Martyrdom is not a path to workplace advancement

Q. I have sacrificed a lot for my current job and company. Unfortunately, I don't see an equal amount of reward coming from my boss or organization. She seems to take all the extra work I do as expected. If I'm going to work this hard, I want some guarantee of promotions and higher salaries. How do I stop being taken for granted?

A. If you want to avoid being taken for granted at work, you need to give up the myth that just working hard and doing a good job is the golden ticket to being promoted and paid more.

Being a martyr is truly dumb because the only one who suffers when you sacrifice is you. Everyone around you at work simply benefits from your extra effort since it makes their job easier without having to do anything for you.

The marketplace works on the idea that you give something and someone gives you something back. If we give ourselves away without an agreement about a return benefit, others will be happy to take advantage of you.

Ask yourself if you have ever put together a plan inside your own head about your ideal situation at work. Imagine you have a magic wand and you could invent the job you'd most like to do and the salary you'd earn. Now imagine a path between where you are now and where you would like to end up.

The next step involves sitting down with your boss and communicating your goals. Your boss is in the best position to tell you what you need to do to reach your dream job. Your boss can also tell you if there is no way she or the company can offer you what you want.

Even if you get bad news from your boss, you now are prepared to do better planning. I've coached people who have spent over a decade at their jobs before they discovered they would never get the salary or position they wanted.

If your present employer doesn't have the budget, motivation or opportunity you crave, you will now be free to plan your destiny somewhere else. You won't vent, complain and work even harder, hoping you can force your job to become your dream.

The main ingredient you are missing isn't appreciation; it is a solid road map between where you are now and where you want to be. Once you have your map, you'll be back in control not waiting for your boss to hand you what you want.

The last word(s)

Q. I have a coworker who acts like he is a 3-year-old. Is there any good reason for an adult man to act like a preschooler at work?

A. Yes, many people learned to talk but never learned how to talk effectively. Just make sure that if he acts like a toddler, you don't join him.

(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)

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