Setting Boundaries at Work

Takyra Taylor: Senior, Accounting Major, Suffolk University

Setting Boundaries at Work

A few weeks ago, my boss asked me to stay late. This did not seem like much of a request. I told her it would be no problem because I figured I could finish my school assignments later this week. However, later that week, my boss asked me to stay late again. I noticed this was becoming a pattern, and I knew it would affect my school work if it kept happening. After talking it through with my ACE coach, I decided to set up a meeting with my boss to explain why I wouldn’t be able to stay late anymore.

In the meeting, I was nervous about how she would react. I knew that when I got hired, my boss emphasized that they knew school came first. However, I couldn’t help feeling like I was letting them down. Will she think this as well? However, this was the opposite. I told her that I had six classes and could only work the hours we had initially agreed. She was very understanding and respected my work ethic because she hadn’t seen a difference in my work even with all the classes.

Setting boundaries at work was not an easy task for me. Having to say no to my boss made me feel like I was letting her down and not being a team player. However, through this exercise, I have learned that it is the opposite – by advocating for yourself and your needs, you are a better teammate and employee because you are not overstretching yourself, which affects your quality of work. I felt better, and I felt less like I was disappointing them by saying no, but more like a part of a team that cares about everyone’s needs.

I am starting to see how critical self-advocacy can be, especially at work.