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‘Mistreated doormat’ or ‘agreeable martyr’?

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in Your Office Coach

Question: “I work for a small hospital where I have been treated quite unfairly. For example, I am the only person in my department who has to carry a beeper, because I live nearby and can get here quickly. Everyone else lives out of town, so they are never on call. When someone hired a year after me complained about his salary, management gave him a pay increase.  But when I requested a raise, I was turned down. I was also repeatedly denied overtime pay until the hospital president got involved. After six years of mistreatment, I finally submitted my resignation. At management’s request, I agreed to stay for another three months, as long as my salary was increased. However, my pay has stayed the same. Now I have been told that one of the executives is making untrue remarks about my performance. During the remainder of my 90-day notice, how do I handle his negative attitude?”  —Feeling like a doormat

Answer:  If you have been treated so badly, why on earth did you agree to stay for three more months?  Unless you are legally obligated to remain, start looking for a better job and leave as soon as you find one.  

In the meantime, if this executive is seriously damaging your reputation, ask your human resources manager to advise him that such remarks could create legal liability for the hospital.  But if he has only made a few offhand comments, ignore them and focus on your job search.

Should you find yourself feeling oppressed and exploited by your next employer, you may want to take a long, hard look in the mirror. During the past six years, you have apparently allowed yourself to become a martyr, which is not an attitude that you want to adopt permanently.

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