A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Boss Won't Hire More Help
Dear Sue: I am a legal assistant and sole employee of the
attorney I work for. When he and his wife purchased the office building we
are in, they merged their offices and I was told I would be doing work for
his wifeís business in addition to the work I was already doing.
I told the attorney that I thought it was too much for me, and Iíve
tried to convince them to hire another employee, but they will not. I
honestly feel I am doing the work of three people; I answer the phones, do
the bookkeeping, schedule appointments and greet clients for both
businesses, in addition to all of the legal assistant research and
preparation work I do.
I am paid well by the attorney, but have never received any money from
his wife. Both businesses are very busy, and I can't keep this up any
more. Iíve told this to the attorney, but he insists I will be fine.
Iíve spent over nine years working with this attorney, and I feel I am
being taken advantage of. I don't know what I should say or do. Please
Sue Says: You need to sit down with the attorney and his wife
and tell them exactly what you have told me. Although youíve told the
attorney you canít keep up and you tried to convince him to hire
additional help, youíve continued to prove yourself wrong. Youíve pushed
yourself to do the work of three people, and been able to manage the needs
of two businesses very nicely. No wonder the attorney insists youíll be
fine; from his perspective you are--both he and his wife are getting their
You should feel good about your ability to manage such a heavy
workload, and need not apologize for choosing not to continue at this
pace. Your comments and suggestions will have little impact unless you
stop doing the work of three people and clearly state new boundaries. You
need to define exactly what you are willing and not willing to do, and for
what amount of money. They may try to push you to do more for less, but
this time, donít back down. While Iím not suggesting you be unwilling to
compromise, be careful not to shortchange yourself.
You already have taken on more than you can handle. If you want to
offer to help hire someone it is up to you, but it isnít a job you must
take on. You donít need anything else added to your already overloaded
workload. Relinquish that task into the hands of the attorney and his
wife, where it belongs.
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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