Are you putting time and energy into pulling a memorable April Fool's Day prank at work? Here's some advice: Maybe instead of using that day for pranking, take the opportunity to assess if you're being played for a fool by your boss and company. Here are four ways to spot the signs that you're being taken advantage of by your employer.
1. Is your boss taking credit for your work? When your boss takes your report and presents it during a weekly leadership meeting as if it's their own, that's no laughing matter.
What you can do: Ask to attend meetings, thereby giving yourself the opportunity to present your own work. Don't be afraid of tooting your own horn, either. While it's definitely not okay that your boss isn't acknowledging your contributions, you should also be self-aware of whether or not you're being vocal enough about what you're working on.
Say to your boss, "I've been working on a process that should streamline our group's workload and reduce 45 minutes from our daily work. I'd like to demo it to the team during our next meeting." If they consistently say "no," it's time to make a change.
2. Are you staying later than anyone else at the office? As the clock strikes 7...8...9PM and later, are you and the custodial staff the only people left at work? That should give you reason to pause. Why are you the only person there? Is your workload insurmountable? Or are all of your colleagues simply lazy? Combination of the above?
What you can do: Break away after office hours. You deserve a personal life - your sanity and health will thank you for it. And if the workload is too intense, talk to your boss and enlist him or her as part of the solution. Maybe you need to bring on an assistant or delegate work to other colleagues. It's one thing if your entire team is staying late during busy season, but burning the midnight oil solo on a regular basis? Unacceptable. Not only will it be counterproductive to the quality of your work, but your morale is also probably sinking as fast as your social.
3. Congratulations, you got promoted! Did you get a raise, too? Bigger office? Check. Fancy title? You bet. More money? Crickets. If you landed a promotion, congratulations! It was definitely well-earned, but if your employer is seemingly rewarding your tremendous contributions to the organization without increasing your salary, it's time to find another job. Consider this: If they had to hire externally to fill your role, they would probably have to bring them in at a higher salary than yours and need at least six months to identify a candidate, extend the offer and then get them up and running. That adds up to six months of compensation saved if they stick with you, and they can't even cough up a ten percent raise?
What you can do: Add that new title and responsibilities to your resume and leverage them in looking for an opportunity that not only acknowledges your achievements, but also pays you accordingly.
4. Were you asked to write your job description? Unfortunately now the joke's on you. When your boss and a new external consultant befriend you, take you out to lunch and then - oh, by the way - ask you to type out your job description and keep track of every single thing you do on a daily basis it's game over. There's an ulterior motive there and it usually boils down to one word (okay, or one of two): Outsourcing. Downsizing.
What you can do: Look at this as an opportunity! By creating your job description for them, you're simultaneously crafting the necessary description for updating your resume (note for the future: Revise your resume every six months to avoid panic mode altogether in a moment such as this). Whatever you do, if you see these signs, don't expect your job as you know it today to exist in the same form several months from now. Instead, take ownership of your value and your career by getting ahead of your sneaky employer and landing a great new role. In the end, you'll be the one saying "April Fools!"