If You're Stuck With More Work After a Coworker Quit, Here's What to Do

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k

Since the beginning of the Great Resignation, a period of career upheaval, 83% of Millennial workers say they have had to take up to six additional tasks outside of their original job descriptions.

This is largely due to their colleagues leaving in droves. With missing employees, many employers are shifting responsibilities onto their often already overworked coworkers.

If this is happening to you, how do you cope with the additional responsibilities — without burning yourself out?

1. Talk to your employer about fair compensation.

It’s only fair that you should be compensated fairly for the additional work you’re taking on. More money and better titles are, of course, a priority for many, but compensation extends far beyond these perks. 

Nearly a third of Gen Z respondents named free mental health benefits as a top priority, according to LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence survey. And 21% of all American women surveyed said the same. Perhaps this is important to you, too — and something you should ask for if it is. Or, perhaps you want more (well-deserved) PTO. Whatever it is, make your case to your employer to get what you deserve in return for your hard work.

2. Work with your manager to prioritize.

If you’re being bombarded with tasks, it’s often difficult to know where to begin. Speak with your manager to prioritize responsibilities. You need to know what takes precedence over other tasks, so you have a starting point.

This will also remind your manager about how much you’re taking on. They may not even realize the extent of the workload they have passed off to you until you draw their attention to it.

3. Take advantage of your PTO.

When you have an enormous workload, including activities that were not initially supposed to be part of your daily schedule, you may begin to feel like you can’t possibly take your vacation. But it’s especially important to use all the paid time off your company gives you. This is not only important for you to recharge, relax and attend to self-care — it will ultimately make you a better worker because you will have regained the energy to tackle your responsibilities.

If your manager pushes back or tries to talk you out of taking a vacation, remind them about the additional work you’ve taken on. (Of course, your PTO is yours to use, anyway, and no one should be guilting you into letting it go to waste.)

4. Build your skills.

This is by no means an ideal situation, but you should be sure to consider the different angles — that is, the positive aspects of it. Think about the new skills you’re gaining, and explore ways to augment them and grow them further. This will be great for your resume and increase your hiring potential. Plus, it will put you in a great position to ask for a promotion or explore other options.

In 2021, 59% of learning and development professionals ranked reskilling and upskilling as a top priority, according to LinkedIn Learning’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report. So, by finding opportunities to build your skills, you’ll be primed to tackle the next challenge. 

We all find ourselves in difficult work situations from time to time. If you have been forced to take on additional responsibilities thanks to the Great Resignation and are feeling burned out, don’t despair — take action.


This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for dealing with more work after a coworker quits? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!