If you’re not looking out for yourself, no one is.

Pushback is the term used to describe standing ones ground in the workplace. It could be an employee against a demanding boss, a project team against unreasonable deadlines, or a consultant against a unfavorable contract. You get the idea.

Essentially, it boils down to how much of your time, effort, life, and vitality you’re willing to give something. That might sound hyperbolic, but it’s not. Corporate America, on the whole, is a heartless beast. It will drain you of every ounce of strength and free time that you have to give. Late nights, weekends spent working, and abbreviated vacations are represent the reality that some people live. I’m not saying that all companies are like that. Not at all.

What I’m saying is that it can happen. You volunteer to work a weekend because you’re up for promotion and you want to look good for reviews. You stay late every Friday night so your boss can see you in the office once when everyone else is gone. Soon, you find yourself doing these things out of habit. Then these things become expected of you.

That’s when the trouble starts.

Actually, the trouble started the moment you volunteered without knowing what you were getting yourself into. It doesn’t have to be this way.

It’s important to keep your career in perspective. Another 10 – 20K per year is not going to change your life. Your project will trudge on without you. You will never attend your child’s high school graduation and wish you could have spent more time in the office. Your significant other will never wish you’d stop leaving your Blackberry at home while you’re on vacation.

Just a gentle reminder that work isn’t going anywhere.

Willie Jackson is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Consultant & Facilitator with ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the topics of workplace equity, global diversity, and inclusive leadership. Connect on LinkedIn or get in touch.

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