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.
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.
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.