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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Kirschaum

When you get more work, but not more money - do this

This question came in recently, and it's one a lot of people have.


I feel like I’m stuck and will never get promoted to the next level!! They regularly give me more work and responsibility but not the money or the title that comes with it. You have to stay here forever to get promoted, and they expect you to take anything they give you to do and be grateful for the “opportunity.”  


You have options, but first, a story...

A friend of mine, we'll call him, Rex, had a boss known to us as "Cruella DeVille." The stories he told about this monster were unreal. 

For a period of about six months, a consultant joined the practice and became a kind of mentor to Rex.

Before leaving, she took Rex to lunch one day and said:

“I don’t know if you realize this, so I’m telling you out loud, to your face: you're being abused. What I've seen here is textbook abuse. "

By validating the distant bell of "this doesn't feel right," Rex was already half-hearing,

his mentor's straight talk was the nudge Rex needed to get out of there. 

I’m not saying you're experiencing abuse, but it sounds like you feel you're being taken advantage of.

First: trust your feelings. If something feels out of whack, it usually is. 

It's your call to make as to whether you're going to put up with it. 

Next: it's on you to tell them you feel overloaded and aren't okay with the pace of your pay increases and promotions.

Don't assume they know.  

Know this: you teach people how to treat you. 

Are they giving it to you because they know you haven't learned how to push back or set boundaries?

That's a skill many haven't learned by the time they start working, so it's not uncommon to struggle with managing work transactions of this sort. 

The power hierarchy makes this even trickier.

The good news is, it's learnable, for example. 

When a bossy boss loads on more work, there are some phrases to have at the ready…for example:

Do you already have part of my workload earmarked for delegation to someone else, or do you want me to suggest someone who can take it? 

If you don't want to be treated like a workhorse, then respond like a leader.

That means: defining boundaries, priorities, and delegating. Be professional.

This scenario can be frustrating, don't let your emotions fog your glasses.

If you get sulky and don't stand up for yourself, you lose. 

Their reaction will determine your next move.

If it's a culture of dysfunction, you'll know pretty quickly

Don't wait for someone to take you to lunch and tell you. 

Trust your instincts about whether or not this is good and right for you. 


You. Can. Leave.

Going into a never-ending wait-and-see mode is not the move you want to make here.

Also worth noting: employers, "Leaders," and bad managers will whip out the “team player” card when it serves them.

You have to watch your own back and decide when they cross the line.

You know, the line where they go from asking you to be a team player to asking you to be the ball. 

If you’ve tolerated this in the past, don’t beat yourself up over it.  We all learn as we go, and you have the right to change your mind.

Could you use more work strategy and conundrum-resolving language?

Could you use a refresher on the dark arts of office politics?

They don't teach this stuff in college.

(Plenty of college professors get tied up in knots over this kind of stuff!)


PS - If you like these emails, you got options:

1. Forward this email to a friend with an invitation to subscribe right here.

2. Work with me and get there faster.

3. Start with LinkedIn Profile Payday and get recruited.

4. Hit reply and say hello.

5. Hire me to speak.


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