I realise from the title its a subjective topic, as a bit of background, I have been in this project and this company for just about 5 months. I have a boss who is very good at being the happy, friendly person who gets along with everyone (except for certain clients, mine being one of them), but not very good when it comes to logistics, management, project timetables, ..., etc. In short, everything you need to ensure your projects meet their deadlines.

This means that I am doing his job as well as mine. I can manage that, with a bit of judicial time management and the occasional ignoring of an email for a day or two.

Last week, my coworker left for greener pastures. Together we were managing a collection of projects as well as keeping our own ones going. Now I find myself doing the job of three people all rolled into one. Its a situation that is going to bite back with a vengeance.

I've tried communicating this in a diplomatic, circumspect way, and all I got was being cc'd into emails for totally unrelated projects, given more work for "possible" new projects on top of my workload and being put in the middle of a couple nasty "telling's off"

The irony in all this is that my coworker had been here for 6+ years and I'd already started looking for a new job when he announced his departure.

After all this, my question is how do I survive this until I find a new job?

  • 1
    Put in your minimum required hours and spend the rest of your time looking for a new job. If they decide to fire you, they’ll be left with 0 people to do the work of three people so I don’t think that’s likely. Oct 12, 2019 at 3:01
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    @ AffableAmbler I am doing that already, and I have no intention of doing extra hours. I do feel sorry for the client though Oct 12, 2019 at 3:52
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    Communicating in a "circumspect" way is a poor way to convey a request. If you want something, ask for it directly. Oct 13, 2019 at 0:48

1 Answer 1


Remember that your are only responsible for what you can control

It is literally impossible to succeed at everything that you’ve been given to do, you have explained that to your boss. You have done what you are obliged to do.

Do not attempt to do the impossible. You cannot control that your boss is inept at project planning. You cannot control that this ineptitude harms his clients. You are not responsible for doing his job for him. Do not let yourself feel that way, or guilty about the situation. Do not do other people’s jobs for them. That is not your problem. Do not let others make that your problem.

Say “No” to the impossible

Practice saying the word “No” in the mirror if you are not already comfortable doing this. There are three rules for saying the word “No”:

  1. You must say the word.
  2. It must be the first word in the sentence.
  3. The word by itself is a complete sentence.

When you are asked to do the impossible, say “No, I have too many other projects to do” or whatever makes it impossible. Your boss will either re-evaluate the situation, or he will continue to deny reality. Either way, you should continue to do the job that you are legally contracted to do until you find a new one.

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    "Say no to the impossible" is a great way to put it. If you do this then it should quickly become clear that he needs to find a replacement or three but without you having to tell him directly (many people don't appreciate being told how to do their jobs). Oct 12, 2019 at 10:54
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    ... especially people who need to be told how to do their job.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 13, 2019 at 7:53
  • +1 Say 'no' and say it loud. Do it in writing, RAID reports and the like. Escalate the problem if nothing happens. Also, do not do other people's jobs for them - sometimes an early failure is the best thing for an organisation that is being unrealistic. Oct 13, 2019 at 13:43

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