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‘You can’ does not mean ‘you should’, unless…

⚠️ Don't burn after reading: Corporations and billionaires profit from people's poorly compensated hard labor; this serves as a reminder of the inequality in wealth distribution. ⚠️

We all know the curse of good employees being assigned more work because they perform above average. As much as capitalism tries to squeeze every drop of productivity from your body and soul, we should reclaim our time and efforts. And we have seen it, once the perfect employee burns out and leaves - almost immediately two or more people are hired to take over.

For example, many jobs do not pay a decent salary. When you look at who is doing this job, you quickly realize it is women and visible minorities. This population is facing blatant injustice because more often than not, their work is what keeps a country together. I remember when my mother worked for a rich family and was in charge of cleaning and sometimes cooking. I was always shocked by what they asked of her. They would send her running errands, and my mother had no car unlike her bosses. I was appalled by the way they treated her and the volume of work they expected for the tiny salary she was getting.

How absurd it is that people who work the hardest get the lowest salary. I am always appalled by the audacity rich people have and the ease they have to take advantage of people. For example, they have no issue with the fact that they will never pay overtime but expect people to work overtime. Or how they hire undocumented workers and don’t pay them fair wages while exploiting them in horrible working conditions. After moving on to other clients, my mother tried to reclaim her time and efforts. The way she did that was by asking for more money and refusing to accommodate every aspect of her boss's life. So their crazy demands or last minute request were dismissed if it didn’t fit with her plans. She learned to say no more.

But without realizing it when I started to work, I inherited her low self esteem and imposter syndrome: doing what was expected of me and more without the recognition or the big salary. I was trying to rationalize my behavior so it would fit the narrative of me being ambitious and hardworking. After years of experience, I learned that hard work is never really rewarded in a capitalist society. It feels like there is always a loophole that makes us regret working hard for someone else. Standing out results in more work while your colleagues sit, relax, network and play by the office politics rules.

Why do we work so hard on other people’s projects while neglect our own needs? Without starting a therapy session at this very moment, I find it refreshing that hard work faces a crisis with the quiet quitting trend. As a millennial, growing up, I saw older people suffer mentally and physically because of their work. The reality slaps you in the face when you enter the workforce. We should stop hurting ourselves going the extra mile when those extra miles are never rewarded. And the personal risk of suffering dangerous consequences that translates into your physical and mental health is worrying and not worth it.

So, why should you not do things just because you can?

Well, if something comes up that is outside of your job description or requires more work on top of the load you already have, say no. Or you can talk to your boss and say, "I really like this new project, but I would like to renegotiate my salary and bonuses." Don’t apologize or come up with excuses, don’t act like you are asking for the moon. The extra work justifies the extra pay, clear and simple. Period. Don’t let yourself be mesmerized by things just because they look good on paper. Don’t be fooled by your ability to balance multiple projects at the same time because this is a skill that many don’t possess (that is the exact reason why you are valuable and deserve more…).

Long story short, know your worth and act accordingly.



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