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When Your Workload Shrinks, Don’t Panic


You’ve been doing a two-person job. You’re stretched too thin and you constantly find yourself answering an increasing number of queries, working on multiple projects, and giving advice on almost everything. Then, the company hires someone to take some of your workload. Now that there’s a new person to take some stuff off your plate, you can finally breathe easy. Or can you?

working late

(Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver/Flickr)

When you’re used to being the go-to person in your department, having to relinquish some responsibility may come as a bitter-sweet experience. You’re no longer needed for everything, and there’s another person whose opinions are sought after now. So while it might be nice not to be overworked anymore, you miss the experience of being the expert and knowledgeable resource.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

So here’s what you can do to get through this new transition.

1. Offer help to the new person

Because you’ve been in the role for a while, you’re probably the best person to help out the new person. Be proactive and share as much information as is helpful for her to perform her job.

2. Reaffirm your support

Let the new employee know that you are around to help and can provide any historic information or context to decisions of the past. Also let her know that you will be able to help if she needs guidance when working with difficult clients.

3. Use your “free” time

While some may find it liberating to have a breather, others may find it very unsettling, even feeling that their turf has been encroached upon. Acknowledge the change and know that this is an opportunity for you to explore a lot more tasks that you have been putting off because you were overworked. If you can, utilize your time to work on projects that would benefit the organization. That way, you’re proving your worth and helping the company while reestablishing your commitment to your job.

4. Do something new

This could be personal or professional. Add to your skills. Do something you always thought of doing but never did. That certification, that trip? Maybe you can find the time to pursue your interests.

5. Understand what it means to your career

If the new person was hired or assigned without your knowledge, have an open discussion with your manager. Chances are that she was hired because your manager saw that you were overworked. If you are worried about your career prospects, bring that up and understand how this change will affect your options. Also utilize this discussion to understand how you can get to where you want to go, career-wise.

6. Check out exit options

If you do realize that your job is being downsized and you might end up unemployed, start exploring your options within and outside the organization. Work on your resume, update your skills, and look for opportunities that are in line with your requirements.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you been a situation where your job complexity shrank and you ended up with less work? What did you do? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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