Episode 19 Holding Boundaries for the Win

February 13, 2023

Over the weekend, I’ve been celebrating a recent job promotion with a friend. It’s always so cool when someone gets an internal promotion. Someone who’s hardworking and has been through all the peaks and valleys who finally gets rewarded with their next dream job.

This is an internal promotion, so it’s a process that’s been going on for some time. My friend has interviewed with various parties around the world. There was someone in the job. The job had to be posted internally. That sort of thing. You get it.  She finally got the call last Monday and her boss, who happens to be a woman – and my friend is also a woman – says to her ‘we’d like to announce this Wednesday and congratulations’. And my friend said, ‘well, what about the salary?’ And her boss got kind of flustered and actually blurted out, ‘well, I didn’t get a salary increase when I took this job.’ My friend said her heart dropped and she kind of like was a little bit flustered. And then she said, ‘this is a conversation I’ve had with multiple people during the course of this process, and her boss says, are you saying you don’t want us to announce it?  And my friend swallowed hard and said, ‘yes’.

So in my mind this isn’t a story about money. Yes, of course money’s important, and of course my friend clearly deserves to be compensated for her increased scope of responsibility. But for me, the story is really about clarity and managing expectations and holding a boundary.

The end of the story is that they came back, and they told her that they had discussed the salary. They gave her a number, and they told her that it wouldn’t be effective until December. Now of course that was a bit of a disappointment. Obviously, she would’ve preferred to be compensated from March 1st, but it was a compromise she was good with. She was good with the number, and she was good with the compromise on the start date of that compensation.

I felt really proud of her because she was very clear on what was fair and what she expected. And in holding that boundary, not only did she stand up for herself and hold the company’s feet to the fire, she avoided resentment, she avoided feeling like the victim, and she made it very clear what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior to her. I’m sure her boss took note. Well, I shouldn’t say I’m sure. I can’t imagine that she didn’t realize that she had missed an opportunity herself.

Anyway, I was thinking about it in my own life. Holding a boundary can sometimes be so difficult with your partner, with your children. Speaking for myself, recently I had a situation where I heard myself nagging and begging, and I started feeling really resentful and angry that this person wasn’t keeping a promise they had made. And this went on for quite some time until I suddenly realized that it was really up to me to hold the boundary. I was focusing completely on the other person when I just needed to get clear on where I wanted to draw a line in the sand. And that’s what I did.

Boundaries are difficult. They’re difficult with partners, they’re difficult with children. They’re difficult at work, but I think what happens is when we find ourselves focusing on the other person and being angry and feeling helpless or feeling victimy, a lot of times we just need to bring it back to ourselves and get really clear on where we’re willing to wait and compromise, and where we aren’t. Also, I think by really going back to the boundary and clearly stating what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t gives the other person something very concrete to respond to.  So, it’s one thing to plant the seed and kind of make promises to each other and it’s quite another to say, no, this is what I want, and this is what we agreed on, and I need to know where you stand.

It’s a time saver, it’s a resentment saver, it can also make or break a deal. And I guess that begs the question, where in your life are you feeling a little victimy or resentful? Or nagging? Or maybe you could get really clear on the boundary and holding someone accountable. I know it’s not easy, and it’s certainly not a once and done lesson that we learn.

I don’t know who needs to hear that, but I thought I’d share because I’m so proud of my friend that she held the boundary and got what she wanted and is entering this new job with such a sense of possibility and joy.  It’s really cool.

I shall end here. That’s all for now. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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