I've joined a company as First Line Support Engineer (IT), 3 years ago. As the title suggests I am there as the first line of support, fixing minor issues etc.

Fast forward 3 years later, I am building scripts, building the golden image, migrating satellite offices to our network etc. etc. doing 2nd and 3rd line stuff but I am still expected to keep my first line support at 100%.

My job title hasn't changed and I haven't received a salary increase for the last 2 years.

As I look at it, I have three options:

  1. Quit my job and search for another, which I wouldn't like at the moment as there a lot of issues in my private life.
  2. Speak to my manager for a salary increase, which I've done already and I will ask again in on our 1-to-1 meeting, in a few weeks time.
  3. Stop doing anything that is not first line and stick strictly to that

I am really looking to go to no.3 if I don't get a salary increase shortly, which then will be followed by choice no.1

Do you see any other option?


Thanks to all of you that found the time and replied to my question.

  • Clarifications

First of all, I would like to clarify that I would first find a job and then quit. I should have written this better on my OP.

Second, while I don't mind doing the tasks, doing both 2nd / 3rd line and 1st line, just stresses me a lot as at the same amount of time I have to do 1.5 jobs. So a lot of times, I need to cut corners which I don't want to.

I am having a 1-2-1 with my manager in about two weeks time and I am going to bring hard the case of promotion/salary raise, as the money I am getting, are not even remotely close to the tasks I've been doing for the last 18 months.

... the last thing you should consider doing is going back to 100% front-line breakfix, because these other duties you complain about are a golden opportunity.

While I don't mind the 2nd / 3rd line tasks, I don't gain anything from them (knowledge) as most of the things I do, I know them already or I can learn them pretty fast. So it's rather I am doing someone else's job for a low salary rather than gaining experience/knowledge.

As the last comment, this 1-2-1 meeting with my manager is going to be a catalyst for my decisions.

Again, thanks to all of you that spent your time replying to my question.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jane S
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 2:06

10 Answers 10


You have already talked to the manager about a salary increase and it hasn't happened. You should be job searching.

Any time you bring up more money there is the implication that you will take steps if you're not taken care of. This hasn't happened, and if you let it go there is no incentive to give you more money, you have no new leverage. Your situation hasn't changed and the manager is already aware of your reasoning. Procrastinating is just that, wasting time.

You can keep pushing while you search for a new position, but do not start refusing to do work or anything like that until you have a job offer in hand, that just opens you up for scrutiny and disciplinary action before you are ready to leave.


Don't do 3. Refusing to do work you are capable of and that is not considered an undue burden will get you fired for cause real quick in most places of the world. As you say, you have issues to deal with in your private life, this will not make things easier.

Firmly ask for more money and a title change, while searching for a better job simultaneously. There are numerous posts here on how to do it properly. In some countries you can also demand a written review, which will add pressure, help with negotiations - as it should list what tasks you are performing and how well - and help with your job search.

  • 2
    I think "fired for cause" for working within contract conditions may be a US thing. I'm pretty sure in the UK (OPs location) it would meet unfair dismissal criteria but the OP should contact their citizens advice bureau for confirmation before taking action.
    – Myles
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 14:03
  • I know for a fact that in Germany this would also apply to most employments. Don´t know for the UK exactly but I would be very surprised if refusing to do the work OP described would not be grounds for immediate termination.
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 14:08
  • 4
    In my experience it is standard in UK employment contracts to have a so-called 'flexibility clause' that will say something along the lines of, "along with your main duties, you will also be expected to carry out any other duties that are reasonably asked of you". As Papous13 has been employed for three years s/he might claim unfair dismissal were s/he dismissed for refusing to do the work, then the case would hinge on what the mediator or ET would find is "reasonable". A potential problem is if s/he does the work without registering a protest that may be taken as acceptance of the change.
    – Lag
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:19
  • @Lag: ... without registering a protest that may be taken as acceptance of the change - that and also, in my experience doing one task on a PC vs doing another task on a PC (which OP is apparently capable of) counts as reasonable. Would be something else if his employer expected him to pick up the shovel. But - as always with legal issues, ask a lawyer if you want to know for sure.
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:27
  • @Daniel, yes - in the UK one can ask the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) or the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) for free advice, or a solicitor (probably not free).
    – Lag
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 16:00

To take a slightly different view of this than the other answers, the last thing you should consider doing is going back to 100% front-line breakfix, because these other duties you complain about are a golden opportunity. (Unless you want to be a helpdesk technician your whole career... and even if you do, refusing to do "other duties as assigned" will probably result in your being fired). You should be using the opportunity you've been given, and building on your experience with more systems and network administration duties to transition into a job along those lines (probably somewhere else, based on what you've said).

You should keep up (or even accelerate) the non-helpdesk tasks you've been doing, make sure to update your resume to highlight those tasks, and search for a systems or network administration, engineering or devops job that pays a lot better than what you have now. I know plenty of IT support/helpdesk techs who'd kill for the experience you're getting now, so don't waste the opportunity.

  • 11
    Absolutely! They are assigning work that would pay better with a different title. So go to a place that will hire you under that title, and tell them that you have basically been doing that job for two years.
    – kleineg
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 2:27
  • 2
    Strongly agree. Management here probably thinks you are being rewarded by getting a better skill set. So use that better skill set to get a better job somewhere else.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 17:10
  • This completely neglects any sense of which tasks management considers to be most important. When an employee has too much on their plate, it's management's job to decide what's mission-critical and what you should let slide. Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 13:28

Option 4: Write up a little spreadsheet showing all your responsibilities and the time it takes you to do them (which is presumably over 40 hours a week), then take it to your manager and ask them to rank your duties. Then do what they say for 40 hours a week, being sure to keep them in the loop if and when low-priority tasks get dropped on the floor.

That said, you should be looking for a new job on the side, because your management doesn't sound like they have any intention of rewarding your vastly increased scope and responsibility. And if your boss gives some kind of asinine response like "you have to do all of it, it's all equally important", then search even harder.

  • 2
    I suspect this answer is getting DV'd for the second paragraph, FWIW. The OP didn't say anything to suggest his management is particularly incompetent or toxic, and assuming that's the case is unlikely to lead to positive results. The first paragraph is pretty good advice, I think, so you may want to consider editing or removing the second to make the overall answer more solid.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 13:40
  • 1
    To be honest, I really like the first paragraph of this answer. I agree with @Steve-O that the second one may be out of place, however.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 15:30
  • 5
    The first paragraph is dead on. Make your manager manage you. Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 6:37

The problem with point 3 (stop doing anything that is not first line) is:

  • It might get you fired and with no income. It is harder to find a job while unemployed and with bad or no references;
  • Even if you don't get fired you will probably not get good references.

Pursue point 2 (a raise) and if it gets nowhere move to point 1 (a job search).

  • You usually can get references from customers and senior colleagues. Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 14:29

Do you see any other option?

Use the fact you are doing the harder tasks as a chance - ask to be promoted to the second or third line. Salary increase must be brought up during negotiation to change your title.

Explain to the higher-ups that you'd like to proceed in your carreer to the more serious tasks and you have obviously outgrown the first line as you prove daily. Advise them to find another newbie for the first line.

  1. Stop doing anything that is not first line and stick strictly to that

This is close to your best option. However i must emphasize do not just flat out stop.

Instead you should:

  • Prioritize your tasks - High priority stuff gets done first, low priority stuff gets done last. If there is no time to do low priority tasks then these tasks will not get done.
  • Keep track of your workload - If someone gives you a new task while you are overloaded, then let that someone know as soon as possible that you might not be able to do that task.

Basically, do not be afraid to refuse tasks, but always give a reason based on your current workload and priorities. And always let people know when you are unlikely to get something important done in time.

Your boss has to accept that there is a fixed amount of hours in a day. If he can not, then no amount of salary increase is worth it and you should look for a new job as soon as possible.


Your preferred order (3, 2, 1) sounds like the correct route to me. Although, to clarify, don't stop doing the work outside of your remit completely. Instead, try taking the diplomatic approach instead of flat out refusing. Something along these lines usually works for me:

Yeah, of course I can do that. It will mean my own workload / priorities taking a backseat though. I'll ask my manager first, but if he's cool with it then consider it done.

If your manager says you need to do both (your work and theirs), then you can see how your 1-2-1 goes. Wait to hear back about your salary increase, because you might get what you've asked for and there'll be no need for action at the moment.

The reason you might be offered a salary increase is because you're going above and beyond your usual remit. If you stop doing the extra work, you'll unlikely be offered an increase.

Lastly, and this probably goes without saying, but DON'T quit your job until you've found another. Especially as you have issues, commitments and other obligations.

Good luck!

  • 1
    In general, limiting yourself to strictly what your contract says tends to be a bad idea. If suddenly every employee of every company does this, most companies will collapse. Having said that, when you are doing a lot of things in addition to your official responsibilities, this is usually a great basis for salary negotiations. If those are failing, what you should do depends on the job you're doing. In an IT support position, dropping all the 'additional things' will probably just get you fired before you have a chance to find a new job, hence my downvote of this answer.
    – Cronax
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 11:50
  • Thanks, @Cronax. I might edit my answer a little, as I'm not saying Option 3 is a good idea - I'm actually suggesting the opposite. Carry on doing the work outside of OP's remit but, by running it past management first, also highlights the additional work they're taking on. Then, if the desired salary of Option 2 doesn't come through, then go down the route of Option 1.
    – dvniel
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 12:03
  • 2
    If you can make an estimate of time your tasks are going to take, it's easier to talk with your manager which tasks should get priority. In case some of these extra tasks are taking a lot of time, your manager might even decide they get no priority. Your client can then take it up with your manager.
    – Caroline
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 12:12

You are doing things you see as additional to your contracted duties. You do not explicitly say if you would be happy to do those things if you were compensated better.

Do not quit unless you have a firm offer of a new job that you have accepted. You can search for jobs and prepare in good time for your 1-2-1 with your manager when you intend to negotiate an increase in salary. Your preparation will be a list of the tasks you perceive that are outside your contracted duties for which you do not receive compensation - how you add value to the business beyond your original role - and you can search here for how to negotiate for better compensation.


Changes in your job description over time are good, even if they do not come with increased monetary compensation. Doing tasks outside your job description usually means that your job description has been informally amended.

In fact, there are two things to consider about your job, but you mix them up:

  1. Workload, stress, cutting corners
  2. Monetary compensation

You should not mix the two up when talking to your managers, even if you may be willing to do more overtime if adequately compensated.

Against the stress, check the SLA that is in place between your company and the customers. Order your work strictly according to SLA deadlines, don't stress yourself out over it. If the workload gets too high and you may be unable to meet SLA deadlines in the near future, write an email to your manager that the workload has become so high that their business agreements are in jeopardy. They may make the business liable to compensation over unmet SLAs, so it should be in their best interest to provide additional workforce.

Monetary compensation you have already asked your boss about. Your only possible next step is to search a new job if you don't want to work for the current salary any more.

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