No matter what your employer says, you are not part of a “family.”

You are an employee – most times, an “at-will employee” who can be terminated or replaced at any time.

Your workplace isn’t your family and it’s important to remember that your employer does not owe you anything and may not always look out for your best interests. That’s why YOU need to.

Saying that your place of employment is a “family” also can make employees feel they need to show an extraordinary amount of commitment and loyalty, which can undermine their work/life balance and give them a false sense of security.

While work can be a place where you have warm, supportive relationships with your co-workers and genuinely care about each other, they’re not family so be careful what you share with them.

Also keep your spidey sense up to tell if a co-worker is actually undermining you, a mean girl or gunning for your job. Unfortunately not all of your colleagues want you to succeed.

Most people are out for themselves.

In addition, pay close attention to the culture and any red flags you see when interviewing.

Do your due diligence — don’t just take your interviewer’s word on the culture. Read every single Glassdoor review. Talk to people who have worked there to learn about what it’s really like to work there.

And if they use the word “family,” take it with a grain of salt.

This is business, not family, no matter what your employer says.

That means that you stay really clear about the fact that it’s okay to look out for yourself and advocate for yourself.

This is a candidate market right now (it’s the Great Resignation) – and you have the upper hand. Don’t forget it.