Asking For a Friend | Chapter 30
Advice from Babe to Babe
That awkward moment when you work harder than your coworkers? When your boss is too demanding? When you don’t get along with everyone in a project? The BWH Advice Gurus are here for you through ‘em all.
I think in this case it's fair to ask for a sit-down and discuss your job responsibilities. You can bring your original job description in and if those aren't aligning, you can bring that up and say you think it's fair to revisit your pay structure, job title, etc. That's all if you're comfortable with what your job has become. If you're not, then it’s a bit of a different conversation—but still one you deserve to have.
—OLIVIA WILSON, BABE #51
Communication is key! It’s definitely not the most fun conversation to have with a supervisor, but setting clear boundaries for yourself (ex: “I won’t be available for work or calls during “x” time window each day”; “I’m unable to take on any additional tasks at this time due to time constraints”; “I’m unable to create time for this project, but perhaps I could pass it off to “x” (coworker) because they might have the capacity,” are fair and justifiable ways to get your message across. Coming from a management perspective, I can truthfully admit that sometimes I’m guilty of requesting more work than I should, and I don’t even realize it. It’s amazing what a few uncomfortable conversations can accomplish for all parties in the long run.
—CHELSEA DUDEVOIRE, BWH CEO + FOUNDER
I think you have a unique opportunity here to start a conversation about your compensation or level of responsibility, if that is something you’re interested in. As an ambitious person myself, I always find higher expectations and additional work to be more advantageous than not. So, if you’re interested in moving up at this point, the key will be to communicate the right things at the right time. Start talking with your manager about your career goals and how promotion or compensation can play a role. You can also ask her to align the extra work she asks you to do to specific skills your company values. Get her buy-in to your growth, not just using you as a task-master to accomplish the things she doesn’t have time for. Then, broach the subject of a raise or increase in responsibility, based on all the extra stuff you’ve done and the higher expectations you always meet. Managing the conversation correctly will, at the very least help you set up a kick ass performance review for yourself (which could come with a nice bonus, if you’re company does that), and at best be the foundation you need for a pay raise or title promotion. It’s also important to remember it’s OK if that’s not what you want. (In which case, you probably still need to have a discussion with your manager about boundaries and work-life balance.)
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
Sound the alarm early on if you feel like you are not being set up for success. Discussing what projects you can or cannot take on by yourself is not only in your best interest, but in the interest of your office or organization’s greater mission. Start by letting them know how much you appreciate the responsibilities and ask if there is an opportunity for another person you can manage or work with to help you. Brainstorming with your manager or supervisor about the ways you can manage and delegate tasks shows you are proactive, and serious about your role and about succeeding.
—MARISOL SAMAYOA, BABE #51
Perhaps a bit savage, but why remain friends and/or consider how someone feels about you if they are upset with you for working hard when they are not? It's up to them if they want to rival your work performance, and if they still don't step up to the plate that's on them.
—OLIVIA WILSON, BABE #51
There's always a way to remain friendly, cordial and relatable to your coworkers, but also— if they're complacent in work, then clearly they don't want the same things as you (and that's their issue). Work hard and be kind. If people take your hard work and success as a reason to not be your friend, then that particular office friendship is probably not worth it.
—MOLLY SLICKER, CONTRIBUTOR
Congratulations on being recognized for your hard work! It’s huge that you’re already making your mark in your company—it’s what they hired you for. You weren’t brought on to make friends (shoutout to the ladies of “The Bachelor” for that cliche) so that shouldn’t be the place you focus your energy. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone on your way to the top, the people who will support and value your aspirations and drive will naturally appear. Anyone who is put off by you being good at what you do or wants to dim your light isn’t likely to be a good friend in the long run.
—DIANA MORRIS, BABE #182
This really depends on your ability to separate them. Are you going to continually be frustrated with said person? Will they affect most of your involvement? If you can find a role with limited interaction, definitely go for it. But if you'll be working with them frequently and think you'll be insanely frustrated, perhaps it’s worth finding an alternate organization that supports a similar cause or project.
—OLIVIA WILSON, BABE #51
I've struggled with this dilemma for a lot of my life (and made some life-altering decisions because of it) and where I stand is: no person is perfect, and no organization is perfect. But if your moral compass is going off and you're having to quiet your conscience because of it, look for another place. There are so many great organizations for so many great causes, there has to be another one out there working to fight the same issue or support the same good, but with people behind it who don't make you feel like you're compromising.
I think the two questions to consider here are: (1) are these people doing more harm or good by being involved in the project?, and (2) what is your gut telling you? If you already know how you feel in your gut, but are struggling to justify it, trust your gut and know there will be plenty of future opportunities to support projects you feel good about putting your name behind.
—MARA STROBEL-LANKA, BWH CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!