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Friend Used by Bosses?

Joan JerkovichJuly 17, 2014

We’ve all been struggling to get good jobs since college, and we’re a close group of friends. What makes us angry is that our one friend is being used by her bosses. First, she was passed over for a promotion that even the Board of Directors thought she should have gotten, but some guy with no experience got hired for the job instead of her. She had to train him for the job she should have gotten for herself.

Then, she had to pick up the slack when he always seemed to be out of the office for one reason or another. It was like she was doing her job and his too. Now, she has been telling us that he has gotten fired, so she really is doing both jobs full time.

The problem is that she always complains about this to us and we keep telling her to step up and let her bosses and the board know that she should officially be given the promotion, and the salary that goes with it. But, she just seems to keep complaining about her situation without doing anything to change it.

When we ask her why she doesn’t stand up for herself, all she ever says is that her work situation “is complicated”. We hate seeing her being used and wish that she would assert herself, but since she doesn’t, how do we respond to her complaints and how can we help her?

Maybe this is just the Life Coach in me but, from what you wrote, I sense that there is more to this story. If I were you, the next time I heard her complain about her job I would ask lots of questions. Try and get her to open up and talk more about the specifics of what is going on at work.

Ask her an open-ended question, one that requires more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Then listen. Ask another question. Then listen. Ask. Listen. Follow this formula until you get more than complaints from her and you will have a better picture of what is going on.

When you use this system of asking questions you are, in essence, being a Life Coach to your friend. In doing so, you may find that the answers she gives to your questions will help her more than any advice or opinions you might offer. People process in their minds as they talk. When she hears her own responses, a light bulb might go off in her head. She may come to new realizations of what is at play with both her and her bosses at work. This may point her toward an action plan that will improve her situation.

If your questions help her decide what she can do to stand up for herself at work, jump on the opportunity to tell her that you will hold her to it. Be her accountability partner. Make sure she understands that the next time she wants to talk about work you’re going to expect to hear the outcome of her asserting herself, and not just more complaints.

If she shows back up in your group of friends and hasn’t done something to better her situation, she may be a person who just like complaining, or likes being a martyr, or playing the victim to get your sympathy. Or, she may not really want the promotion and the increased responsibility that goes along with it. Asking good questions will bring these issues to light.

I understand your frustration with the complaining that goes nowhere. At some point it’s ok to give her the message to shut up or put up!

Embrace your Personal Power with Life Coaching~
• What questions might you ask your friend regarding why she refuses to assert herself in this job?
• How much more whining are you willing to put up with?
• What boundaries can you set to limit the complaints that are disrupting the fun of the group?

Joan Jerkovich, BCC Board Certified Life Coach

Joan Jerkovich, BCC
Board Certified Life Coach

The Joan Jerkovich Show
News Radio 1150 KSAL
Saturdays @ 6:00 am CST
Podcast posts to Mondays

Click HERE to anonymously send Joan your question!


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