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By Jim Berlucchi

How long do I have to do my co-worker’s job as well as my own?

Q: My co-worker has been diagnosed with a nebulous-sounding ailment that involves her taking a lot of time off. I have been picking up much of the slack for her work. How long is it reasonable for me to do one-and-a-half jobs for the price of one? Shouldn’t management be replacing her, or getting extra help?

A: You’ve already answered your own question. You’re unconvinced that her sickness is legit. And whether it is or not is irrelevant. You’re tired of picking up the slack. 

How long is it reasonable to do one-and-a-half jobs for the price of one? Apparently, as long as you’re agreeable. 

If you’re paid on an hourly basis, it’s clearly not reasonable. If you’re a salaried employee, it’s less clear: 

  1. Get clear on what you want. Extra help, extra pay or less work? 
  2. Be soberly mindful of your perceived status as an employee. The greater your value, the more your leverage.
  3. Make your case with intelligence and tact. You’re a team player. You’re requesting resolution. Suggest some possible options.

May your just cause be resolved fairly for the benefit of all parties.