Are you being “pimped” by your employer? I’m not referring to the much-hyped pimping of inanimate objects that takes place as we strive to give our most prized possessions a fashionable upgrade. After all, who wouldn’t want to pimp their ride or their house? No – I’m speaking about the kind of pimping that leaves unsuspecting individuals feeling violated – the kind that may be taking place at your very own place of employment.
No better word comes to mind when I think about the various ways in which people are exploited in the workplace because of the many talents and skills that they bring to the job. Talents and skills that their employers may in fact overcapitalize on. Do you wonder if this is happening to you? How can you tell? If your supervisor commits several of the following acts, there may be some serious pimping going on in your world:
1. Volunteers you for projects without consulting you first. Ever go on vacation, or miss a staff meeting, only to later find out that you have been volunteered to do the work that no one else wanted? Makes you a little leery, doesn’t it?
2. Picks your brain for ideas and then takes all of the credit. There’s nothing worse than having a moment of brilliance (for some of us, these moments are few and far in between), sharing it with your boss and then later hearing him or her share it with the world as though it were their own original thought. Well, yeah there is (I lied) – it’s worse when they actually receive kudos for your bright ideas!
3. Continually raises the bar – but not your salary. This can be a big problem if you are constantly being encouraged to “think outside the box” and pull out the bells and whistles, but once you’ve given the best you have to offer, you find that your salary remains unchanged, as does your position. Careful or you just might crash and burn! Burnout is a definite possibility if you are constantly jumping through hoops with the hopes that it will one day be appreciated and rewarded.
4. Offers to “mentor” you and then gives you all of his or her dirty work. A real mentor won’t load you down with every project that he or she has been avoiding for the past several weeks or months. Mentors lead by example. They model, collaborate, and then pass the torch. If you were just thrown the torch without these other processes, beware! You may just want to toss it back. It might be a setup.
5. Cross-trains you to work outside of your area without additional compensation. Ah yes – the infamous “do more with less” strategy. This may even be presented to you at first as a temporary thing – you know, until they can fill that vacant position. It’s your big chance to get noticed for the dedicated employee that you are. And perhaps your efforts will be rewarded. But what if they aren’t?
6. Plays mind games with you to keep you guessing about your level of job security. You know, statements like “We’re in a fishbowl” or “We have to tread very carefully” may actually scare you into thinking that if you don’t practically kill yourself to go above and beyond, you may be given your walking papers. If your department or unit is being looked at this carefully, you won’t need an announcement from your supervisor to know it…
7. Uses performance evaluations to manipulate you. Who wants a negative evaluation when they know that they have done their very best? No one of course! But a boss who is a real P-I-M-P knows just the right buttons to push to get their staff to do whatever they want. Usually the mere threat of a negative evaluation – no matter how subtle – will add a few extra gray hairs to the head of the employee who is concerned about his or her job security or professional advancement.
8. Pits staff members against one another. Yep, the ever-popular “divide and conquer” strategy. If your supervisor makes statements such as “Everyone here in the office thinks you’re an ass,” don’t believe it unless you know in your heart that it’s the truth. The insecure supervisor will use this tactic to fuel unhealthy competition and strife or to possibly even retaliate against you if they feel slighted or threatened by you.
9. Makes you think you’ll never have what it takes to advance within the company. Pimps don’t want their people to have confidence! That’s just reality. If you receive criticism, however you do have to examine it for a grain of truth. Some criticism is actually constructive and intended to help you grow. You may want to ask yourself, “Have I heard this before on previous jobs?” If so, then you have some work to do.
10. Refuses to give you that letter of recommended or put in a good word for you as you seek better opportunities. If your boss is pimping you, the last thing he or she will want you to do is get ahead. Even if you’re not after their job, they will try to hinder your job search because they don’t want to lose you! Never ask a supervisor to give you a recommendation just because they’re your supervisor. If your intuition is telling you that he or she is a pimp, take heed! This individual may be the one thing that prevents you from reaching your goals.
For all of those employers out there who are pimping folks, you have just been exposed! As a constant seeker of truth, I feel that it is my moral obligation to share my findings with the world. Sorry if the truth hurts…
Tags:10 Signs that You Are Possibly Being Exploited on the Job