How to Tell Your Boss You Have Too Much Work

Journeys in Construction

How to Tell Your Boss You Have Too Much Work

How to Tell Your Boss You Have Too Much Work

I’ve been trying to mentor some young fellows. Was thinking about how to better articulate some advice while walking this afternoon. Came up with this. You can watch the video or read the transcript below.

Let’s walk and talk about how to tell your boss you have too much work, if that’s a problem for you. Just ask for help. I mean, that seems obvious, but oftentimes people don’t ask and just get increasingly frustrated until they blow up. I’ve been there before and done that. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. You can be direct, honest, and respectful with your boss and coworkers. 

Also consider discussing with a trusted and experienced third-party about whether or not your workload is reasonable. If you’re really frustrated, it might help to practice a mock discussion with your trusted person before making a big deal of the issue with your boss.

Don’t just say you’re overworked. And don’t threaten to quit. They might just let you go. Keep an ongoing list of your duties and priorities aside from your regular job description. Be specific. Keep records of past time spent and estimate how much time will be needed to meet future deadlines. 

Make it about quality, or safety, if that’s applicable to the situation. Don’t just complain.  Frame your issue as a concern that you might not be able to deliver the full workload at the expected level of quality. Show that you value high quality work, and you have the best interest of the company in mind. 

Discuss schedule and delegation. Make it clear that you might not be able to meet the expected schedule if you don’t have more help. Explain how other people might help with some of your workload and propose solutions. 

Emphasize positive aspects. Keep a good attitude and don’t be too harsh. Talk about what is going well. Say “yes” enthusiastically to what you can do. And politely say “no” to what you cannot do. Focus the conversation and frame it around what is good for your boss, your team, and the company. 

If all else fails, get a new boss. You might be able to outlast your boss and perhaps take their position eventually. Or you can get a new job at a different company, obviously, but keep in mind, there are some crummy bosses at other places too. 

Be patient and persistent. Those two might seem contradictory, but you can strive to achieve a balance between those two qualities. 

And you’ll probably end up in a position to negotiate higher pay. I’ll make another video about that later. 

That’s all for now. Thanks for watching and coming along on my walk. Cole out.


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