t keep you glued to your desk. These are just some examples.

Consequently, when others try to pile their trash on you, learn to throw it back. Explain to your colleague that you will only offer assistance when your own job is finished, and that you expect them to handle the majority of the work. Clarify your situation with your employer too —  make sure you have his or her support.

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash


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