Unfair Workload & Snide Manager

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about workload: I work longer and harder but am criticized for inefficiency; how should I react?

My Manager is forcing a workload on me that is unfair in comparison to another worker, who he coincidentally has a stronger friendship with  a brown noser. When I attempt to hover around the subject of workload, the only response I get is that I’m not being “efficient” enough. I am confident this is not the case and can prove otherwise. I rarely have time for a lunch break over 15 mins and often need to work unpaid overtime. My counterpart coworker, in the 2 years I’ve known him, has never worked 10 minutes overtime and almost never had less than a 1 hour lunch break. Something tells me also that a constructive dismissal could be in the Manager’s cards, as I believe the workload situation will either lead to a mistake by me or provoke me to crack under the pressure.

Signed, Something Tells Me

Dear Something Tells Me:

You are sure your boss is unfair and will do almost anything to send you job hunting? Apparently, there is more going wrong than just that your boss likes your brown nose coworker. What should you do first about an unfair load and second about fearing you might be fired?

Load? You are only one person and can only do so much. If you work faster, you are prone to make mistakes and the very stress to prove you are efficient can cause you to fatigue. You say that you have “hovered” about the topic of load and that has gotten an accusation that you are inefficient. Have you considered a head-to-head time-out session with your boss? In such a session you, could spell out what tasks you do and ask for his advice on what to do to be more efficient. Also rather than to waffle about how much you have to do, you could firmly say, “Adam, I’m only one person and I don’t play around. I work hard. If you think you can hire someone who more committed and competent than I, that’s your business.”

Fear of being fired. After confronting Adam, you should feel freer. You no longer will walk on eggs and wondering if they or you will crack. You will have faced Mr. Big and stated you case. Of course, your case will be stronger if you have proof that you are committed to doing good work and adding value to your workplace, such as, you have suggested ways to cut wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted energy and wasted money. Almost every workplace has lots of fat and it takes but a little thought to find ways to make something better; ways of making co-workers’ jobs easier, ways to make the work area more pleasant and attractive, and most of all ways to improve the quality and durability of products and service to internal and/or external customers.

I hope these thoughts make sense and spur you to make your voice heard in a confident way. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Think what that might mean. It could mean you are not just seeing yourself as a victim, but are actually thinking about ways to make your coworker and boss’s jobs easier. You begin to think “we” and not just me. Why? Because you have a strong case for WE!

Do update me in a couple of weeks with a more positive story, or if you decided that you did your best but decided to find work elsewhere.

William Gorden