As a provider of resume services to professionals at all levels in the Calgary marketplace, I hear this story from many clients.
An important point here is to consider how you handle these situations. Although a new job will instantly solve your current predicament, how quickly will it be before you find yourself in the exact same position? It’s important therefore to understand how to handle these situations definitively.
It generally starts out easy, only requiring a small amount of your personal time, however always saying “yes” without considering the consequences can develop into a very unhealthy habit. You become the ‘go to’ person in the office for everyone from the temp to the team at the top, which initially makes you feel invaluable, but can quickly escalate into a sense that you’re overwhelmed with your workload.
Many people end up working extra hours, taking work home, or forfeiting family time and holidays to get things done. It can be difficult to decide when it’s healthier to say “no” to your employer, but if you ask yourself a few questions before giving your boss an answer, you can decide whether it’s healthier to say yes or no.
You might be in the habit of automatically replying yes when your employer makes a request, but stop and think about what you really want to answer. If you genuinely want to answer yes then it’s probably okay, but if part of you wants to answer no then you should think a little further about how you are feeling.
How would you feel if you took on that extra work only to be vilified if you don’t complete your core tasks in a timely fashion? How will this extra work interfere with your core duties? Will it require you to work late/weekends? Is this a short-term fix or is it likely to be a never-ending supply of additional duties?
Take ownership of your responsibilities, draw a line in the sand whereby others in the office understand what your priorities are, and don’t be afraid to deflect an attempt to saddle you with duties out with your remit if you genuinely cannot cope with them. Be calm and reasonable in your deflection of additional tasks, and try to always offer a solution for the person seeking assistance, even if it to refer them to someone else in the office who isn’t as hard-pressed as yourself.
If you plan to turn down an employer request, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute. Have a fully prepared answer thought out and ready to go. You need to give your boss the option to find another person for the task. If you wait too long, they won’t have time to find someone else, and this could direct anger toward you and jeopardize your standing at work. It’s better to have that conversation in person, but if that isn’t an option be sure to give your answer in a timely fashion.
If you’re not effective at what you’ve been hired to do, you won’t last long in the job anyway.
Work/Life Balance - What does this actually mean? The general assumption is that it’s an employer’s way of demonstrating their respect for your life out with the employment setting. However, some employers actually consider work/life balance as an integral part of their social programs and activities – a duty to their employees, as opposed to something you’re entirely capable of managing yourself. Your definition of this may very well differ from your employers, and if this actually matters to you, it is an important term to seek clarity on during the interview process.
Many people assume that work/life balance means that you won’t be expected to be doing anything work related beyond the standard working week. Many employers think this means they should be putting on after-work events for you in the spirit of the clichéd battle cry of “work hard, play hard”. Failure to attend these events may well lead to you being unfairly tagged as not being a team player.
If you’re seeking a genuine work/life balance because you value time with family or friends, as opposed to spending more time with work colleagues socializing after hours or running half marathons on a Saturday morning, then it is important to make this clear. You and your prospective employer should be on the same page in this regard. If you’re not, you’ll most likely be looking for a new job again.