We are constantly short-staffed and while everyone says we’re recruiting additional staff, nothing is happening. My life is work and it’s not healthy. I don’t want to whine but I’m not sure how much longer I can keep up the pace. I’ve had lots of conversations and keep getting “we’re fixing it” so I don’t know that speaking to management again is going to help. Any ideas? H.F., Hoboken, New Jersey
Take a look at your work behavior. Are you focused specifically on your own work or have you inadvertently expanded the scope of your job to take on others’ tasks? Are you managing expectations and accurately estimating how long it will take you to get your work done? Are there items on your to-do list that aren’t yours to do? Or are there a lot of “like to have” versus “need to have” items on your list?
I’m not suggesting the current situation is your fault, it’s just that the only place you have total control is your own behavior. Be ruthless when you look at your daily work schedule. What makes the most sense for the business? Where will you get the biggest return for your time/effort? When you’ve done this analysis, set up time with your manager.
“I understand we’re working hard to fill our open positions. In the meantime, I’m concerned that overworking will ultimately affect my ability to deliver my usual excellent quality. After taking a hard look at where I’ve been spending my time, I’ve discovered x, y, z. To address this, I’m going to change my behavior and do a, b, c. I will make sure that I manage expectations around my deliverables so that no one is surprised when I change how I’m working. I wanted you to know why I am doing what I’m doing in case you hear any pushback. As always, I appreciate your support.”