During the pandemic our team was cut in half and I have been basically been doing two people's jobs. Recently one of my teammates gave her notice and my boss said that she expected me and another colleague to take on some of this additional work. When asked whether she would be helping, she said no. She hasn't taken on any extra work since our changes in staffing and is now expecting me to take on even more without any kind of compensation. I've hit my wit’s end. Is there anything that I can do aside from just quitting?
Ready to Quit
Dear Ready to Quit,
The negative effects of the pandemic on the workplace have not yet subsided, especially for you! It’s clear you’ve taken on too much in the last several years, and without much support from your office, so you’re asking the right question. Let’s break down your options, other than quitting:
1. Ask about plans to hire. Ask leadership what, if any, plans there are to increase staffing. If they can provide a specific timeline and plan that seems reasonable to you, perhaps you’ll feel you can stick around.
2. If there are no plans to hire, make the case to leadership. Speak up to management and be honest that you simply cannot take on anymore. Some leaders may respond well if they knew their employees’ mental health and well-being was suffering, so include this in your case if you feel your manager would be empathetic. Unfortunately, however, some leaders do not care to know about any negative emotional or mental state of their employees. It seems your unhelpful manager may be in this camp. If that’s the case, I’d recommend being objective and making it clear that the understaffing is negatively impacting stakeholders or business. If your boss responds favorably to your plea, you can decide if you still want to stay and if you have the patience to make it through the hiring process.
3. If your boss says they cannot or will not hire more staff, ask for a raise. Make a clear-cut business case in writing for all you’ve taken on over the last 2-3 years and the value you bring to the organization. Decide on a number that seems fair to you and request that new salary explicitly. Avoid mentioning anything personal or emotional—just stick to the facts about the work you’ve done.
If leadership will not hire more staff, disclose an appropriate timeline for hiring, or give you a raise, then your best option is to leave. An organization that truly values you would provide support, either through better staffing or increased compensation for you. If you do not feel valued, it can be very challenging and demoralizing to keep holding on!
If you decide to quit, decide on your timeline and don’t look back. Having another job lined up before you leave may be ideal, but your wellbeing is another important consideration and only you can decide when enough is enough. And keep in mind, your leaving may set a precedent in which leaders will realize that they cannot keep pulling this nonsense! Research indicates it is actually more costly to an organization to lose staff. They should learn to do what it takes to retain quality staff members to save money in the long run, and hopefully create a better environment for everyone involved.
P.S. Now that I’ve shared my thoughts, I’m curious what the amazing community of educators reading this post has to say. Chime in, folks! What thoughts do you have for Ready to Quit? Share your thoughts on the Global Leadership League’s LinkedIn page.
Please note: This response is provided for informational purposes only. The information contained herein is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for the legal advice or legal opinions of a licensed professional. Contact a personal attorney or licensed professional to obtain appropriate legal advice or professional counseling with respect to any particular issue or problem.