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How can I leverage this comment my boss made?


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I work in tech and have always been considered a rock star employee. I guess, it's the one thing I'm really good at it, and a real passion of mine. Personally, I think I'm good, but not as good as others claim I am, but.... I have always been someone that's relied on heavily, leaned on more than most people, simply because they know I get stuff done right the first time. However; my current job has ENDLESS off hours obligations on top of a grueling 9-5, and I think all these off hours are burning me out. I really need to shut my brain off at night as my mind is all over the place. And, spend my weekends pursuing my passions. However; there is so little free time with my position between commuting, nights, weekends, oncall. It never ends. My boss is a workaholic and expects us to be available in case something goes down. Personally, I need a work/life balance or else I go insane. But, I have no life now! I recently had a performance review and my boss stated I have "unmatched technical ability."

 

So, it seems to me I actually have a lot of leverage as apparently he rates me as having a higher skill level? Part of me wants to look for another job as a punitive measure, and then stating that THEY burned me out with their absurd expectations.

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If you're not an exempt employee, then start putting your hours down that you're asked to work outside of your work schedule. I got a former boss to stop expecting me to work during my off time when he got the bill!

 

If you're exempt, look at your offer letter/contract to see what it says about work hours expectations.

 

I know if I move up to a certain role at my place of employment I will be expected to be available 24/7. I'm not willing to do that so I will never apply for that role.

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This sounds like a dumb question, but him stating I have unmatched technical ability... Doesn't this imply he thinks I'm the best?

 

I have no way of knowing what he meant. What it doesn't mean is that you're so good he will bend to whatever you want.

 

However, expecting to have time away from work is not unreasonable.

 

What does your job description and employment contract say about work hours expectations?

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Hah welcome to my world. With expensive cost of living and low wages offered, we can't hire anyone. I'm doing the job of 3 people now, and it seems the new norm, not just with my company but everyone else. Finding workers is very competitive.

 

Since you have a good trade in the tech industry, you better believe it you should go somewhere else. Don't be frittering around negotiating because this is how your boss operates. He ain't gonna free up your time. He may throw some money at you but it won't change the demands. Find another job.

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Well, of hours like nights/weekends and being in an on-call rotation is part of the job description. It's the sheer volume of off-hours work that can make you crazy. Really, they should have a weekend staff to tackle these things to keep the staff fresh but they won't.

 

So you had knowledge of the expectations going in.

 

However, I agree that you can't be effective when you're burned out. You can shine up your resume and send it to a head hunter that specializes in your field. They can find companies with more reasonable work hours expectations.

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Yes, I did. And, I had no really concerns going in I was used to working a ton of hours at my previous job. However, since I started there have been numerous cuts, so we are a much smaller team now. So, the work is being distributed to a fewer number of people, and, now we're working a crazy amount and having to be on-call much, much more often. And, I've become the expert in numerous areas, so I am frequently tasked with these as well.

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Are you willing to take a paycut for work/life balance? I did. I did a 24/7 on call job for 15 years - no I did not work every single weekend, I did not work late every single night -but it was a regular occurrence and unpredictability was always there. I remember being called when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy. I'd taken off that day because I was so sick from pregnancy -the only day I took off for my pregnancy. And.... I got a call from someone higher up I really admired, and it was something I could do from home. I was ill and exhausted but I did it. No regrets. Just make the decision now - for me the decision was - go for the 24/7 no work/life balance because it will pay off later in many ways. It sure did. More than I ever imagined. I'd never ever go back to that because my life is so different now but I have no regrets.

 

I think it's rare to find a job in your field (which wasn't my field but I'm familiar) where you can have true 9 to 5 or just true weekday normal hours and have the $/prestige/room for promotion that you can have in those go go go jobs. It's such a personal choice.

 

I would not burn bridges though. If you leave you will be replaced -yes, you're a rockstar and please have the mindset that many rockstars will be lining up to replace you most likely. I didn't think of myself as a rockstar and I also burned no bridges so when I went back to work after being a rockstar full time mom I had many many people to call and email to help me in my search. The networking is invaluable -much more valuable than unmatched technical ability.

 

Leverage the comment by reminding him of it if you end up needing him as a reference someday.

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I wouldn't read into what your boss stated because it doesn't matter. Your grueling hours won't change so it wouldn't make any difference to figure out what your boss said anyway.

 

If I were you, I would secure your second job first before you graciously thank your boss as you make your exit from your current job. Hopefully, your second job will have more predictable, NORMAL weekly hours with evenings and weekends OFF.

 

I agree, work / life balance is important otherwise you'll burn out as you are now! :eek:

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If you're called to work more than anybody else, you have a case to bring to your manager. Bring him a proposal for balancing the workload to avoid burnout, because you believe that the current off-business hours that you're putting in are burning you out now.

 

If your pay is good and all else adds up to wanting to stay with this company, you might also consider moving closer to your job.

 

Otherwise, if your boss in unreceptive to your proposal, seek another position, but leave the punitive motivations out of it. There will always be companies that operate like a "don't model" for learning, and when you find yourself employed by one of those, take the experience you've gained to a great resume, and apply with other firms. Do NOT complain about your current work life in your interviews. Just tell them you've outgrown the learning opportunities with your current firm and would like to expand your knowledge and skills. Pinpoint the areas of the job posting that intrigue you, and offer to junior in those areas in exchange for superior skills in your areas of strength.

 

Work is not a therapeutic environment, so seeking appreciation from a company isn't the way to advance. Proposing solutions to a problem is your best bet.

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Your boss is a workaholic and rotating on call is part of the job you signed up. This isn't going to change or get "leveraged" with a compliment to your skills. Your boss can't exempt you from these other duties while your coworkers pick up your slack, especially when staff is small and it will be noticed immediately. Consider also that if staff is trimmed and not replaced despite having all this work, there is a good possibility that the bottom line for the company is not that healthy.

 

If this job is not working for you, then you leverage your skills by finding a job with a work/life balance culture and no on call hours. It shouldn't even be that hard as companies who do this tend to advertise it heavily as one of the benefits of working there.

 

Work smart not hard.

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Any manager worth their salt wants to hear from employees about work life balance and feeling burnt out.

 

List out the extra hours you are working. Data doesn't lie. but be careful tooting your own horn or even throwing your boss' praise back at them.

 

Its worth a conversation to see what can be done. Also being clear about how much your working can help you decide if you want to look where.

 

Never threaten to leave or act high and mighty about your worth to the company... that never results in your favor.

 

Because to your own point, "unmatched abilities" sounds pretty subjective.

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