I work tech support and I've been with this company for a year. I do like the work and I like to think I'm good at it and my efforts have been somewhat rewarded monetarily. However, the problem is that the rest of my team is slacking off a lot and I've been picking up all the extra work for months and I've expressed this to my boss many times and she says she will do something about it but nothing ever gets done.

Today, my manager messaged me about some of my tickets that had tiny issues with them that could be improved and I'm not saying they can't be improved but instead of looking at the fact I'm severely overworked (for example I have over 60 tickets at a time and my coworkers have 5-10 tickets at a time) and this has caused my performance to suffer a bit because I'm just not capable of covering all that in my work time.

I expressed to her, again, that it's unfair I'm under a microscope and she claims she has such conversations with others as well and that might be true but nothing changes ever. I'm at the brink of just dropping all the extra work but I know that the entire office will implode if I do that.

What's the best course of action for this to be rectified? And if I'm being honest, if they were paying me more, I'd be doing the extra work and giving it some extra hours a week to make sure there are no slip-ups but I know she isn't going to pay me more and even if she is, it's not going to be enough to warrant all the extra stress. Also, I'd like to mention that quitting is not currently an option. I've thought about escalating this to upper management but I don't think it's the best idea undermining my boss like this.

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    Is she assigning all of this work to you or are you taking this work on because it won’t get done otherwise? – BSMP Mar 17 at 23:22
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    Further to @BSMP's comment, if you are taking all this work yourself, could this be giving your co-workers less to do and the reason they're slacking off? – user25730 Mar 18 at 0:03
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    Thank you both. It's just how our procedure is, all incoming tickets need to be handled right away, same thing for calls. But my coworkers are wasting 2 hours working on a single ticket that is simple and easy to do while I cover all of the work that they are not doing. Not to mention that they leave their tickets open and there's constantly mistakes in them which, according to the procedure, I have to fix right away and then report to my boss. – Alex Mar 18 at 5:15
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    Take a ticket that you know will need a long time and as the queue builds up let your manager sort it... you are working correctly on a ticket. – Solar Mike Mar 18 at 6:05
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    I have over 60 tickets at a time and my coworkers have 5-10 tickets at a time This is the problem. Present this to the manager and ask her to offload at least 40 tickets to your co-workers. – scaaahu Mar 18 at 6:16

Here are some things you might try:

  • When you have too much work to do, give your manager a list of what you're working on and ask them to prioritise the tasks. That puts the onus on her to manage your workload.

  • Some managers will refuse to assign priorities, and either tell you to "do the best you can", or "it all needs to be done". In that case, use your best judgement and proritise the tasks yourself. Give the prioritised list to your manager. This way, if something doesn't get done, it's her responsibility because she knew of the situation.

  • Would it be possible for you to take a week or two off? The resulting backlog might force management to address the problem.

  • What do you think is the best way to solve the problem? I suggest you give your manager a list of potential solutions. The obvious solution is to hire more people, so include that on the list even though it probably will be rejected. Can you think of a more creative solution? If you really are handling so much more work than your peers (i.e., you're not choosing all the "easy" tickets), perhaps you can train your peers in how to be more efficient. Obviously you wouldn't be able to complete as many tickets yourself while training others, but if the entire team improves, it would be worth the short-term pain.

  • Have you communicated to your manager just how much of a disparity there is between your workload and that of your peers? I.e., did you show her the statistics of how many tickets each member of the team completes in a week?

  • I suggest you focus on making sure that the tickets you complete are error-free, even if that means you complete fewer tickets.

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    Yeah. Fewer tickets is the way to go. Rushed tickets just hide the problem of under-resourcing. Unattended tickets are a more obvious flag of underlying resourcing issues. It can be hard for your manager to know the difference between you making mistakes due to being rushed, and not knowing what to do. Do your best, but don't hoard tickets. – Gregory Currie Mar 18 at 1:33
  • Thank you for your reply. My boss is actually looking to hire more people but the problem is there's a lack of good people. And it'd be impossible to be helping my team because they're young and bigger and they are happy with the fact I'm doing everything for them and they don't want to learn how to be faster and more involved. I'm not sure how to prioritize my tasks as it'd take me longer to do that instead of completing them, due to the nature of my work. Boss is FULLY aware just how much more work I do. And I don't want to be wasting my days off just to show her but I might have to... – Alex Mar 18 at 5:07

I'm at the brink of just dropping all the extra work but I know that the entire office will implode if I do that.

That's exactly what you should do. You're responsible for doing your job, your boss is responsible for the backlog. Don't sacrifice quality for quantity unless your boss tells you to; that's their decision, as is allowing the others to slack and not employing more people. Don't sacrifice your health so that someone else can pick up a bonus that they have no intention of passing on to you.

Stress comes from worrying about things beyond your control, such as having 60 tickets open when you can only do one thing at a time. Decide which is the most important, and do that first, then move on. Get out of the office and walk around during your break, go home on time, don't check your work email out of hours unless they pay you to do so.

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but I know that the entire office will implode if I do that.

Not your problem.

If you want more money, tell the boss you want more money. The implication is that you will leave.

I have been in this exact situation a couple of times, once I got substantially more money. The other time I got the run around and quit to be followed by half their major clients when the other engineers could not handle the work.

But if you don't actually demand the recompense there is no urgency to them doing anything about it except look for your replacement. So once you start demanding, be prepared to back it up shortly afterwards.

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    I know that what you're saying makes sense and it's what I should probably do but the problem is that currently it's a really bad idea for me to quit and my boss knows it... That is why this situation sucks extra bad. – Alex Mar 18 at 8:04
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    @Alex bad idea to quit, bad idea to stay, at some point you have to flip the coin, best done before spending 4 or 5 years on something. – Kilisi Mar 18 at 9:44
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    +1 @Alex - Your boss will do nothing as long as you are there to tidy up their mess. You are carrying the office, they all turn their problems into your problems. The only way to fix it is to force them to address the issue – Dave Gremlin Mar 18 at 10:19

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