This is a very complicated situation but I'll try and be brief.

Essentially I was hired into a new role at company X. For my role, I am responsible for the output of the company product. If I make a mistake, then it can mean losing an entire client.

There have been some massive red flags since starting. The person I have replaced has cut a lot of corners. There are none of the usual fail-safes set in place to catch mistakes which makes me feel uneasy.

Then, unfortunately, my managers adult son died of a drug overdose 4 weeks ago and I've been assuming his responsibilities. The first and only week that I worked with him, he was high twice at work. I've since heard that while he has been off his mental health has understandably not been good. He returns next week, part time.

No one has really spoken to me over this period, but I feel like I've been thrust into a position with a lot of responsibility. I don't want to come across as callous or insensitive, but this is so much more work than what I signed up for. Because I've been doing well with the new responsibility, the company seems happy to just let me shoulder this weight, but I'm not comfortable doing so.

We don't have HR that I can go to either.

I guess my question is how would you go about dealing with this situation? I don't want to up and quit, but I also don't want to be on the hook for doing a role that's way beyond my pay grade.

  • 1
    This is piggybacking off a comment you made on an answer, but I think it is more appropriate to ask here. If you were in the management role, could you add the failsafes and improve the workflow process? – さりげない告白 May 28 '19 at 1:23
  • 1
    I could make changes to fix the process, but the kind of changes needed would need to be followed by other departments and its not something you can really implement with only a short time under your belt. The errors that have been made by my predecessor and manager can be fixed going forward but everything thats been done before is set. With my manager coming back part time, its a big source of anxiety calling out these mistakes as a younger and newer employee. – Pippin May 28 '19 at 1:28
  • * I also don't want to be on the hook* - to whom would you be on the hook? Your boss's boss? You mentioned there is no HR, but surely there is someone in charge who's directing you into this new role, and who may be receptive to hearing some of your concerns. – dwizum May 28 '19 at 14:08
  • "my managers adult son died of a drug overdose 4 weeks ago and I've been assuming his responsibilities" => "his responsibilities" = the manager's responsibilities, or the deceased son's responsibilities? – shoover May 28 '19 at 17:08
  • There is no one directing me in this position, my manager reports to the managing director. I operate within a team of about 5 people but they all have different jobs to me, and I'm solely responsible for the output of one product the company makes. To be honest, I have no idea why they are trusting a relative stranger to do this work. – Pippin May 28 '19 at 21:02

Since you don't have a HR department, I have to assume your company is very small. In a small company, your scope of duties can change very quickly. I would expect your manager's manager to approach you about what's going on, but I would reach out and set up a 1:1 to understand the scope of your work.

Given that your manager is returning part-time next week should mean that some of his responsibilities will be shifted back to him, but it's likely that 50% of his work might still need to be done by you. It's not uncommon to absorb a colleague's workload while they are on gone on leave or shifted to part-time temporarily, but it's important to flag to upper management that your projects are at risk and, understandably, that you need help doing the work of 1.5 people.

If they want to promote you and permanently raise your salary and that's something you're interested in, have that conversation, but get any "promises" in writing. You have to be careful here not seem callous towards your manager, but remember you don't owe anything to the company. At the end of the day, it's just business and you still need to protect yourself from being taken advantage of.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you for your considered answer. I have been waiting for someone to reach out but sadly no one has. I think you're correct in that Ill now have to approach them. Its a very tricky subject given the circumstances but Ive been taken advantage of in the past because Im more senior than the roles i take on (I generally dont like the pressure of the level I can work at). Also, thank you for editing my comment, this is my first post and im a bit all of the place at the moment! – Pippin May 28 '19 at 0:52
  • 1
    @Pippin I agree with this answer in that you should tell management about the risk surrounding you not having your manager in the office. You should make it clear you are willing to step up and take on additional responsibilities. You should have a conversation about what responsibilities they are willing to take on. I would caution the author from asking a raise after such a small amount of time, especially if their work, means a client could work. But it also isn't your (direct) problem that your work (or lack of being able to work on it) could result in a client walking. – Donald May 28 '19 at 0:56
  • 1
    Asking for a raise in this current environment could be seen as taking advantage of the situation. Keeping the client is a team effort at this point. Just be careful how you handle the situation. – Donald May 28 '19 at 0:58

(You to management) So if I'm being elevated beyond my agreed-upon job duties and assuming X's position on {this date}, then I'm assuming that I'm also earning X's paycheck.

So what is it, and when can I see that reflected in my paychecks?

If you guys don't want to tell me then I'll take a 20% raise. Let me know in writing when you have agreed to this and I'll take over that person's duties.

Thanks -Pippin

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    This answer is good if he is willing to take on those responsibilities for the extra pay. The way he words it, he doesn't want to do these tasks for a long period of time, perhaps even if he pay were to reflect it. Many people don't want tons of responsibility at work, and have a more laid back personality. – さりげない告白 May 28 '19 at 0:36
  • Perhaps, and i didn't read that exactly, but asking for a raise can be a useful check against management overreach in assigning an employee duties. I had that happen to me a couple of times, the biggest one being when they demoted my CIO (three levels above me) to director (two levels above me), then basically asked me if I could do his job for him. – Jim Horn May 28 '19 at 0:42
  • 2
    If you are not careful, indicating you are not willing to go above and beyond your job duties, might send a signal to management, that isn't necessarily something you wanted to be sent. Saying you are willing to do the job but only if they pay you more to do it isn't a good signal to send after less than 4 weeks – Donald May 28 '19 at 0:51
  • It's a delicate signal, which was my point. The asker said he'd rather not have these duties, not that he wouldn't take them at all. Don't assume things that aren't in the question. – Jim Horn May 28 '19 at 0:51
  • 2
    You guys have made some good points. I mentioned in another comment that I have taken this role even though I can do the management level role, however I dont like taking on that kind of responsibility. Because this company doesnt have their work in order that risk of something being wrong is much much higher. No amount of money increase can untangle the mess that ive inherited. – Pippin May 28 '19 at 0:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .