Setting Boundaries at Work

You’re diligently working on various tasks, having organized and effectively planned out your schedule, and then your plans are thrown into disarray because someone emails you with an “urgent” request they say requires immediate attention? You have to scramble to find time to fit in this new request, maybe staying late at the office or working on the weekend, quite likely because this other person has not managed his or her time and project effectively or given you sufficient lead time.

How many times has this happened to you?

This is a common experience in organizations and, I argue, a form of disrespect. Disrespect for your work. Disrespect for your time. And disrespect for you. The offender in question is more concerned about his or her own objectives and indifferent to yours. It shows that the person doesn’t mind imposing his or her needs on you, and is content to push your needs aside. It’s rude, aggressive, unprofessional, and, sadly, often unnecessary.

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Dr. Jamie Gruman

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Dr. Jamie Gruman is Professor of Organizational Behaviour at the University of Guelph’s College of Business and Economics. He specializes in human sustainability and productivity in the workplace, and recently published the book, Boost.

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