As an employee, it is very difficult to set boundaries because everyone knows the power lies with the management.
I was 18 when I first started work. At that time I was so idealistic. I love the power of independence and the feeling of working and earning my own money.
It gave me a sense of accomplishment inside. The freedom to do what I want with no one questioning me and how I live my life.
I didn’t care whether I got chosen to do the extra work, stay for an overtime, or work even on the weekends. I loved to be visible, active, and available to everyone.
I didn’t know how to tactfully say “no” and long story short, that gave me health and mental problems in the long run.
Since my first job required me to work from 2AM-10AM, my body clock changed and after several months, I was sleep deprived. I was in Manila and was away with my family. The anxiety kicked in, followed by depression and the long hours of work at night made me homesick knowing that when I get off from work, no one would be waiting for me at home.
After weeks of deciding, I’ve realized that I needed to set boundaries in the office.
I desperately needed to learn how to say “no” if the job is beyond my position.
A boundary is an enforced condition. In an office, each job is defined, and this should be in writing. This job description defined the boundary conditions for each position. The office head either allows or disallows others to cross over and do other people’s work, and so forth.
Sometimes we allow others to step over personal boundaries, and sometimes we may not realize we are signaling for others to do so. But this is less common than people just willfully stepping over your personal boundaries.
When I got promoted from being a Customer Service Representative (CSR) into being a Quality Analyst who reviewed and audit calls from agents, I started to enforce boundaries within myself.
I started to say “no” to colleagues, when they wanted me to take over their shift on my day. I thought at first that was wrong, but eventually at the end, it felt necessary and right.
You may get close to some of your colleagues. You may even develop close friendly relationships with some of them that extend outside of the office. But unless you truly believe that person will hold your words in confidence, it’s best not to share anything that you wouldn’t want everyone to know — in case something does get out.
It’s unfair, but people will judge you based on such things. And some people will not do what you are willing to do for them in case the tables turn.
I focused on my solid communication habits. For instance, I treat everyone equally well. If I speak to one person, I speak to all people. I always try to be polite and kind. No off-color jokes, and I keep sarcasm to an absolute minimum because everyone doesn’t have the same sense of humor, and I don’t want to inadvertently cause offense.
I practice a signature greeting style whenever I enter the office, “Hi there!” It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Simple is often best, but it should be professional, so that everyone knows what to expect from you. And everyone will feel it when you’re not in the mood. |
These “little rules” made me feel awful, small, petty, selfish at the start. But I constantly reminded myself that they are the key to healthy relationships. As I practice, things get easier, and I surround myself with people who respect who I am and the limits I establish to protect myself, my things, my energy.
Boundaries are not, “Hey, you have gone too far.” Ideally they mean, “This is the line. Please remain on the other side so that going too far does not happen.”
There has to be a line which all should not cross at all.
Many people know what the word “boundaries” means, but they have no idea what they are. You might think of boundaries as something like a property line or “brick wall” used to keep people out.
But boundaries are not rigid lines drawn in the sand that are clear for all to see.
Boundaries are a way to take care of ourselves. When you understand how to set and maintain healthy boundaries, you can avoid the feelings of resentment, disappointment, and anger that build up when limits have been pushed.
A person with healthy boundaries understands that making their expectations clear helps in two ways: it establishes what behavior you will accept from other people, and it establishes what behavior other people can expect from you.
The best time to set boundaries is early on in your tenure. First of all, realize that everyone isn’t like you, it’s a pity for sure, but still it’s a fact.
Always remember; Walls keep everybody out. Boundaries teach people where the door is. So teach them early where those doors are.