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Setting Boundaries At Work

I am beyond struggling with my involuntary transfer to a job that might just plummet me into a deep depression. I’ve come to realize that the most important thing for me to do to maintain my sanity is to figure out how to set healthy boundaries but it’s not that simple and definitely not easy.

When you start a new position usually you want to be diligent, positive, hardworking but, you also don’t want to be a push over and taken advantage of. It has become blatantly clear that my supervisor doesn’t want me here, so for starters, aside from not giving me a proper work station, she tries to push all these trainings on me that are outside the office so I don’t have to be here. Initially I signed on for these trainings. However, as the time arrived to attend the trainings, I found myself stressing and losing sleep cause I absolutely loathe trainings. It was such a slap in my face cause they were introductory courses that I could basically teach. Why am I going to waste my time sitting in a training when I know more than the instructor. So, I decided to push back and when she tried to shove more paperwork in my face to sign onto more trainings, I didn’t snap or anything but, I said, “I don’t do trainings unless they are mandated by human resources so, sorry, no thank you.” And I handed back the paperwork. Why do I need to apologize for my right to refuse a training that is voluntary? You should have seen her face. She wasn’t shocked but definitely taken aback and thankfully my tiny boundary setting move made her back off for a few days. I don’t know if I scared her off but, she avoided me and when she wanted something done she asked another coworker to give me the task.

Then yesterday she met with me to discuss how I would be taking over what I consider to be headache work, and I couldn’t help myself from saying, “You don’t want me here, and I don’t want to be here but, somehow we have to get along and make this work.” She didn’t respond to that statement but, it felt good to say it and was another verbal boundary I set for myself. Then, when I left her office she made a comment about how I would be so immersed in this remedial task at hand that I was going to dream about it to which I responded, “You mean have nightmares.” Again, a swift tiny comment but, it felt good to be honest and demonstrate that I’m not just going to pretend that all this is ok.

Thankfully, I have FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) which is a God sent from my psychiatrist. I can take time off from work and still have job security so, if I need to do that I am going to do that, and not feel guilty or stressed but, that will be a challenge for me cause there is always a fear of retaliation. However, again, setting boundaries based on my comments and behavior is really going to be imperative to my survival.

Given my situation, we all know the basics and this is what I tell myself. When you are given an assignment, take your time and don’t provide results right away. They don’t need to know your quick with work so, if something takes you an hour, hand it over in five hours. If you are too reliable you risk the chance of being the go-to for more work than your fellow coworkers so, be cautious about your work productivity. These are forms of setting boundaries in the workplace and I continue to remind myself that you teach people how to treat you so, be aware of your moves and how you navigate through making sure you don’t lose your mind.

Setting Boundaries At Work

Erica Loberg

Erica Loberg was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She attended Columbia University in New York and graduated with a BA in English. She is a published poet and author of Inside the Insane, Screaming at the Void, What Men Should Know About Women, What Women Should Know About Men, Diamonds From The Rough , Undressed, and I'm Not Playing.

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APA Reference
Loberg, E. (2019). Setting Boundaries At Work. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Oct 2019
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