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Expressing Yourself to Others/Expressing my feelings to my manager


QUESTION: Hello, Christy
         A few weeks ago I got into an argument with one of my managers because I felt as if I was being treated unfairly. I had never said anything to him before for the sake of my job, but I was just fed up with the disrespect I felt I sufffered from him and couldn't take it anymore. He apologized to me and we reached an agreement to leave all hard feelings in the past. However ever since then my hours have decreased significantly. There are two other people that share my position at work, soon to be three. There is the main man Lance whom doesn't really do it anymore just trains anybody willing to do the job for the most part and tells us the do's and don't whenever were on the job, and there is a girl Brittany whom like me just needs the money and does it whenever avaliable. Ever since the argument I would say about 70% of the shifts have gone to Brittany and I just don't think it's fair. We both are avaliable 5 days a week. The only days I don't work are tuesdays and thursdays and she doesn't work wednesday's and sundays. I generally work another position on friday and saturday nights, but there are still 6 other shifts during the week that I am avaliable for that I am not getting. Sunday used to be an important day for me with Brittany unavaliable, but for some reason Lance was scheduled to work a double on that day last week when he very rarely ever does it and this Sunday he is training, so of course i'm not going to be working. Just comparing our schedules Brittany has 7 shifts on the position we share for the week to only 2 for me and that was the exact same case last week. I want to speak up to my manager on the situation, but I do not want to swallow my pride, because one I don't think I was wrong for speaking my mind on something that had been bothering me for a while for I feel as if this was done on purpose, based off some things he said during the argument and after discussing the issue with my co workers apparently he has a history of cutting employee's hours as a form of punishment. I have began searching for another job to keep my options open, but in our current economy getting a job is easier said than done and with my increasing expenses it's very hard to just wait to hear back from another job, so should I just speak up and express how I feel to attempt to get more hours while looking for another one? It's not something I want to do, but something has got to change.

ANSWER: Hello Proof,

It sounds to me like you have a vindictive, jerky boss, or, at the very least, a very immature boss. Your only option is to once again speak to him. Don't bother bringing up the other argument. Don't bother to give him reasons why you're right or why he should give you your shifts back. He isn't going to admit he's wrong. He isn't likely he'll admit he's being vindictive. Just focus on what you need--your shifts back.

The best technique for getting what you need in life is to ask for what you want simply and directly. It sounds obvious, but is actually a very difficult thing to do. Most people cannot ask for what they want. They feel as if they need to justify why they should have it. Don't fall into that trap. Be powerful. Don't beat around the bush. Keep your request simple and direct. No extra words. No reasons. Just ask directly and SPECIFICALLY for what you want and wait to hear the answer.

For example:

You:  George (or whatever his name is stating someone's name always gets their attention),  I need to go back to working my 6 shifts a week.(insert correct number)

Then you wait for his answer. You must WAIT. The silence will be uncomfortable. It is a long known negotiation technique that the 1st person to talk loses. The longer the silence, the better off you are. I repeat. Do not talk in the silence.  

When your boss finally speaks LISTEN! This is very important. Listen closely, because many times people actually get what they want when they ask for something directly, but they argue after they get what they want and end up losing it. So if your boss says something to the extent that you will get more shifts on the next schedule, be sure to look him in the eye, and say something like, “Great. Thank you." And Exit. Leave. Do not linger. No more talking.

Even if you don't believe him, now is not the time to bring it up. Act as if he's going to keep his word. It makes it more likely that he will do what he says he'll do. You not believing him only gives him an excuse to take back his promise. Just take his word. Then, if the schedule goes up next week and you do not have more shifts, he is immediately in a low-power position. You will likely win the next round.

Now, If he tries to object to getting more shifts (or if he lied) the next persuasion technique is called "the broken record."

Basically all it entails is you acknowledging this objection and repeating your request again using virtually the exact same words. For instance:

Your boss: I'm sorry I don't have any extra shifts to give you.

You: I see, but I need to go back to working my 6 shifts a week.

Then you wait. The silence game continues and you keep doing this until you get what you want. It sounds annoying and stupid, but it works like a charm. Do not attempt to argue or reason with your boss. It gives him too much room to manipulate. Simply, ask for what you need over and over and over again until you get it.

Although these techniques are simple, they are NOT easy to do. Most people can't do it. You'll see. It will be kind of scary. You will feel weird. You will want to argue. You will want to justify, but the more direct you are, the more powerful you will come across. This pertains to everything in life.

Even if you do get the hours you require, seeking employment elsewhere is a very wise course of action. You're in a tough situation. I wish you the best of luck. Always remember what you're truly worth and try not to let small people who abuse their tiny bit of power get you down. Hang tough.

Let me know how it goes.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I talked to the night time manager last night for a brief period and she said if more shifts became avaliable I would be notified, well I just got my schedule for next week and I am only scheduled to work one day next week. Words can't express how angry I am right now i'm better off unemployed if that's the case.

It sounds to me like the night time manager isn't in the position to or is unwilling to make the scheduling change. A new job is definitely in order. Although, if you are quitting anyway, you have nothing to lose by going to the manager you originally suspect has penalized you and following the advice I originally outlined.

Expressing Yourself to Others

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Christy Murphy


Visit my website and get free stuff: I am gratefully ready to answer your questions regarding expressing gratitude and saying thank you. This includes topics such as wording and etiquette for thank you notes, cards and letters in addition to advice on acceptance speeches, and sharing your appreciation every day.


I have also been a professional writer, and public speaker for over ten years. I am host of the podcast Best Bad Advice.


My writing has appeared in publications such as Miami Herald, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Cat Fancy, and Pulp Magazine. I have also been featured on numerous radio stations and television shows including CNN's Showbiz Today, CBS News, and Channel 7 News in Australia.

Florida International University - Journalism

Awards and Honors
Best Humor Writer, FCCPA

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