First of all let me preface by saying I enjoy my job, I enjoy being overwhelmed, and I love learning new things.

However, i'm the only IT guy... and people don't seem to understand the amount of work there is to do. They seem visibly irritated when weeks go by and im still in the process of working on a project.

Im the Sitting information systems manager, network admin, local support, support for another warehouse, SAP admin... plus perform a myriad of other tasks. -literally the only computer guy for my division in the united states.

I used to have more energy and everyone was impressed, I could tell I was having a positive impact, and I felt like I was really making a difference.

Now... no matter how much I get done, I feel overwhelmed by the things that I haven't done yet.

I want to keep people happy, but I am worried that they are expecting to much. I will get everything done, but its not as timely as they (or I) had hoped.

Whats the best way to communicate that there is too much work to do, without looking like I am not capable?

P.S. im still not fulltime after working for almost a year.

Im feeling a little under-appreciated. I fear that the only way to gain my appreciation back, is to do the impossible... and manage everything efficiently and flawlessly like I was before I had an endless task-list of projects + support.

  • 2
    When people come to you with a new request, what's your response? "Yeah, I'll get right on it" and then you get back to other things? Or do you respond with "well, I'm pretty well loaded right now, but I'll try and get to it in a couple of weeks (or longer)"
    – HorusKol
    Commented Jul 29, 2014 at 23:30

2 Answers 2


Whats the best way to communicate that there is too much work to do, without looking like I am not capable?

Graphically. Are you using anything to keep track of all the various tasks that you are performing? Something like Jira, or Trello, or anything similar?

If not, it sounds like you really should be. Trello is free, or $10 and a couple hours of your time will get you a 'starter' instance of Jira running on your own host. Either should be sufficient. Or if you want a retro solution, post-it notes and a whiteboard will also work.

In any case, I'd suggest that before you start doing any work for anyone, you log a descriptive item in your tracking system. Mark items as being 'in progress' when you start working on them, and 'completed' when you finish. In short order you should end up with a backlog of "things I have to do", a running tally of "things I'm currently doing", and a list of "things I've done". You may also want to log time/hours against things as you complete them, so that you can get an indication of "this is how many things I can do in a day".

When you have something like that, it's very easy to show people your massive backlog of work, the 6 things you're trying to resolve right now, and the dozens of things that you've done that they may not even be aware of. Even if they're not IT savvy, they'll get the point that you're overworked and working hard.

Present your worklog to your manager, and explain the situation and point out that it's just not physically possible to complete all the work that's allocated to you in realtime. See what sort of solutions you can work out, such as maybe hiring a second 'IT Guy' for the organization.

  • I would even create a little system where other people can register there problems so you would address them properly.
    – Cardiner
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 9:19
  • I strongly encourage this as it gives you the building blocks to start setting up proper project management, which will ultimately give you quantifiable documentation. Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 19:20

"Im feeling a little under-appreciated. I fear that the only way to gain my appreciation back, is to do the impossible... and manage everything efficiently and flawlessly like I was before I had an endless task-list of projects + support."

My experience tells me that it is more like the opposite.. if things run smoothly, people will just asume that your job is easy.

For a week or two, document all of your activities. Also document tasks that are waiting for you to have "a little bit of time".

Then go with those documents to your manager and tell him with that data the nature of the situation, and also your sinking morale.

It is your manager task to solve the issue. If your manager has any doubt about your capabilities, just candidly ask him (or anyone he designates to) to sit with you for a couple of weeks so he can make "suggestions" to improve your efficiency.

After that point has been solved to his satisfaction, I would not make any proposal. He now knows the issue and he is the person in charge to solve it, let it be by hiring more people, increasing your contract hours, whatever.

Do not be shy about it. The worst your boss may do to you is firing you, and from the tone of your post, it seems that if things do not change you will not be able to last long in your job without severe issues of stress/depression. In case your boss does not want to listen to you, it may be better to you to leave now as a sane person than in six months because you have suffered a mental breakdown.

Edit: to clarify about the "I would not make any proposal" point, and answer to Jan Doggen's comment.

Going to your boss and stating "if you make me a full time employee all those issues will dissapear" can have several outcomes:

  • you get the fulltime contract and enough time to handle your workload so your organization performs efficiently. Nothing to say against this.

  • your boss may suspect that you are making up or exagerating the issues in order to get that position. That could make it harder to explain the situation to him. It will depend a lot on your boss' experience, his human quality and/or his preconceived ideas about you, so I cannot tell how likely that would be.

  • (my main objection) you get the fulltime position, but you are still overworked (because it is not enough or even worse, since you are now "full time", your boss decides to add some other responsibilities to you). Now, you did promise to solve these issues if you got the contract, so so you have lost a lot of leverage against your boss. That would make the promotion a curse in disguise.

Of course, when exposing issues to your job, you may say that a full time position would be a nice way of rewarding the energy that you have put on for the previous year. Unless your boss is retarded, he will see that one of the easier and faster solutions is that you work more hours.

If the possibility is stated, you could make some reassuring statements in the line of "I will keep working with the same intensity" or even (if you are pretty sure of your estimates), something like "If the workload keeps being the same, I expect to be able to improve the issue significantly". Note that here you promise to do your work well, not to solve all the issues that the company might have (because those depend of lots of factors that you do not control).

  • "It is your manager task to solve the issue" But that does not mean you cannot make suggestions or do requests. One obvious requests seems to be to appoint your full-time.
    – user8036
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 7:34
  • 1
    @JanDoggen I agree that I did explain that point less than it deserved; I have edited my answer to add a commentary.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Aug 1, 2014 at 17:35

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