Management decided to let go of certain employees. I've been here a long time, and have a good overview of what everybody did, so I have now noticed that many tasks are simply not being done.

For example, we have a Jira where people can send us tasks, and now many tasks are not being picked up since the employees who did those tasks are not in the team anymore.

I understand that sometimes management have to make tough decisions, but then they should also address the consequences of those decisions appropriately. This, they have not done at all.

So, what is the correct behavior in this instance?

  1. Ignore it, and stick to my tasks. It's not my responsibility, that's management's. At some point soon, somebody will kick up a fuss about tasks not being done, and write an angry mail to management, and then hopefully they will realize what they've done. This is what I'm currently doing.
  2. Pick up the tasks myself. Not something I intend to do without proper compensation.
  3. Let management know what is happening right now and explain my worries about their decision. I haven't done this as I don't want to cause a fuss or be seen as disgruntled.

4 Answers 4


If you know there are serious consequences for certain tasks not being done, it's worth going to your own manager and asking if they would prefer you to do that task over one of the tasks you are already doing. In other words, offer to change tasks because of priorities. Don't offer to do more, but changing to a higher priority is valid. And then, do what your manager suggests, either by sticking to what you're already doing, or doing a higher priority task instead.

  • 18
    And, if they say things which make no sense, be ready to find another job, but stick around if you will get severance. Commented Jun 14 at 22:53
  • 4
    I would think about the consequences of these things not being done and include my view in the discussion with the boss. If you can pick up the most serious, you might say that you could but it would take 5 hrs/week or something like that and you could shift your priorities if desired. Commented Jun 15 at 14:54
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    Best thing about this answer is that the OP does not need to talk about layoffs and other decisions he deems questionable at all, because it does not matter why the tasks are not being done. Avoids the whole "do not want to be seen as disgruntled" thing. Commented Jun 17 at 13:14

The "right" answer depends a lot on your corporate culture.

My first response would be to tell my boss about the problem. If he can't do anything about it, it is then up to him whether to take it up with higher management.

I definitely would not just start doing these tasks myself unless they were closely related to my current job. At best you are taking on extra work for no compensation. At worst you will get in trouble. I have fond memories of the time I did a task outside my normal responsibilities and I got hauled in front of my boss and my boss's boss for "exceeding my authority". Even though it was impossible for me to do my job if this task wasn't done.

In some companies, pointing out that management has made a mistake could get you in trouble. I recall one job where every year employees were all given a form to fill out where we were asked if we had any suggestions how company procedures could be improved. The first few years I left this blank. One year I wrote that procedures to arrange business travel were cumbersome and suggested some ways they could be improved. I got an email back saying that my boss had explained to me why the current procedures were necessary. No one had explained anything to me, but I got the message that my suggestions would be ignored. A couple of years later I made another suggestion and that time my boss came to me and said that upper management didn't like being told they were doing something wrong and I should fill out a new form leaving that question blank. So okay, fine. I once learned that a co-worker had complained that some employees got special treatment -- I didn't agree but whatever. He got dragged in front of his boss and his boss's boss and lectured about how company policies were totally fair until he finally said, "I guess I shouldn't have written that", which they took as an admission that he was wrong and the company was perfect. And I wondered, After management punishes anyone who says that company policies are not the most perfect that could possibly be imagined, so that the employees learn to keep their mouths shut, do they then congratulate themselves that the employees are all totally happy and morale must be sky-high?

So I'd say: Tell your boss what you see as the problem. If he does nothing or upper management does nothing, leave it at that. If there are enough things like this, that may be reason to quit and find another job. But that's a bigger question.

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    Precisely this. Make your boss aware of it, then walk away from the problem.
    – Richard
    Commented Jun 15 at 14:34

Well, let's paraphrase the options you've offered.

  1. Do nothing, wait for the situation to go bad, and get blamed when management find out that you've known about this for ages and not escalated it.
  2. Quietly take up the burden, creating work / stress for yourself, and again creating an unwelcome surprise for management when this inevitably goes bad.
  3. Tell your boss, make it his problem (and keep an email record).

The answer should be obvious. Option 3 isn't making a fuss or being disgruntled - it's doing your job by making sure management know about problems and have the opportunity to fix them. They might not do anything about it - and if they don't, it's probably time to start looking elsewhere - but you've done your bit.

  • How would they know you knew if you say nothing? I dunno...
    – paulj
    Commented Jun 25 at 12:32

I would see this as a growth opportunity, take an active stance and talk to your manager if they have a plan on dealing with this. Offer to make one. Propose some actions.

Of course it depends if the culture permits these sort of maneuvers and if you are interested in growing your responsibility in the team.

  • The culture is layoff employees and consequences be damned.
    – paulj
    Commented Jun 25 at 12:31

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