I am working at the position (let's say Position 1) at a small company. Recently a co-worker from the Position 2 resigned after a few weeks of working and I was asked to do his duties.

This is a job at a different department, quite new to me, and it pays 30% more than my position. At the same time, an ex-co-worker who was in the Position 2 before the employee who quit, was able to continue working hourly as a contract worker. This is supposed to be temporarily, as this ex-co-worker will probably find another job soon (she had to resign due to relocation).

After I was asked to fill in for the Position 2, we were both working on its assignments for 2 weeks, as it was a very busy period for the firm. It was totally understandable and I did the duties at the Position 2 as my priority. When these 2 weeks were over, the director of the firm asked me to continue working the same way. He said he didn't know how long I will have to keep filling in. While the ex-coworker is available, she would teach me and do the work as well. But once she finds a job, it's not clear if they start looking for someone new fast and how long it will take (I heard it can take a month or even up to 4 months). The director said and emphasized that we have all to handle the situation like a team.

So my question is - how long is it OK to keep working at this position 2, while I am paid only for my work at the Position 1? I am looking for the balance between being a good team player and being taken advantage of. Thank you for any advice.

  • Are you doing any extra hours for this?
    – Stephen
    Aug 24, 2016 at 7:23
  • Yes, I'm doing extra hours. In our case, if we work overtime, we take these hours later as time off.
    – Jane
    Aug 24, 2016 at 10:57
  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere That explains how I became a desktop support/programmer/networker/database admin. Aug 24, 2016 at 12:37
  • Have they posted a job listing for position 2? Perhaps you ought to apply for the job.
    – djohnson10
    Aug 24, 2016 at 14:58
  • Thank you all for your feedback, I really appreciate it. Working hard is the only right option now. I know the job description, but it hasn't been advertised yet. It is unlikely I would be able to let go of the current position, as I was trained for it too, and busy times are coming. It's either I stay at my current job, or do both jobs. In this case the contract negotiation would be necessary. It would be verychallenging, but I think doable. In this kcase I should watch out for doing 2 jobs with current conditions for too long...
    – Jane
    Aug 24, 2016 at 15:40

3 Answers 3


This could be a great opportunity for you, assuming you are interested in moving to position 2. You are receiving training in a department that pays much better. After few months on working on that position, you may be able to apply for that position yourself (or have skills and entry in CV that would perhaps allow you to apply somewhere else).

Reasonable company would fairly quickly find a replacement and allow you to come back to normal schedule (possibly with some bonus). Alternatively, they would find a value in your work and allow to take on the position yourself.

Unreasonable company would see they are getting extra value from you for good price and would try to keep the situation running as long as possible. If that is the case, raise your concerns with director after few weeks. If that doesn't help, you may need to vote with your legs...

  • 1
    Thanks, this a really insightful opinion. I added a comment below my question, and I'd like also to add that it corresponds more to my style to work hard, as it's all team work, learn something new, and eventually opportunities should arise. I'll see how it all goes.
    – Jane
    Aug 24, 2016 at 21:44

The comments say you're being given "comp" time for hours worked - that's your payment. But you have to use the time, or it's worthless. If you're not ALLOWED to use it, then there's a problem but otherwise you're not being abused unless the extra work is significantly more difficult than your regular work.


The best advice is to slow down a bit and make sure the extra work takes extra time. If anyone comments on your speed, simply tell them that you are doing the work of two people. Build up comp time, and take it. They will eventually realize that they will need to fill the position and work harder to do so.

If they can get one person to do the work of two, they'll never replace the colleague, and you will burn out.

How long is appropriate? As long as you stand for it.

  • 2
    Sounds like dangerously bad advice - I can't see how deliberately working slowly is going to help. If you want to avoid burnout, just refuse to work overtime. But deliberately slowing down can only hurt you.
    – sleske
    Aug 24, 2016 at 18:47
  • @sleske Sooooo, what you're saying is that direct defiance of an order is better than slowing down so you don't burn out. If you refused overtime on my watch during a crunch time when someone was leaving and you didn't take advantage of any means to learn the job, you'd be fired. Insubordination, and out the door. I can prove you refused overtime, I can't prove you're working slower than your capacity. Aug 24, 2016 at 18:58
  • 1
    Yes, I am saying that if you disagree with an order, it is better to refuse it outright than to subtly sabotage it. And yes, during crunch time overtime may be unavoidable, but never, ever to the point of burning people out (which would be counterproductive anyway). So I think the dilemma you describe (refuse overtime and be fired, or work overtime and burn out) is realistic. And if it is, then the workplace is so hopelessly toxic that you probably should have left already - but that's a different question.
    – sleske
    Aug 24, 2016 at 21:06
  • 1
    I never have to worry there about not having enough overtime, there is always something to do. I try to take my time off, and managed OK so far with it, the thing is only when it becomes too overwhelming, you cannot find a time to take it, because there is always something important to do. The environment is not toxic to the point of having that dilemma, it's usually quiet all right. But I only want to be careful not to be taken for granted, as employers get used to good things very easily, if boundaries are not set.
    – Jane
    Aug 24, 2016 at 21:35
  • 1
    @Jane: Exactly my point. Decide how much overtime is acceptable for you, and stick to it. At worst this may mean you need to change jobs, but usually it's possible to find an agreement, if you set clear and reasonable boundaries.
    – sleske
    Aug 24, 2016 at 21:59

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