How To Set Boundaries At Work

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It’s unfortunate that a few people can skew our views on the world. Most people that we encounter in life are wonderful. They’re nice. They’re kind. They have your best interests in mind when they’re interacting with you. They’re willing to help you. They’re willing to listen.

But once in awhile you’ll come across someone that is just not a good person. They’re mean. They’ve vindictive. Who knows what happened in their lives that made them this way.

Another unfortunate aspect of life is that it can be difficult to get away from these people. Let’s say you work at a place that you enjoy. But one or two people make things uncomfortable or difficult.

What can you do in these situations?

Here are a few thoughts…

1. Review The Employee Handbook

Boundaries could be needed for all sorts of things. If you’re in immediate trouble it’s good to get out of the situation. If you’re not in immediate need, but need to make changes, consult the handbook. It’s good to know the rules the company has set out. It’s probably not the first time an employee has encountered a bad situation. It’s unfortunate, but usually employers have taken the time to think things through. They want the good employees to feel safe, respected and heard.

2. Talk To Your Boss

Next, talk to your boss. Explain the situation. Reiterate that you’re looking to do a good job for them. You want what’s best for the company, but that means that you need to feel that you’re able to do your best. Try to come to the meeting with a proposed solution. Think about it from their perspective. They likely want to keep you on board. But they also have to think about the entire company. Try to find a solution that is good for all parties.

3. Rearrange Your Schedule and Routines

You’re in control. You can probably figure out a way to create a boundary with a person that is causing you stress. Maybe you run into them walking into the office or at lunch or leaving the office. They make comments that bother you. It could be anything. Or maybe you’re working on a project with them.

Look for what you control in the situation. You can’t really force them to change. But you can probably change something in your routine that alters the situation. If it’s a project, talk to your boss about it. See if there is a way to change things up. Tell them what’s happening. Focus on trying to find the right solution for the company.

4. Discuss Priorities With Your Boss

Your boss could be piling on too much work. Not that they do it intentionally. They see you doing great work. They see that you can be relied upon. They ask you to do little things. But those add up.

It could be that you need to set boundaries with your boss.

Talk to them about priorities. They understand time management. Make them discuss the most important tasks that you need to work on. They will likely start to see that things have crept into your daily routine that shouldn’t be there. They will likely take the lead on cutting things out that aren’t important.

5. Look For Another Job

If it comes to it, look for another job. If you feel that you’ve done what you can to change the situation, but it’s just not changing, then look for a way out. It can be difficult. But you’re a good person and good worker. There are always opportunities for folks like you.

Final Thoughts

Talking to the people you work with is the key to boundaries. Assert what’s important to you. It’s okay to be honest with people. If you’re doing good work the rest will usually fall into place as long as you express what you want in return for your effort. And if that’s not be respected, you’re better off going somewhere else.

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