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How do you voice your opinions and stop acting like a third wheel?


DarkCh0c0
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Hi everyone,

Hope you're having a great Friday!

I want to ask if any of you have tips on voicing your concerns, opinions, boundaries, and teaching people how to treat you.

When I was with my ex, I was treated like a third wheel. Didn't really have a say and my needs didn't matter.

At work, I'm also currently being treated like a third wheel. They want to manage me as an employee without giving the benefits of being one (I'm a contractor). My manager favours my colleague and likes to give her more credit and hands her any HR task she can do even though it's mine. And when a task is mine, my colleague finds a reason to do it herself ("it's related to marketing, I can do it"). After working here for a year, I have not felt appreciated like with my previous clients... I wasn't even invited to the company retreat last week because they wanted to save money on inviting me and I had to take the hint that I wasn't invited (was told later explicitly that they didn't want to spend money on me and my previous colleague). Aside from that, my manager discriminated against me and attempted to degrade and humiliate me (I stood up for myself though! And I learned it's the reason why previous colleagues would leave effective same day in a rush as soon as they got an opportunity). She also becomes a micro manager at times and this frustrates me. I had voiced my concerns to her before, but she points her finger back at me without taking responsibility for her inefficient management and lack of communication skills. Bright side is I've been job searching and interviewing with some amazing bigger and more global companies recently, so I'm sensing I'm close to getting a great job.

But I don't know how to teach people that I'm not just an extra wheel...if that makes any sense here. I'm afraid of voicing a disagreement and I'm a people pleaser. 

Do you have any tips for when you started expressing your voice and taught/showed people how to treat you? Any inspiring lines to remember?

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Unfortunately there is a big difference between speaking up and setting boundaries in personal relationships.  You have that security that those people close to you are emotionally invested and care about your concerns, whatever they may be.

As far as work goes, there isn't that emotional component to protect you and it can be ruthless.  "No good deed goes unpunished" comes to mind.  I experienced similar unfair events and witnessed it happening not only to me but to others in different departments.   It's a hard hurdle to manage and to be honest, it can be nothing more than playing the mind game.  How does one earn the respect and say just enough hoping to be heard and not too much so it doesn't come back to bite you in the **s.  If fairness was a culture in a (toxic) workplace then we'd all feel safe to be vocal about it.

I am a little jaded here about this topic and all I can say is your situation does sound rather toxic.  I would keep looking for other employment but in the meantime consider before you are about to leave to take that risk and test them by speaking up.  I did, on my way out mind you.  Not all at once but slowly and subtly began speaking up in more pointed terms.  I was ready to leave so I had nothing to lose.  I confirmed what I suspected, that change was never going to happen.  No regrets.

Edited by reinventmyself
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19 minutes ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

I had voiced my concerns to her before

This is the key. Actions speak louder than words. Your general actions and demeanor is what sets the tone and pace.

Talking at people is (sadly) often recommended but in most cases it's in one ear and out the other. Hold yourself differently in mindset, actions, tone and demeanor.

Unfortunately many people think the cure for people not listening (changing) is to talk even more at them. Change comes from within in terms of mindset and actions.

Good luck with the job. Hope it works out.

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I like what Wiseman wrote and I am going to totally contradict myself here.  Apologies.

Sometimes it calls for keeping your head down and doing your best. . for yourself.  Try to block out all the noise. Often times it's those hard, consistent workers who don't draw attention to themselves that get recognized.  

I was this person for almost 2 decades.  It wasn't until the end that I started speaking up when things became unbearable.  But for the most part, the earlier years I was recognized for being a hard worker, amenable at that.  It's not an easy balancing act for sure.

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Regarding the micromanaging, do you have a system that helps you remember tasks? What you describe is worrying as it points to someone they're looking to let go.

I'm curious what made you feel discriminated and humiliated as such events can impact how we feel about a workplace and how we perceive those interactions in a strong way. It has a ripple effect and how we feel welcome and appreciated in any given environment afterwards.

I'd start polishing up your resume and find another position asap. Also, reflect a bit on why they seem to be treating you this way. 

It's also very difficult to feel in constant competition with a colleague who may be vying for attention from the boss all the time. When in situations like this let others have center stage. 

Take some management courses to brush up on how to speak with people or handle conflict. There are courses and workshops to help with this. I'm very sorry this is happening. Try to remove yourself from the conflict that's going on. Once we feel someone has damaged that respect and trust in a working environment it's takes awhile to rebuild and I think you're feeling very discouraged.

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Some people have a nasty tendency where, no matter what you do, they think your time is a given. And not something you give to them. Whether its a professional or personal relationships, it happens. For example, are you a "coat hangar"? Somebody who is there no matter what? Because, again, people tend not to appreciate that. As one of my friends say "You need to appear to be busy even if you arent busy". Admittedly, he overexagarates his "busyness" by a lot. But its a nice advice to make people know that your time is valuable. They want to micromanage you at work? "Oh well, you know, as a contractor I have a lots of work now, we will see what I can do about your task". Say that even if you plan on doing something right away. 

I struggle sometimes myself. Where people assume, because of the nature of my job, I am available a lot. Because I can just write something into the computer even in the middle of the night, and magically make some money. What I am trying to say is that people wont appreciate you by your availabilty to do the job. Not unless you present it to them how your job and your time are valuable.

Here is one article that might help you

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-stop-being-a-people-pleaser-5184412

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5 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

I'm curious what made you feel discriminated and humiliated as such events can impact how we feel about a workplace and how we perceive those interactions in a strong way. It has a ripple effect and how we feel welcome and appreciated in any given environment afterwards.

I decided to update my hourly freelance rate for 2022. I send an email and that triggers her a *** ton. I had no idea that she had that other side, but I had previous colleagues who were experienced and smart resign effective same day and there's a high turnover in the department which made me doubt a red flag somewhere. So there it was.. she gets triggered by certain things and she put me through a one hour phone call whereby she discriminanted against me and attempted to humiliate and harass me so that I say "okay, I'll keep my rate as it is". I didn't back out as I know the value of my work. She accepted my new rate later because she didn't want me to leave. Whenever I tell people what she told me, their eyes would widen and they would tell me to stop working for them asap.

But I'm an adult, I need the constant income and I wasn't sure of my next career step cause I thought that was the place whereby I'm staying for the next two years. So I stayed while prepping my resume and figuring out my next career move. I didn't want to job hop again. I've been getting interviews with great companies recently, and I feel that somewhere out there I'll be valued as an employee.

13 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

What you describe is worrying as it points to someone they're looking to let go.

I'm aware. My friend think it's the same. But I think my manager has triggers cause her micromanaging comes and goes.

I can't lie that my performance took a hit after the things I was told... But I decided to have a talk with my manager whereby I mentioned how her behaviour changed since my rate increased. I wasn't treated like that before. But she refused to acknowledge it. I won't go into details as to why, but let's say she's trying to have a cake and eat it too situation.

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, reinventmyself said:

Sometimes it calls for keeping your head down and doing your best. . for yourself.  Try to block out all the noise.

I do. That's how I lasted until now. The toxic behaviour started in January due to my comment above.

Edited by DarkCh0c0
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17 hours ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

Do you have any tips for when you started expressing your voice and taught/showed people how to treat you? Any inspiring lines to remember?

The first person we need to teach is ourselves.

Included in our lessons is the recognition that those who would mistreat us are not exactly tuned into us like some Oprah show audience--all open and willing to absorb and learn.

So step one is to identify who is teachable and who is not.

Those who are not would be a waste of time to try teaching, and so the only lesson necessary there is to walk away.

This doesn't mean we must walk immediately and in a huff when that won't serve us. Unteachable people can still be transactionally useful when your interests align and you've dropped the goal of trying to influence them beyond your capacity for kindness.

So in your example case, depersonalize. You're collecting needed pay while you operate inside a position that was already designated as low investment, high turnover, long before you got there. It's the chair where they've always dumped their low value work, and anyone who's been unfortunate enough to land that chair has read the same inputs as you, and they've moved on.

Is this a 'lesson' to these people? No, it's anticipated--and they don't care. So they're not teachable, and you're liberated from attempting to please them beyond delivering what your own internal work ethic prompts you to provide in exchange for your pay--up until the time you are able to leave.

AND you're already paving your own way toward that door. Yay you!

Good job! Take your emotions out of this one, as those are valuable and these peeps aren't worth the investment. Remain pleasant, and make yourself proud of your professionalism as you end your contract and you appreciate the "Don't" model that this culture has provided for you.

If you want a giggle, picture little black boxes over the faces of these people like the "Don't Wear This" photo in a cheesy tabloid.

Keep your focus on your joy in liberation as you exit this place for the last time. Meanwhile, 'teach' people what pride and resilience look like when you're unfazed by the rude and unworthy.

Head high, and (((BIG HUG))!

 

Edited by catfeeder
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@catfeederthank you. I've been trying to distance myself from this and focus on my work, but my performance was affected nonetheless at first. I no longer feel like a valued worker.

Everyone who left here left for better and bigger companies. It's been difficult hearing management bash everyone's performance behind closed doors and sometimes I'm behind these closed doors and I try to put a stop to the BS. It's been difficult to hear managers wanting to use a different recruiter license to find out if any of their employees says "open to work" on linked in, and I'm tired of hearing how they want to take credit for everyone who leaves for a better place... I'm so tired. They take almost zero responsibility to their inefficient management of people and resources. We've had redundancies in November, and now the sister company is struggling. It's a lot somedays.

Guess I'll keep laying low.

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25 minutes ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

@catfeeder sometimes I'm behind these closed doors and I try to put a stop to the BS.

Yes, lay low and keep your eyes on the future. While their practices and culture are distasteful, it's pointless swimming upstream in this type of environment. It just contributes to burnout but won't effect any changes.

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7 hours ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

@catfeederthank you. I've been trying to distance myself from this and focus on my work, but my performance was affected nonetheless at first. I no longer feel like a valued worker.

Everyone who left here left for better and bigger companies. It's been difficult hearing management bash everyone's performance behind closed doors and sometimes I'm behind these closed doors and I try to put a stop to the BS. It's been difficult to hear managers wanting to use a different recruiter license to find out if any of their employees says "open to work" on linked in, and I'm tired of hearing how they want to take credit for everyone who leaves for a better place... I'm so tired. They take almost zero responsibility to their inefficient management of people and resources. We've had redundancies in November, and now the sister company is struggling. It's a lot somedays.

Guess I'll keep laying low.

I understand. I'd avoid making this about 'them' and focus internally.

Put it in perspective, it's a TEMP gig. 

Testing different cultures to find a good fit is how to USE temp work.

Sure, you may have held ideals when you first entered this place, but you've since learned that a nasty, petty culture is NOT where you want to build your career.

So? Leave them to it, and shift your mind onto aspects of your experience that you CAN control.

Consider a short meditation each morning and throughout the day where you tap into your highest intelligence and uplift yourself. Form your own mental bubble of protection, and adopt cheerful imperviousness to external influence. That's how we find the 'gifts' inside such temporary situations. They make us grow.

And why concern yourself with being badmouthed, when that's all these people do, anyway, to everyone? Don't buy into the importance of that, and you won't be distracted by it. "Hater's gonna hate." ...So what?

Whenever we feel like Alice in Wonderland dropping into a weird acid trip of a culture, it's time to embrace the inner strengths we didn't know we owned and fortify ourselves with pride in the life skills this can build--unless we waste it on getting caught up in wrong ideas of what is important.

Head high, luv! You CAN get yourself through this, and you will thank your Self for your resilience and compassion for people who don't know better than what they have shown you.

 

 

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9 hours ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

It's been difficult to hear managers wanting to use a different recruiter license to find out if any of their employees says "open to work" on linked in, and I'm tired of hearing how they want to take credit for everyone who leaves for a better place... I'm so tired. They take almost zero responsibility to their inefficient management of people and resources. We've had redundancies in November, and now the sister company is struggling. It's a lot somedays.

Guess I'll keep laying low.

I think you're taking all this political nonsense to heart too much. Lay low indeed.  In that sense - the silly comments, annoying stuff - it is "just" a job.  

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Since everyone has already given good advice about business, I'll mention one thing about romance. My husband is a really great partner, but when we first started dating, there was a flaw on just this one occasion, and he was teachable. We went to an amusement park, and he, I guess, had a tradition of walking really fast to the next ride to get in line. So he'd be far ahead and then wait for me, but I was still annoyed he hadn't slowed to my past. I believe I did things and acted in the perfect way. With a mellow tone, I said, "I'll tell you what, why don't we just meet at the end of the day at six o'clock at the exit, because as fast as you're walking and with this crowd, we're bound to lose each other."

He said, "No, no. I'll slow down." And he did.

This told him that he would lose my company if he didn't make changes to benefit us as a couple.

Normally, he's great, so this action was in the minority. 

Partners will think more highly of you when you have standards and don't act like a doormat. And you can ask for things without blaming and being belligerent. If I'd said: "You're walking too fast and it's pissing me off." That would've ruined our mood for the day. Instead, we enjoyed the rest of the day.

Remember that people pleasers always get themselves in messes. Either it's screwing yourself, or screwing someone else when you're pleasing someone who has a low priority request over someone else who should be a higher priority to you at that moment.

Good luck.

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3 hours ago, Batya33 said:

Lay low indeed.  In that sense - the silly comments, annoying stuff - it is "just" a job.  

I have been laying low for months, but sometimes it gets frustrating.

It is just a job indeed.

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1 minute ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

I have been laying low for months, but sometimes it gets frustrating.

It is just a job indeed.

Oh yes of course it's frustrating.  It might be less so if you practice putting things in perspective a bit more.

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So when you find yourself getting all caught up in being upset about the emotional injustices at work figure out what rituals or behaviors will work to get those feelings more in the periphery. I’ve been doing a lot more 4-7-8 breathing (Weil method - Google it) because it helps me rebalance especially when my child is driving me crazy and I can’t take real space.  And every night I think of three things I’m thankful for.
 Sometimes it’s that breakfast will be happening in about 8 hours. I don’t believe in dismissing feelings just finding ways to react to them that helps to put them in their proper place so you don’t do something  you regret or burn out. 

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