My mother shared with me one day that she failed to see the writing on the wall that I would ultimately become an entrepreneur. She said she always wondered why I never stayed at one particular job for more than 3-4 years and, more importantly, why did I seem to always fail to hold my tongue when it came to challenging supervisors and bosses, particularly when it came to feelings of being wronged.
It all started when I was 16 and verbally lashed out to my manager when I worked at Wendy’s. I thought he was horrible at managing the business operations and after asking me to work the drive through, front register and fries all at the same time, I felt it was high time he should know exactly how I felt. I got fired, immediately.
On the flip side, in 2006, while working as Of-Counsel, I told my boss that I did not appreciate his tone and language that was directed towards me on a daily basis. He may have been accustomed to speaking to his family and other colleagues like that, but I was not accepting of such behavior. I sternly informed him that if he felt the need to continue to communicate with me like that, then I should look for employment elsewhere. Once I got home that evening, he had sent me an email apologizing for his language and asking me to return the next day.
Employees spend so much time at work, so I see no reason to hate your job and the people you work with. Why be miserable at a place you spend a majority of your time? Many people suffer in silence from work related abuse, unfairness and stress because they feel if they speak up, they may face some form of retribution, whether it is a decrease in project placements, administrative leave and/or being fired.
If you feel it is time to speak up to your boss or HR about work-related issues that are affecting you, here are four tips to do so….without getting fired:
1) Count to Ten Before Speaking:
Do a countdown in your head, recite the Lord’s Prayer, or quietly sing Momma Dee’s “I Deserve” to yourself, but whatever you do, do NOT pop off immediately. You will say something you may regret, and you will definitely show a lack of temperance.
2) Review Your Employee Handbook:
Properly determine how matters such as making formal complaints should be handled to ensure you are following policy and procedure.
3) Schedule a Meeting:
Planning ahead to speak about such sensitive issues will allow for better assessments of your responsibilities, facts surrounding the situation and your feelings.
4) Gather The Facts and Present Them In a Non-Confrontational Manner:
You may lose credibility and may not be taken seriously if you do not effectively dictate accurate information. You can’t make blanket statements regarding any instances of unfair activity. All sentiments and statements must be factually proven.
5) Present a Solution:
Offering a solution of what both you and your boss may do to alleviate any issues, misunderstandings and confrontations may provide more structure and understanding of how the other interprets action and communication. By showing you have the answer to a potential problem, you may allow your boss to see that you seek to stay on board and clear up any and all issues which will lead to a more peaceful and production workplace.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com . She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 10 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.