I have decided to repost an article I wrote almost a decade ago now called Exploitation Explained: Know Your Worth. This is because I am hearing some very unpleasant stories about people being exploited at work. Many employers are taking advantage of employees because of the global economic downturn, inflation, etc. However, people seem to be waking up and they are moving on to other jobs where they are appreciated, or they start working for themselves. People are becoming more self-sufficient (turning away from the Government, corporations, etc.): I saw this happening during the lockdowns (I wrote about it here).

Making such life changes begins with knowing that you are worth more… If you do not see it yet, maybe the sentiments expressed below will help to change your mind…

“Most of you have probably been exploited (i.e. used, taken advantage of, played upon and so on). Some of you may even be the ones doing the exploiting – you guys may be surprised by what I am about to express in this article.

Those who do the exploiting – who will from here on in be referred to as ‘users‘ – always want something from others that they either do not have, or that they are too lazy to get for themselves. This means, that those being used and abused have one, or more attributes and possessions that are sought after by the users. Then, it also follows, that those taken advantage of have VALUE – they possess valuable assets sought after by the users. These treasured qualities, or things vary widely in their scope: money; time; labor; sexuality; intelligence; intellectual property; physical property; love; attention; loyalty; emotional support; friendship…and you could probably come up with many more…

The unfortunate consequence of such actions is that those being used are usually very hard on themselves. They blame themselves for not knowing, or doing any better – especially when they have experienced the same thing over and over again, and often, by the same users. However, I would turn this around and tell them (including myself) that you need to take pride in the fact that these people find you valuable. Instead of allowing it to wreak havoc on your self-esteem, use it to build you up, and place blame where it rightly belongs. Those who exploit others consistently – in most cases – do not have a conscience. Be thankful that you have one and don’t wait around for users to acquire one – it’s never gonna happen. Here are a few more pointers:

  • Avoid blaming yourself for having been deceived – it is not a sign of stupidity. How can you know what you don’t know until you know it?
  • As for being used by the same people over and over – kick them to the curb. Avoid forgiving every transgression because it will only be visited upon you repeatedly – the user’s mentality is: “If I could get away with it once (or twice or ten times), I can get away with it from now on.”
  • You don’t have to become a user to protect yourself from one. If you have a loving and trusting nature, keep it intact whilst you learn to sharpen your discernment and to act upon it without any guilt. If you need to tell someone where to get off, do it.
  • Keep this quote in mind: “If I cut you out of my life, chances are, you handed me the scissors.” (I wish I knew who came up with this one because I would like to congratulate them.)