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I have a problem finding my way in corporate settings.

I now started a new job a few months ago. I soon discovered that the team I'm managing is massively understaffed - in a team of 4 people we are expected to deliver the same results that teams abroad need 10-13 people to deliver (and they are still very busy). That's simply unsustainable, and I'm already on the verge of burnout.

Discussions bring nothing. I'm told my bosses "understand" and we "should keep discussing the topic". Then nothing happens. I do follow up and I'm told, they understand and talking about issues is good again.

I feel more and more resentful towards my employer who expects me to work unspeakable hours and think more and more about quitting.

What can I do in this situation?

The problem is that's not the first time this is happening to me. My impression is most employers are like this. My previous job was one where I was told: "if you are paid for 8h should be working 10" by my boss. They paid me for 10h/day and expected 14. Afterwards I always regretted sacrificing my life for that.

I'm in the EU.

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    What country are you in? Eu is not a country, difference between say germany and poland is massive. Jul 1 '20 at 19:30
  • are your staff burning out as well or just you?
    – Kilisi
    Jul 1 '20 at 19:38
  • @Kilisi, yes, they are. One quit already quoting the amount of work. Nobody cared. I'm working much more than them though.
    – user3264
    Jul 1 '20 at 19:40
  • @user3264 are you in Poland? Jul 1 '20 at 19:44
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    @TymoteuszPaul sounds more like Poland, the German labor board would have such a company for breakfast Jul 1 '20 at 19:44
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The problem is that's not the first time this is happening to me. My impression is most employers are like this.

Perhaps it's true in your locale and some other locales, but in my part of the world most employers are not like this.

Clearly, you need to reconsider what kinds of questions you ask during the interview process.

In addition to talking to my prospective boss, I like to talk to future peers and subordinates. Often, you can get a more complete picture of the situation that way, before accepting any job offer.

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    It's really not about questions. During my interviews I was told "You'll from time to time deal with (task 1). It's just a few minutes from time to time". Now I deal with that several h most of the days. If someone doesn't want to tell you the truth, they won't. And not in every position you have peers. In my case the situation has been known for years but no one mentioned it to me.
    – user3264
    Jul 1 '20 at 19:56
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    @user3264, "not in every position you have peers." That's the point of screening for the job you want. If you're not going to have peers and can't find out more info about the workload, you say "no". If you're not going to be allowed to interview your future peers, without the manager being in the same room, you say "no". If your peers don't want to talk about their latest deadline or how many hours they spent the week leading up to that deadline, you say "no". Believe me, in the US and in my field, it's actually legal to do unpaid overtime, that's why screening the company is so important. Jul 3 '20 at 0:46
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Burning out isn't going to get the work done, and unless you and your teammates are easily replaceable, it is cheaper for management to retain you rather than use you up and throw you away. If so, you have a little bit of power.

Let your team know that you don't want them to burn out, and therefore, less work is going to get done. Let your manager know that you don't want to burn out yourself or your team, and so you're going to set some priorities so that the most important work will be done. Let them know that some will not get done. If they'd like to re-arrange the priorities, that is good. But you simply can't sustain work at the level you've been trying.

As long as you're working yourself to death and getting the work done, there is no pain for management above you. But they are the problem, and also need to be the solution. So you need to put the pain back on them, so that they understand they will be getting less work done, or until they add adequate people to do the work.

In the meantime, since you'll have a bit of spare time, it would be wise to look for another job. Just in case they decide you are easily replaceable.

(Caveat: in Covid times, you may be more easily replaceable. Keep that in mind.)

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