I’ll never forget this train wreck of a project I was working on. It was about 17 years ago, and it was a monster.
Working 60 to 80-hour weeks was expected. The entire team was putting in insanely long hours, including me. Weekends were unheard of.
The company was working us to death.
And one day, I found out something that royally pissed me off.
The person sitting right next to me was getting overtime pay.
Then, I discovered something else that made me even angrier. About half the team was getting overtime. They were raking in the money.
I, however, wasn’t.
Here I was working just as hard as everyone else (and in many cases, harder), but I wasn’t getting a dime of overtime pay while they were.
“Screw this,” I said. That day I went straight to my boss.
How To Fight For What You Deserve
“Sorry, our customer doesn’t have enough money to give everyone overtime.“
I walked out of the room, dejected. What happens now?
Do I suck it up and continue busting my ass? Or do I quit and work somewhere else? How do I fight for what I want without making this a huge issue? I was working harder than people who were getting overtime.
This isn’t fair.
Aside: Nothing in life is fair, but that’s a topic for another day.
I took a few days to think about my options. I was determined to fix this.
Then, it hit me.
That morning, I wrote a short and sweet email to my boss.
It went something like this:
Over the past three months, I have averaged 75-hour work weeks. I respect the fact that everybody is putting in additional hours on this project, but at the same time, I need to ensure that I am being compensated adequately for my work.
I am working harder than most on my team, but I am not getting overtime pay as they are. I cannot keep working like this without additional compensation.
As a result, I will gladly give you 50 hours a week. But without overtime, I need to prioritize my best interest until overtime is approved.
In other words, I gave my boss 50 hours a week until overtime was approved. That was still a free 10 hours of extra work because I was nice.
Then, I got the answer I was looking for.
Miraculously, the customer found some “extra money” in their budget for overtime.
It’s weird how that happens, isn’t it?
MILLIONAIRE HABIT: Stand up for what you believe in and ensure nobody is taking advantage of you, especially your employer.
But here’s the kicker: They only approved overtime because I did good work. I was often the first person in the office. I did my job well. The request I wrote would have made it easy for a company to say, “Later!” to an underperforming person.
I wasn’t an underperforming person.
Show up every day. Do your job well. Be a team player. But don’t let anyone walk all over you.
Don’t let bosses and corporations push you around.
And so, this email won’t end with a “call to action” or a 3-step process to improve whatever you’re struggling with.
Instead, it’ll end like this: Bust your ass. Be the hardest worker. And stand up for what you deserve.
If you don’t look out for your best interest, nobody else will either.
Chat next week!