Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Protecting Employee Privileges In A Recession

The basic rules of supply and demand are more prevalent than ever before in the work place today. When there is a low supply of highly trained, experienced and talented employees available, and a high demand for their expertise, potential employers are willing to bend over backwards to hire them.

When the reverse is true, some employers behave like Superman and bend the rules to their advantage. Rule bending could prove disastrous for new and older employees alike who might be afraid to speak up for fear of losing their job.

The deceptive nature of rule bending makes it very difficult to detect. Be aware of phrases such as, "We rarely take lunch or breaks during regular working hours." "We have so much to do that I don't understand how you find time for lunch." "It's been a while since I last took lunch." "Lunch is such a luxury around here." I'm sure most of us have skipped lunch on occasion to finish an important assignment.

If this is a chronic pattern and the above phrases continue, then your superiors are employing the use of "Soft Power." It's difficult to respond appropriately to soft power because the aforementioned statements are often disarming. Their disarming nature could make some employees feel as if they are walking on egg shells. If you're faced with such a scenario here's a few tips to combat it successfully:

1.Remind your supervisor that you're more productive with a break in between assignments.

2. Review your letter of employment with your supervisor and company policy regarding lunch breaks, overtime, pay rates and time off.

3. If you're unable to eat lunch at your normal time, drink as much water as possible.
Water acts as barrier between the lining of your stomach and the gastric juice that's released to break down complex food particles in your stomach. Although skipping lunch breaks might seem like the epicentre of productivity, prolonged starvation could lead to serious medical issues later in life, such as ulcers. Always remember that no employee is indispensable.

Finally, it's not what you say, but how you say it.Be polite but firm when communicating with superiors. Focus on written company policy and your official letter of employment instead of the "Self." This approach will help you regain privileges that you're entitled to without feeling guilty.


  1. what kind of crap is that. what is going on. skipping breaks or lunch because your scared. what is this slavery. we pick cotton now. what kind of mess am i hearing. stand up for your rights. my goodness doesn't anyone believe in God anymore. he has full dominion not a person. that is ridiculous and its ashame that there are jobs that still practice that unacceptable behavior. bottom line is that someone can only take advantage of you if you let them. if you allow it, then it will happen.

  2. Some jobs are really crazy. As I've said in the past, employees are afraid to ask certain questions in fear of losing their jobs. The discrete nature of these issues makes it difficult for some employees to discern when their rights are being railroaded.