My Boss Is Giving Me More Than I Can Handle


Is your boss giving you more than you can handle? Or are you just being a whiny millennial snowflake who wants a gold star and a cupcake for every promptly return email? If the answer is the former, read on. (If the answer is the latter, put on your big girl pants and get back to work. You can have a cupcake after 5:00 PM.)

But in all honesty, not all bosses are created equal. If you’re lucky, you will encounter intelligent managers throughout your career who actually understand human beings and may even be human beings themselves. Though in my experience, I have more often had bosses that fell wildly off the chart towards craziness. They were unreasonable, made absurd demands of their staff, and couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag. Bosses like this are fantastic at giving their staff more than they can handle. So if you feel overwhelmed at work, ask yourself these questions to try to get to the source.

Am I overwhelmed by tasks that aren’t in my job description?

Sometimes, bosses will throw responsibilities onto their staff that are far out of their job descriptions. If that’s the case, it’s time for an honest conversation with your supervisor. It’s one thing to be asked to take on more responsibility, but it’s something else entirely to have to carry someone else’s job without a heads-up.

Asking for help is more than okay.

If you are feeling bogged down by your own work, ask yourself why. Do you need more training? Extra help? Or simply more focus and less procrastination? It doesn’t help anyone to pretend you know what you’re doing when you don’t. Learn and grow!

Is my boss a terrible person, or just a bad manager?

A bad manager can grow and change, but a truly terrible person is unlikely to change. Don’t be afraid to get advice from HR if you feel like your supervisor is doing a genuinely poor job managing people. Be open and honest, while still being respectful. And if your boss really is a monster? Don’t be afraid to walk away.

No amount of money is worth being treated like dirt at work.

Is my job really more than I can handle?

Maybe. But maybe not. Perhaps you just need to reevaluate how you get your work done. Turn off your phone. Closeout facebook/reddit/twitter. Don’t take a two-hour lunch. Don’t hang out in the break room chatting for 45 minutes at a time. Focus. Get it done. And then when you leave for the day, really leave. Unplug and relax, so you’ll be refreshed to hit it again tomorrow. You might be surprised by how efficient you can be when you’re not watching baby goat videos for three hours a day.