As we climb up the corporate ladder sometimes we fail to examine where our career path has actually taken us. When you are tired and burnt out from work and busy looking after your home, spouse, family, bills, etc., you may not have taken the time to evaluate your career path or perhaps you are just too exhausted to do so.
Sometimes, we are so caught up with working so hard to impress our employer that we fail to realize that the employer has actually turned the tables and is really using us to their advantage instead, but how do we separate the wheat from the chafe, the good from the bad, etc. How do you know whether your employer is taking advantage of you or whether you are about ready to accept a job offer from an employer who may take advantage of you? What are the things you may want to know…that may help you to identify these advantageous employers?
Expects you to work overtime and/or long hours for free – Your boss earns 100k or more a year and expects you to work long hours for free although, your pay scale is no where near theirs. One person I know calculated out the total number of hours they worked by their salary and realized they were working for less than minimum wage because they worked so many extra hours for free. They found another job that paid $200.00 less per month, but doesn’t involve a stitch of overtime and are much happier.
Empty promises – You are promised everything from share options, to raises, to promotions, but nothing ever seems to materialize.
Shorts your pay on a regular basis – Sure a missed meal allowance or missed travel allowance is one thing, but shorting the number of hours you work, your vacation pay or your overtime pay is a totally different ball game.
Favoritism – If you find other employees are enjoying extra bonuses, extra days off with pay, extra stock options, raises, etc. you may want to investigate the reason why you are not on the receiving end of these bonuses. Sometimes the boss will have a set amount of raises to give out and they will give out your raise portion to another employee they favor over you, although you are just as hard working and dedicated as others are. Favoritism has been alive and well in the work place for years, especially in non-union companies.
No Incentive – No praise for a job well done, no raise, no promotion, nothing.
Turns the tables – Tells you that the company will pay overtime, but when you work overtime they only pay you straight time or no pay at all, etc. Try to make sure what was said verbally in the interview is translated into a written contract and thoroughly read what you are signing when you are hired.
Comparison – When an employee leaves some bosses haunt the new employee by constantly comparing their work to the person they replaced.
Unrealistic Expectations – You are expected to be a miracle worker, not to have a learning curve and handle the work load of two or three people. Whether you are a new employee replacing someone who has been on the job for 22 years or the company is downsizing and amalgamating job positions, sometimes bosses expect employees to go at a pace they can’t even accomplish themselves.
Dangerous Conditions - The company may be aware of dangerous conditions, slippery floors, etc., but does nothing to make sure they are repaired. Some people may think if they injure themselves they are covered by workman’s compensation and automatically will get well. Unfortunately, some injuries and pain will last a lifetime, you may want to ask yourself if it is worth the risk.
Under the Table – Otherwise known as getting paid in cash. Sure you may think I don’t have to declare income tax, but are you really doing yourself any favors in the long run when your employer is not paying benefits, contributing into your pension plan, etc.? What happens if you injure yourself on the job? Since you are getting paid in cash, do you know you are not considered an employee?
Clone – Plain and simple, your boss wants you to be them. They may not have a life, spend all their time at the office, work long hours for free, etc. and expect you to do the same.
Benefits – Not all benefit packages are created equal, a higher paying job with less benefits could be costing you more than a job that has slightly lower pay with excellent benefits.
Being Single – You can be viewed as not having a life, you are asked to work on all statutory holidays, weekends, etc. compared to your married coworkers.
Want to avoid jobs that involve working long hours or working overtime for free? It is best to say in the interview: “I’m planning to take some evening courses, does this job involve any overtime?” At that point you can ask how much overtime is involved, whether or not they pay for overtime, etc.?
Additional articles: Ten warning signs of a toxic boss