Do you have a bad boss? Is your employer taking advantage of you? What is the one question you should ask before accepting that new job position?

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


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. coconews
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 08:59:20

    Although, you are a dedicated and hard working employee; do you work for a company/boss who takes advantage of you? Have you ever quit a job because the company/boss took advantage of you?

  2. coconews
    Aug 07, 2008 @ 09:07:38

    One time a woman boss told me in an interview that she wasn’t sure if she could hire me because of the attention I would get at the office, that she was used to getting all the attention.

    I didn’t accept the job even though I was offered it. Too many personal insecurity issues IMO.

    Another time a supervisor thought I didn’t deserve a raise because he overheard me talking to my stock broker about a transaction I made money on after working hours. I told him that the stock market was a hobby that I did on my own time and that had nothing to do with my work ethic and whether I deserved a raise. I told his boss what he said, I got the raise and he sheepishly apologized to me.

  3. SunshineAcres
    Aug 05, 2009 @ 11:08:57

    I’m a office manager for a chiropractor’s office and my boss expects me and the secretary to take the dog for do-do walks and tells the medical secretary and I to go move the trash box after it’s been picked up so people don’t throw food and drinks in there from the DQ and get it dirty!!!! I work late without pay, come in early with out getting paid. I have been threatened by his wife who bi-polar. This is a nut house not a chiropractic office.

  4. Chaos
    May 07, 2011 @ 06:48:00

    I have worked all my life with a good work ethic and have always been taken advantage of by my employers. I am tired of it but not matter what you do where you go or if you give 120% people do not care it does not matter the simple fact is either you do the job or they will pay a punk kid half what they have to pay you. the kid has no clue or any idea how to do the job and does it half arse but you know after 7 jobs none of them shorter than 2-3 years i have had it I am done with the stress and working odd hours non stop no raises no pensions no nothing and all people do is expect more give less

  5. karin
    Aug 15, 2011 @ 19:06:24

    I totally agree on these stories, I can relate to most of them because it happens
    that I’m getting the heat at my job. I have a boss who is a female who does not know how
    to be a manager. She has her favorite employees and she takes advantage of one which
    is me, who works harder than anyone else but do I get credit for it NO!

  6. p b
    Sep 09, 2011 @ 05:40:40

    hi my mane is p…am a victim of humman trafficking i was given a document to work in 2009 my employer said she can not employ me due to my immigration issue but one mounth later she rang me and said can i work for her today as she is short of staff..then i worked for her for one mounth she was surpose to pay me £1000 she paid me 290 i went to her office to ask her has she refuse to pick my call when she saw me she rang police and i was sentence to 6mounth in prison but now am out and have got my paper but am still strugling with money …is it possible for me to get my wages from her …..any advice

  7. coconews
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 16:18:41


    Unless you have something in writing, a witness, etc. owed wages would be very hard to prove. Perhaps, contact the government labour relations board and see if they can help you.

    Whether you are accepting a job or promised a raise, always get something in writing. That way at least you have proof if you need it.

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