Help! I’m Doing the Work of 3 People!

help doing work people

There’s a common refrain heard in the corporate world: “I’m so overworked! I’m doing the job of three people at least!”

Often when people have this feeling, they take all the wrong steps. They complain to others—or worse, they say these words to a manager in hopes of getting a raise, or sympathy, or a workload adjustment.

Sadly, this phrasing often backfires. Talking about your heavy job responsibilities in such a way can be incredibly counterproductive.

If you’ve ever uttered similar words, or are tempted to do so now, keep reading. There’s a better way to approach this problem.

  • Is it accurate?

When managers hear people say, “I’m doing the job of multiple people,” they immediately assume it’s an exaggeration. Here’s why: If you left the organization tomorrow, how likely is it that they would actually hire multiple full-time employees to cover your workload? Is it perhaps more likely that they would hire someone with a similar skillset to yours who can handle a similar workload? Would they possibly reallocate some of your responsibilities to other existing employees or decide some of your work is no longer necessary?

In most cases, when you think you’re doing the job of multiple people, it’s not technically true. The value of the things you are doing are not, in all practicality, equal to the salaries of multiple fulltime employees. So, when managers hear this language, they immediately think you’re overstating the situation.

  • Stop complaining, start problem-solving

If your workload is, indeed, overwhelming to a point where you feel like you’re doing two or three jobs in one, it’s time to reassess. Talking about it will get you nowhere; you need to take action, and you have options.

Consider what items you can delegate or simply remove altogether. Remember that delegation still requires time, as you will remain the primary person responsible. When you delegate a task, you’re simply getting assistance in the delivery; you’re not abdicating all responsibility. So, it may make more sense to request full release from certain obligations.

Perhaps nothing needs to be removed from your plate; maybe you just need clarification regarding priorities. You may not be understanding what truly must get done versus what’s nice to get done.

The goal here is to identify exactly what solution needs to take place and what support you need to make that happen. You’re not speaking to your manager to complain that the workload is unmanageable; you’re trying to solve the problem.

Also read: Drowning in Work? Here’s How to Quickly Delegate

  • Request commensurate compensation

Often, the complaint of doing “multiple jobs” stems from a feeling that the pay is not equal to what is being delivered. If the workload is manageable—but just larger or more multi-faceted than you were originally led to believe—it may be worthwhile to negotiate a compensation package that more closely aligns with what you are really doing.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you should ask for the equivalent of multiple salaries! That’s not realistic and, again, it’s not based on an accurate understanding of the situation.

Wait until you have a solid list of accomplishments under your belt, and then approach the topic well-prepared. Provide details of your workload and the measurable value you’re providing. Define the pay rate you would deem acceptable for the level of contribution you’re making.

Also read: How NOT to Ask for a Raise

Whatever you choose to do, stop saying you’re doing the work of multiple people! The impression it gives is painfully juvenile. You’re doing one job—even though the workload may be heavy.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.