Opportunity Knocks: Excessive Workload

In life, many things come your way. In most cases you have a choice: you can regard them as problems or you can regard them as opportunities.

In our present economy, our current environment of downsizing, those who have not been downsized out of work are picking up the workload left over from those who are now unemployed. Sure, we all bitch about it, but events like these present opportunities along with their burden.

Given a greatly increased workload gives you a chance to:

  • Exhibit management skills
  • Show off your own skills
  • Become more valuable to your company

Here's what I mean.

Exhibiting Management Skills

Your ability to capitalize on the opportunity presented by increased workload to exhibit management skills will depend to a great degree on your existing work environment and your place therein. If you are relatively new, front line infantry, you will have an uphill battle convincing coworkers to join any of your initiatives. Nevertheless, you can move in that direction. If you are a well established employee who other employees already turn to for guidance, you are already halfway there.

The key to exhibiting management skills as a non-management employee is building alliances.

Complimentary Skill Sets

One way to ease your workload and a co-worker's workload at the same time is to compare strengths and weaknesses and make an agreement to share work according to each person's strengths. For example, you are an electronic technician assembling custom circuit boards. Some components you know like the back of your hand and some are unfamiliar to you. You can get with a co-worker who knows what you don't know to assemble a circuit board with multiple components. You do the ones you know, and they do the ones they know, and the work gets done faster and better.

This management skill is called team building. Do it and note it as part of your skill set on your resume.

Information Sharing

Develop a community of information sharing. Share information you know that will be valuable to others. When you ask a question, share the answer with everyone you think will benefit from it. Email works great for this. Be a leader by creating paths of communication. This is what a good manager does.

Delegation

In concert with the "complimentary skill sets" idea above, encourage co-workers to delegate work to you that you can do better than they can. In return, request that they accept work from you that their skills allow them to do better than you can. By doing this you will improve performance of everyone. One could not ask more from a manager.

Show Off Your Stuff

Rise to the challenge whenever possible. Do whatever you have to do to get all your work done and done well. Stay late. Come in early. Work through lunch. Let your boss know in an off-hand, unassuming way that you are stepping up to do your part.

In addition to sheer effort, be conspicuously organized. Keep your work separated by logical criteria. Be able to answer questions about your work instantly. Be innovative, using everything at your disposal to keep your increased workload under control.

Stay focused. Maximize your productivity. Be unswervingly efficient. By doing these things you will differentiate yourself from your co-workers and prove that you are worthy of a management position.

Increase Your Value

By doing these things you will increase your value to the company.  Does this mean you won't be laid off?  Don't be silly.  Anybody could be laid off anytime.  But if you have effectively made your efforts known to management you will have bettered your chances of survival. 

A side benefit of viewing increased workload as an opportunity rather than a burden is that you will find that your attitude is better, and so your mood and general outlook are improved.  And if you are laid off, at least you can say it wasn't because you didn't do your job. 

 

More by this Author


Comments 35 comments

Jmell profile image

Jmell 7 years ago from El Paso, Texas, USA

Super advice here Tom - keeping the working people on a positive stroll rather than suffering the stress of overload!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Why suffer needlessly? Thanks, Jmell


NarayanKrishna profile image

NarayanKrishna 7 years ago from The country of Mount Everest

In some cases it is just opposit. Those who work hard is kicked out.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Absolutely true. Before trying to advance in your company in the way I suggest, you need to have been in the company long enough to know whether or not it might work.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

Excellent advice for those still in the work force!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thanks Gypsy! May they increase and be fruitful.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

This is great stuff Tom! I need to get a FT job.. sigh..


fishskinfreak2008 profile image

fishskinfreak2008 7 years ago from Fremont CA

The only quibble I have is that you could be ruining your health by not eating properly (i.e. your "Work through lunch" part)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Candie! I wish you good luck in your search.

True, Fishskin. I'm saying, eat a good lunch at your desk at a liesurely pace while doing work if necessary. And it's not something you have to do every day. But it shows anyone who might be around to notice your extra effort.


Pachuca213 7 years ago

You always have such great advice...you are the advice GURU =)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Pachuca. The point was made earlier that not all companies reward performance. I say that good performance makes you feel good about yourself and makes you more marketable to employers.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Spot on Tom. My experience as an employer for over forty years taught me to look for the triers and reward them. Always worked for me.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

That's a good manager talking, Earnest!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Great advice Great tips


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Sixty!


pgrundy 7 years ago

Great advice! And timely too. In my immediate family, everyone who is still working is working A LOT--like, 60 or more hours per week--but everyone seems to have at least one (or more) family members now at home who can't get an outside job of any kind. So it's a new situation for lots of families all around--lots of adjustments and anxieties. Thanks for addressing the overwork half of the equation. It gave me an idea for a hub on the other half--thanks for that, too!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, BadCo!

Excellent, PGrundy!


Krishna 7 years ago

Very nice ideas. Thank you very much.


sheenarobins profile image

sheenarobins 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Two Thumbs Up! I just need this hub, N O W! thanks Tom!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thank you, Krishna.

Thanks so much, Sheena! I'm so glad this was useful to you!


myway720 profile image

myway720 7 years ago from Gresham, Oregon

Great hub! With unemployment so high, the ones still working are often overlooked. Your hub helps those in that situation.

Oftentimes the key is to take a short breath and put the situation in perspective. When I've done this in the past, it often helped me to think more clearly and not overreact. And the load and problems often seemed to get smaller and more easily managed as a result.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Exactly, Myway. Sometimes I see that full inbox and my eyes glaze over. But I get myself a cup of coffee or a drink of water, come back and hit it, and before I know it I'm caught up. But as time as gone on, I have made allies. We help each other. That makes it easier.


Am I dead, yet? 7 years ago

Tom, expert advice. I had to link it to my blogspot ^.^ thanks for such an essential hub!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Wow, thank you AIDY!


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I needed this when I was still in the corporate world. But I can always go back, can't I? Thanks for sharing - soild advices here! :D


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Chris! Don't do it! Don't go back!


notorious_HAI 7 years ago

Excellent hub Tom. You are right, noone is safe from the boot. Even revenue generators! During unstable periods like this, it also helps to network and get back in touch with people from your past working life. Most of the recruiters I know who have been laid off have gained employment through their contacts - either other recruiters, ex-colleagues or clients and candidates. Great work catches up with you :)


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Excellent points, Notorious! Thank you!


spradlig 7 years ago from Colorado

I'm an aerospace engineer and we are constantly battling layoffs. Aerospace is a cyclical industry and at any given time you can your company can go from being the US gov's favorite supplier to being a goat. (There are more reasons than you can count for why this happens.)

As a new engineer fresh out of school, my tact was to tackle anything put in front of me well as I could to demonstrate a breadth of skill and general usefullness. As a more seasoned engineer I try to do everything just that much better than my peers by automating a lot of the repetitive and mundane tasks.

That said the companies I've worked for are so large that they have policies in place that prevent early promotions. Showing off for those around you seems to be of little use because decisions about your fate are made 3 levels above you someone you've never met.

I've managed to stay employed despite the current economic conditions but the threat has been real for at least 3 years now. So about 18 months ago I started making my presence felt on the web. My hope being that I can impress enough people with my engineering site (http://wikis.controltheorypro.com) that at least some part time work will be there from people who were impressed.

For those without the money or tech skills to run their own site I would highly recommend making your presence felt on sites like Hubpages, Squidoo, and Ezine. Display some expertise; develop a small following. Be careful not to write anything that your employer won't be happy with - other employers won't be impressed either.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States Author

Thanks for sharing your strategy, Spradig!


Mohammed Vaseemuddin 6 years ago

who can i answer? why do you think your salary should be appreciated?


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States Author

Who asked a question? Anyway, thanks for dropping by.


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

Hi Tom~ Great hub. I'm a big believer in looking for oppportunities out of bad or nothing at all. Also, the complimentary skills you talked about is something that can work well in marriages too. I'm thankful for college group projects that taught me this skill.


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

Tom- I hope you don't mind I put a link to this hub on one of mine you just commented on- I think they go good together.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States Author

Oh, yes, that would have been your hub:

http://hubpages.com/business/How-to-Handle-a-Compl...

By all means link away!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working