First, let’s establish what a scapegoat is. I’m not completely sure if it is a universally known and used word. A scapegoat is someone who is blamed when something goes wrong or when bad things occur. If you lose an account, blame the scapegoat. If the company goes bankrupt, blame the scapegoat. If there is an earthquake and the company’s building crumbles into nothing, blame the scapegoat. You get the point, right?
The scapegoat is the target for everything that goes wrong in the office. Some companies have one, some companies have several, and some companies have none. It is never a good thing for a company to place blame on individuals. It’s important for a company to work as a team and take the failures together just like they enjoy the accomplishments together. Nonetheless, there are still businesses that find value in having a scapegoat (for some odd reason). Being the center of all negativity is not where you want to be. In fact, if you find yourself there, just quit. There are numerous ways to tell if you are the scapegoat. Here are 10 signs to look for to know if you’re the office scapegoat.
1. You Are Scolded Multiple Times a Day
Remember the time when your mom yelled at you for not completing the list of chores. You had to do the dishes, laundry, sweep, mop, and whatever else she could think of on top of studying for two tests you had coming up. Or what about the time your little league coach brought you to tears because you didn’t run fast enough. You were five! How much did he expect out of your little legs? I know you remember the time your high school teacher called you out for texting when the person next to you, and the person behind you, were texting as well. Each one of these scenarios exemplifies the feeling you get when you are scolded multiple times a day at work. You feel small and incompetent. And you don’t understand why you were the only one to get in trouble when there were other people involved.
2. You Constantly End the Day in a Bad Mood
Your day starts off swimmingly. You cook a scrumptious breakfast, including scrambled eggs, sausage, waffles, and a few grapes on the side (at least that’s my opinion of a delicious meal). You bought a new outfit for work yesterday and you know that you will be turning heads in it. Traffic was clear on your way to work and you are having a karaoke session in your car. Life is good...for the moment. You get to work and think today is going to be a good day. Boy, were you wrong. An hour into work and you are bombarded with verbal assaults and negative comments. By the end of the day, you went from peppy and optimistic to depressed and confused. The life of the office scapegoat is hard.
3. Your Email is Full
You try your very best to dodge everyone who has put a target on your back but that doesn’t stop them from sending you emails. You hate technology for the fact that you are not only blamed in person but also online. There is no running away from the blame. Make sure you don’t check your work email on your days off or it will put a damper on your day of rest and relaxation.
4. You're Thinking About Quitting
Quitting is a very real possibility for you. You can only take so much negativity and embarrassment. It would be different if you actually deserved the scolding you get on a daily basis, but you don’t. You are just an easy target. You think about quitting every day and have even started looking into other jobs. Before you quit, make sure that you quit with style and sass. They will regret the day they decided to make you the office scapegoat.
5. You Complain Everyday
You don’t ever try to hide your feelings. It’s not like anyone cares or any of your colleagues are listening to your complaints. You are the scapegoat. You are not supposed to be happy. You complain everyday to let out your frustrations so you don’t end up punching one of your not so great co-workers. Complaining gets you nowhere but it is the only way you make it through the day.
6. You Can’t Remember the Last Time you Were Praised
Praised? What does that even mean? It is definitely not something you have experienced at work. You know that you have gone above and beyond at work and you have never been thanked for it. You have made tons of money for your company and you are still waiting on the ‘good job’ you know you deserve. Scapegoats don’t get praised, you get blamed. When will you understand?
7. You’ve Thought About Committing Mass Murder
This probably isn’t the best form of stress release. In fact, it’s not. Don’t do it. You don’t need to go all Carrie on your co-workers. If you are thinking about seriously injuring people, maybe you should try a mass prank. Pranking people is safer and funnier than the alternative. You will feel much better after you have a good laugh at their expense.
8. You Haven’t Received a Raise
I mean if you are not getting a ‘thank you for all your hard work’ comment, what makes you think you are going to get a raise. In the eyes of your abusers, you don’t deserve more money. That would be condoning all of the “bad” things you do. Not getting a raise would be my reason for quitting. I would be able to deal with the negativity if I was receiving adequate funds. Money’s the motivation and if you are lacking the former, you definitely don’t have the latter.
9. You Work Longer and Harder Than Everyone Else
The constant blaming for company failures takes its toll on you and you try to make up for it by spending more time at work. You strive to show everyone that you are a great employee and not everything is your fault. Everyday you stay later than everyone else and work harder to get the job done. Sometimes you even find yourself doing other people’s jobs. At this point, you have really settled into the scapegoat role.
10. You've Cried at Work
I mean I’ve cried at work before but it was for non-work related things. If you have run away to the bathroom to keep yourself from crying in front of your co-workers, then you are mostly like an office scapegoat. If you’ve teared up after your superior told you that you need to step it up, then you are the scapegoat. There is nothing wrong with crying. It is not a sign of weakness. Just don’t do it at work. At least wait till you get to your car.
The life of the office scapegoat is a sad one. You are always unhappy by the end of the day. You make the lowest pay possible. And you are perceived as a bad worker. You didn’t spend hours studying in college to be treated like an idiot and you don’t plan on being treated terribly for much longer. If these signs are relevant to you, then you should find a different job. Your current employer, obviously, doesn’t value your ideas, hard-work, or well-being. Do what you need to do in order to be happy. The scapegoat life is not for the smart and ambitious.