If You Want To Tell Your Boss You Have Too Much Work, You Have To Do More Work

Just a little bit more.

Photo: Trai

Everyone works, unless they don’t, and even then, they still probably feel overworked or burnt out or like a hollow husk of a human, beaten down by the sheer amount of work they have and the constant drive to do better, be better and achieve more.

We are all busy. We are all swamped. We are all mired, drowning, in the reeds, and lest we moulder in the proverbial swamp of our own overwork, it is essential to ask for help.

How to Tell Your Boss You Have Too Much Work

We all need help and when we need that help, it’s okay to ask for it. But the reasons that we don’t ask for it are simple:

First, you may worry that by saying something you’re going to lose your job. “In the bottom of your belly is this feeling that if you can’t handle the work, there’s someone else who can; you feel dispensable,” she says. Second, “the natural tendency is to think, ‘I am not working hard enough, smart enough, or efficiently enough. I should be able to handle this.’ So you suffer in silence.”

Feeling guilty about admitting that you’re overworked is something everyone can sympathize with, even though it is patently ridiculous to feel guilty about being overworked because no one needs to work themselves to the bone. But, this is how the mind works, and this is how the modern workplace is structured: to work and work and work to prove your value.

It’s okay to tell your boss that you’re overworked, but to do it right, you have to do a little more work: if you’re going to tell your boss that you’re overworked and need help, you have to arm yourself with a solution, at least three of them to make it seem like you’re not just complaining and are actually overburdened.

“Never go to your boss with a problem unless you have a solution,” Morgenstern says. You might, for instance, suggest that certain tasks be done quarterly instead of monthly, that colleagues step in to assist you on a particular project, or that the organization hire a temp to lighten the load. Your goal is to identify “projects that can be delayed, delegated, deleted, or diminished.”

Coming up with viable solutions for a situation that has become so out of control that you need to ask for help feels difficult; I’ve been there, and it is. When you’re frustrated to the point that you have to tell your boss that youi’re overworked, often the only solution you can think of is “GIVE ME LESS WORK OR LAY OFF ME FOR A SEC.” That isn’t productive and probably won’t do you any favors.

Does it feel overwhelming to sit down and think of solutions for your problem of being overworked? It’s okay. Just…try. If you’re overworked and you really want to make yourself feel less like the world is closing in on you, try and come up with something. Anything helps. Every little bit.

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.