I've seen this kind of trend in the software industry. Let's say there's a guy who performs well, Joe. And there's a guy who delivers mediocre work, Calvin.

Now as Joe keeps performing well, he gets assigned more work than his colleague. He gets better increments at the end of the year (not always but it's the expected trend) and that gets him earning more than his colleague.

However, a time comes when Joe cannot take the increasing workload anymore. At this point of time he either quits and desperately tries to reduce his responsibilities (I haven't heard of anyone being successful at this as such).

If Joe does try to get his responsibilities reduced, by talking to his manager and telling him about the list of things that he has on his plate and about how many of them he can actually manage, then the managers shrug it off. I'm from an Asian country and I've frequently heard about this justification given by managers : "Hey! You earn more than your colleague. So you have to deliver more work too for it".

Is this something that's acceptable? It's like the top performer has no choice but to keep hopping jobs because there are bosses who're constantly pushing everything onto his plate until he's left with no choice but to quit.

I have two questions about this.

1) Is this reason an acceptable / valid reason to load more work onto a colleague?

2) If not, then what responses can a person say to make a defense for his work-life balance?

Edit: Added some more info. Can I take it up with the HR about my boss telling me that he's assigning me more work because I'm paid more?

  • 1
    what are you trying to achieve? it is kinda hypothetical right now, and invites opinions rather than answers Jul 24, 2019 at 17:35
  • 1
    Too hypothetical and too broad to answer.
    – dfundako
    Jul 24, 2019 at 17:40
  • @aaaaaa I mean valid legally. Something which can be raised to the HR.
    – Mugen
    Jul 25, 2019 at 4:28
  • @Mugen legality os also off-topic here. I think your problem can be addressed by community here, but you should edit your Q and then perhaps poke me in the comments so we can vote to reopen. Also: HR is Not Your Friend Jul 25, 2019 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


Is earning a higher salary than your colleague a valid reason to get assigned more work than him?

Forget about what Calvin or anyone else does or how much they are paid. When you are assigned tasks you need to be concerned only with what you are capable of doing. If you are overloaded with work, you need to let your boss know that the work that has been assigned cannot be completed during working hours by the expected deadlines.

If the boss is reasonable, they will evaluate all the work on your plate and assign priorities or shift deadlines. If they are unreasonable they will simply "shrug it off" in which case you should probably polish up your resume and start looking for a new company to work for.

  • Sure, I can choose to ignore how much work others have on their plate. But it some bosses don't. I've heard of bosses using the excuse "you're paid more than he is, and hence you must take up more work than him".
    – Mugen
    Jul 28, 2019 at 13:55

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