Don’t let fear of being terminated from your job result in you surrendering your principles. Some people are willing to capitulate who they are just to keep their paycheck. While it’s a reality that you need a paycheck to survive, there are other employers who can supply you with a paycheck than the employer who currently does. I have witnessed too many individuals who will do the wrong things just to be viewed as doing the right things in eyes of their supervisors. While there is certainly nothing wrong with treating your supervisor with respect, he or she is not your master.
Too many people are allowing themselves to be enslaved by their supervisors. When one relies too heavily upon capitalist ideology without engaging in critical thinking, the individual will begin to view himself or herself as being powerless at his or her place of employment. The individual will feel that what one’s supervisor says must be done—no matter how wrong it is.
If your supervisor is mistreating you and/or requiring you to do something that the law safeguards you from, you don’t have to accept what your supervisor is doing to you. The law is on your side against reckless supervisors who abuse their power.
Stop running around kissing your supervisor’s butt!
When you let someone take advantage of you all of the time, he or she will continue to take advantage of you. It’s up to you to break this cycle. People think that when they run around and kiss their supervisor’s butt their supervisor is going to appreciate them more—that’s foolishness! Wake up! If you’ve been doing great work for a long time and your supervisor does not already appreciate you, what makes you think kissing his or her butt is going to make him or her appreciate you?
What you say matters. Therefore, stop calling your supervisor “boss.” Your supervisor is not your ruler—he or she just gives you a paycheck. You’re a liberated American who does not have to dance to the tune of your supervisor. When they made one job, they made another one. When they made one paycheck, they made another one. Remember this the next time you find yourself acting all fake around your supervisor.
When you don’t like something that your supervisor says or does, then let him or her know it. Too many people just fuss about their mistreatment at their jobs at their kitchen tables, but they are unwilling to make the public aware of the injustices that take place in the workplace. What you say at your kitchen table is not going to matter if it’s not concatenated with meaningful action.
Be willing to give up your supervisor and not your principles. Principles matter! If you will allow your supervisor to say and do anything just to keep a paycheck, then you’re making it easy for your employer to exploit you. People who are principled individuals will not willingly accept exploitation. They vehemently fight exploitation, especially from those who are in positions of power.
Your values and beliefs that define you are more important than the paycheck you’re currently receiving. You can get another job. You didn’t have a job before you got your current one. While I can understand for those of you who live from paycheck to paycheck can believe that receiving your paycheck is a matter of survival, I encourage you to look for potential employment elsewhere and consider ways you can advance yourself, including furthering your education, to significantly diminish your worries about losing your current job.
Don’t be a prostitute for your employer!
If your supervisor extends a contract to you that has a stipulation in it that tramples your constitutional rights, don’t be a fool and accept that contract as is. If you’re going to accept the contract, indicate that your signature does not represent a relinquishing of any safeguards guaranteed by the Constitution. Your life is more valuable than any paycheck.
Of course, I’m not advocating for you to be a reckless person at your job who is rude to everyone for no reason. However, when your supervisor is not being fair to you, don’t accept this inequity just to keep your paycheck coming in without any problems. When your supervisor feels like he or she can do anything to you, your paycheck is not safe in the first place. Therefore, you need to be proactive to not only protect your paycheck but also to protect your principles.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison