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How to say no and avoid being labelled as the office doormat

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How to say no and avoid being labelled as the office doormat

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One who submits meekly to domination or mistreatment by others.


We all know the term “to be a doormat”. But have you ever found yourself to be the office doormat?

I started my career when I was very young and inexperienced. I didn’t know how to say no and set boundaries when it came to my colleagues. Often this resulted in me performing someone else’s duties over and above my own, working overtime without getting paid and getting saddled with tasks nobody else wanted to do. People saw my “niceness” as being week, and they took advantage of it.

Now, after many years, I realise that I was treated as the office doormat.


What can you do if you fall under the “office doormat” category?


The trick is to learn to say “no” and set boundaries. Most people feel guilty in saying no and are scared they will offend someone or damage their reputation.  On the other hand, you might jeopardise your career and lose the respect you, as a valuable team member, deserve by always saying yes.

Stop completing your team members’ work. Spending more time on a colleagues project than focusing and completing your own might be a clear neon sign that you fall under the office doormat category. Again, set boundaries and remember, it’s ok to say no.

Are you trying to prove yourself by taking on tasks not assigned to you? Rarely you will get recognition for taking on other’s duties. Most likely, and almost always, someone else will get praised for the work you put so much effort and time into completing, and almost always, the person you assisted will not acknowledge you as a valuable contributor.

Be polite. Saying no gracefully and with genuine empathy and kindness can be so empowering. You don’t have to be puffed up and bark a harsh NO to get your point across.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to help colleagues out now and then and always shut them down if they need some assistance. You will start to see which colleagues rely on your help and those just trying to get someone else to put in all the effort and time.

Personally, I had to come to the point of realising that I had to respect myself and my time. At this stage in my career, my time is more important than it ever was.


Everyone needs a CV nowadays! No matter what job, or in which industry you’re applying for, you will need a CV in the process of the application. Even jobs that some people consider ‘low-end’ will ask for your CV. Jobs that are found through word-of-mouth also require a CV (sooner, or later in the recruitment process). The only exception perhaps is when you’re applying for a job at your dad’s antique shop!

Hire us to write a the perfect CV for you.

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