A reader writes:
About 6 months ago, two employees in my department left – one quit and the other was laid off. I was asked and agreed to do the work of the person who quit and was told that the additional responsibilities would lead to a pay increase and new title. When the other person was laid off, I absorbed her responsibilities because we had the same title and function. Now, I am doing the work I was hired to do as well as the work of two additional people. Both the employees that left made more substantially more money than what I currently make. I have not received a raise to date, and the workload has become so overwhelming that I am taking work home with me just so that I don’t fall too far behind.
I have had several meetings with my manager to let him know that I feel very overwhelmed and that I need some help with my additional responsibilities. I have given him a detailed, numbered list of my responsibilities, how long each task takes, and recommendations of how to resolve the issue that I felt were very fair. I also told him that I would rather forgo the raise that I was promised months ago in order to be able to bring someone else on board so that I don’t have to continue bringing work home with me after hours.
My concerns have gone unnoticed and I think as long as the work is getting done, they do not see a reason to be concerned. I am not sure what else I can do or say to help them see that I can’t continue much longer to do the work of three people when I am only one person (and only getting paid for one role!). Any advice?
You’re dealing with an unethical company.
It’s not unethical to pile more work onto a single person, particularly when that person agrees to take it on. But it’s absolutely unethical to get them to agree by promising a raise and a title change and then not come through. They made you an explicit promise, and they’ve broken it.
You should do the following:
1. Meet with your manager and say this: “When I agreed to take on this extra work six months ago, I was promised a raise and a title change for doing so. It’s been six months, and neither of those have happened. When exactly should I expect those things to happen, and what is the amount of the raise you’re envisioning?”
Your manager will probably hem and haw. If so, that’s your answer — there’s probably no raise or title change coming. If there were, she’d be able to tell you something more concrete.
2. I’d also recommend saying this: “Additionally, I am now doing the work of three people, and no plans have been made to alleviate that. I’m no longer able to continue working the extra hours I’ve been working in order to get these three jobs done. I’m going to prioritize the work in the following way: ____. That means that items X, Y, and Z probably won’t get done unless they’re assigned to someone else. Is that the prioritization you’d prefer, or would you rather I group these differently?”
Then stick to that. Return to working a normal work week, and give your manager regular weekly updates by email on what’s been accomplished that week and what hasn’t been accomplished due to lack of time. Spell out the consequences of not rehiring or adjusting the workload very clearly.
Meanwhile, I’d start looking at other jobs. Unfortunately, your company has shown you through its actions that it will continue to treat you this way as long as you let them — so believe what their actions are telling you, and stop letting them.