hey volleyballgirl. i think you do have grounds for feeling 'used' and i do know that we are all going through some difficult times financially due to the economic climate. that beign said, i have learnt that i allow people to treat me and i kind of 'train' them to treat me in a certain way. i have realised that eventhough they are taking advantage of me, i also play a part in it and this is where i have been taught about assertiveness because i have been a people pleaser my entire life. (definition of a people pleaser: when someone asks us to do something, we do it but feel resentment or when we say no, we are racked by guilt.) also, what i have noticed is because i don't have the courage to speak about how i feel, people don't know what i am going through. communication is sooo important. my suggestion would be to explain your situation to your manager and maybe think of alternatives cause managers love it when we state the challenge and include some answers or suggestions. and stand up for yourself when needed. hope this helps. and may you be blessed in your endevours to treat yourself with the respect that YOU deserve.
You will have to learn how to say NO. People only take advantage of you because you allow it. Perhaps get a blank book and write down everything that you do every 30min to an hour for a month. Then you can take this to your boss and show him how hard you work, that you dont have any breathing space. Also when the recession does become better, you have leverage of why you deserve that increase. You dont want to work yourself into a breakdown or your health starts to suffer because of it. Hang in there. things will get better!!
Times like these really show you the kind of people your working for.
On your spare time, send out your resume and see what's out there. Take a sick day here and there to go to interviews or see if the other employer will interview on your off hours or even weekends.
I was able to get interviews after work at times so I know it's do able.
I would seriously start looking for something else especially if your not happy. In the mean time just grin and bare it. It's all you got and you don't want to be unemployed right now, but it doesn't mean you can't look around. Just don't allow any new employer to inquire at your present job in regards to references, unless you have very high confidence in certain individuals at your present job in keeping it quiet. I wouldn't trust anyone though but that's just me. People like to throw people under the bus any chance they get to get ahead.
Just tell them you can have past references, but you don't want to effect your present position. they should understand.
In times like these, as it has already been said, it's shifty questioning your boss on this, so I bite the bullet and try to keep my disdain to a minimal. I've been underpaid for the entire 3 years I've been working where I'm at, and only last month got a raise up to a whole $.25. All of my co-workers make more than me and it seems like they don't work nearly as hard as I do. I'm not dissing my co-workers--they're okay people, but it is frustrating.
You should advocate for yourself, no one can fire you for questioning the pay structure to you boss. 'Fourandahalfdays' is right though, now is not a good time to be looking for work, so I understand if you don't want to question your boss on this. The fact is that is really the only thing short of quitting that you could do.