How to protect personal boundaries at work

March 22, 2022

Why personal boundaries are important at work

Personal space is inviolable - not only in relationships, but also at work. The efficiency of work depends on the integrity of internal boundaries - because you can fully concentrate on the work task only if you have inner peace. However, learning to recognize the invasion of personal space is not enough. You have to learn to protect it too.  

How to understand that personal boundaries are being violated

First of all, focus on your feelings. If it seems that you are underestimated, humiliated or used - there is a violation of the boundaries.

"Violators" most often do not consider your time, responsibilities and elementary ethics.

Here are examples of disrespect for your time:
  • You work in the evenings, at lunchtime and on weekends - for free and not on your own initiative
  • You spend your weekends on “holidays with colleagues”, even if you don’t feel like it
  • Answer calls and messages during non-working hours
  • You receive tasks with unrealistic deadlines - in order to be in time, you have to rework
  • Doing unnecessary work - for example, writing a report that no one will read
  • Constantly waiting for late colleagues - the meeting never starts on time
Your responsibilities can also be underestimated:
  • Your work is considered "not important" and/or uncomplicated by the company
  • Colleagues hand over their tasks to you simply because they cannot or do not want to complete them.
  • They demand something that is not included in the job description
  • Putting you in charge of a project without your consent
  • You are the one who always organizes the collection of money for a gift, runs out for lunch, sends letters and takes delivery from the courier
Alas, colleagues and management sometimes do not even consider ethics:
  • They demand illegal actions - spend money "past the cash desk", correct the numbers in the report
  • Constantly late and make you wait
  • Allow themselves offensive remarks directed at you
  • Raise their voice at you
  • They show “informal” interest in you, in other words, they harass you
All this is a violation of personal boundaries, and to endure is to give up self-respect. Here's what you need to learn to do.

How to protect your borders

Start by analyzing the situation by asking yourself the following questions:
  • What exactly causes discomfort?
  • How fair are the requirements/treatment towards me?
  • How should the "ideal self" act?
If an unpleasant situation is repeated often, the next time you will be ready for it or something like that.
Ask yourself - why did I allow my boundaries to be violated? Was he afraid of being fired, afraid of upsetting a colleague, or wanted to be "good"? Very often, the root cause is fear, but fears can and should be fought.
Think about what you are risking. Dismissal is not the end of the world, there is a lot of work: almost three million vacancies are open in Russia right now. Three million - isn't there a job for you among them?
If you're afraid to let someone down or ruin their opinion of you, tell yourself that it's impossible to be nice to everyone. Don't let yourself be manipulated.
Learn to say no. It is better to refuse immediately than to agree and then curse everything in the world, including yourself. Training helps - practice the ability to refuse spammers.

Express your opinion openly. If you don't like it, tell me about it, and be specific about what exactly you don't like. You will be surprised, but the phrases “I don’t like that you are talking to me in such a tone” or “I am very uncomfortable talking to you right now” work great.
You see a problem, offer solutions. For example: “Why do I always wash forgotten dishes? Let's set up a kitchen watch, I'll print out the schedule" or "Colleagues, if the task is urgent, write to me about it, and not just leave a note."
Consider the situation. Overtime, for example, is quite acceptable - when you need to help a beginner or when you yourself are a beginner. The main thing is that they do not become the norm.
Let's repeat it again:
Got a problem - tell me about it
Criticize - offer a solution
Learn the word "no"

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