Deciding When to Air a Grievance
Guidance for Challenging Authority on the Job
By Caroline Levchuck
Everyone occasionally has a grievance or two about their employers or their workplaces. Perhaps you're being asked to work extra hours without extra pay. Maybe the perk of telecommuting has been taken away. Or you may simply be upset with the way you're being treated by your boss.
Here's what you need to know before you speak your mind.
Safety in Numbers
If you've got a beef with your boss or a new company policy, you may not be alone. Sound out your coworkers about their feelings in a discrete and professional manner. Meeting with management in a group to discuss a change will definitely increase the odds that your feelings are being heard. It will also help you look less like the lone dissenter.
Find a Precedent
Just as lawyers do, look to the past to help you bolster your case for a change to new policies. Has anyone at your company ever successfully campaigned for or against a particular change? Does that individual still work for the organization? Seek her out and get specific advice as to how she fought City Hall and won.
Prepare to Compromise
Even if you rally the majority of workers at your company to confront management about a change, the powers that be may still not acquiesce to your request. Meet with your fellow employees to discuss a series of compromises that will help take the sting out of the recent shift in policy or procedure. Present your suggestions to management if it becomes clear that your initial request will not be met.
Your campaign for or against change may fall upon deaf ears, no matter how well organized it is or how large the number of supporters. Be prepared to accept defeat gracefully. If this change makes your job intolerable, start looking for a new one immediately. Protesting too much for too long may prompt your supervisors to let you go. Instead, it is best to let the issue go and find a new job while you still have your current one.