It’s 4:45PM and your boss has just given you this news: the company has landed an important new account and the onboarding process must happen in double time in order to lock out the competition’s response. “We should be glad, you know. New customers are tough to come by these days. The Sales team is depending on us. And besides, this is job security for all of us, right?” This is the encouragement you hear as you sit there feeling the emotions drain out of your body right on to the floor.
You know what you have to do. So do it. Take the project off of your boss’s desk. Make a commitment to get it done. Walk your exhausted body out the door.
Fact is, your company’s business has been strengthening for a year now and while workloads have been increasing (and fatigue as well), resources to get the increasing work done are frozen. You’re already anticipating the chorus of groans from your team when you break the news to them in the morning.
A thousand anxious thoughts are running through your head at that moment, but this isn’t the right time to discuss any of them. First of all, everything your boss said about new customers, the sales team, and job security are true. Secondly, people are emotionally drained at the end of the day so difficult discussions and conflicts are likely to go sideways and be much less productive.
Here, from the safety of your own desk, take time to journal all of your swirling thoughts. By doing this, you can come back fresh tomorrow and get your job done.
I’m not arguing that you sweep the issue of work overload under the rug or that you avoid an uncomfortable and necessary conversation. I am suggesting that you need two successes. Everyone needs the customer onboarded in a timely manner. And everyone needs the issue of workplace fatigue addressed. You need time to gather your thoughts and arguments before you can succeed in the conversation with your boss about workplace fatigue. Then, when you have that conversation your arguments will carry the benefits that accrued to the kind of team player who gets things done.