Need advice on how to approach this(11 Posts)
This could be an essay, sorry.
I started a new job mid-August. They are a nice company, who seem to care about their employee's wellbeing.
I've found it really tough being a newbie again after 6 years at my previous job, learning about the clients and our internal processes alongside actually having to do the work. The workload is huge most days and I'm having to put in about a day's worth of overtime each week just to keep up (I'm employed for 4 days a week).
Anyway, to get to the point. When I started I was told I'd be working on 4 client accounts. I currently have 3 of them and, as mentioned above, am doing a shitload of overtime as it is. Early last week it came up in conversation that a meeting should be arranged for me to meet the 4th client soon, together with 'Jane' (not her real name) who has been keeping the account ticking over.
I spoke to one of the directors a few days ago about the hours I'm putting in, and expressed my concern over how I was supposed to find time to fit in another client. He said "We'll probably just leave it with Jane then". Jane is strictly speaking one of our creatives rather than a client account handler, but the account is quite small so she fits it in. Yesterday I worked a half day (5 & a half hours instead of the 4 it's supposed to be) and in the afternoon I was copied in on an email from Jane, who is aware of my workload issues, to the client telling them I'm going to be taking over x, y and z on the account. She didn't discuss this with me first. She also sent me a calendar invite to have a handover of the account on Monday morning, as well as an email about it.
Just for context, Jane will moan about how busy she is but she starts work at 9.30 and finishes bang on 5.30 every single day. This is of course how it should be in an ideal world, but is very rare in a creative industry.
I forwarded Jane's email to the director I'd spoken to the other day and asked to discuss it on Tuesday when he's back in, reiterating my concern about my capacity to take on more work.
I suppose I'm looking for advice on how to get my point across to him calmly and succinctly. I don't like letting people down, and I know I need to be careful to make this about my workload, rather than my emotions, or what
the lazy cow Jane does or doesn't do. Truth is I'm exhausted and stressed, sick of hardly seeing my son, and pissed off that someone who does the bare minimum is trying to offload work to me when she knows I don't have the time to do it.
Be careful. You’ve said Jane is not a client account handler so she’s not really offloading work on to you - she shouldn’t be doing it.
It sounds like she had a “I shouldn’t still be doing this” chat with the boss at about the same time you had your chat, but has got in with getting it in writing first.
Be prepared to be “let go” if you can’t handle the workload. You probably need to find ways (with support and help from your manager until you find your feet) to manage your time better.
Sounds like the director hasn’t said anything to Jane and Jane just was acting on previous arrangements knowing nothing about the possible change in plans
Also unless Jane reports to you you don’t know how much work she has - maybe she never takes lunch or maybe she’s very efficient or maybe she works at home every night - Just saying there’s normally a lot we don’t know
Just check in with director and ask whether he wants you to take the extra account and calmly outline what will you will not be able to get done if you take that account on do he can make an informed decision
I always recommend with workload issue, you need to present your manager with hard facts, to show exactly what you’re doing with your time over a set period eg a typical week. It highlights to your manager tasks that may be lower priority and helps him to make decisions around that. If you can highlight what you believe are priorities versus nice to haves, even better.
Be sure to highlight when you’ve used up your 4 day week, and when it spills into overtime.
It will make a good impression that you are in control and escalating concerns early rather than suffering in silence.
I don't think you can rely on Jane keeping the account if she shouldn't even be doing it! You can speak to the Director again but don't assume she should keep it. It may need to be moved on to someone else.
Has the job that you are doing existed in the past or is it a new one? If it is an existing job, how did the previous postholder manage it (were they full-time?), did they have the same clients, is there anyone doing a similar job currently and how do they manage it (lots of overtime?)
Is there any part of your job that you can devolve to someone else if necessary (not always possible in practice, I'll admit!)
I don't know of course but it might be that you are trying to do everything for every client rather than doing what you can do in the time available and may not need to. You can also talk to the client about your workload and find out what they view and the main effort. It's easily done and I did it in a support role. Eventually I got the core workload down to 20% of my time so I could do more proactive and organising work. Your manager might also help with a 'what should I do and what should I leave only for when it's necessary. Try a urgent v important grid maybe.
You'll get uicker too as you worry less about building the relationships and just doing.
You are right to be on to of it like this. It's good to notice!
Do your clients work to a contract?
Maybe talk to your boss about what is included in each of the clients’ contracts in case you are being asked to do extras that are over and above what you’re meant to do.
You lost my sympathy when you called your colleague a lazy cow for not wanting to do work outside her remit and only working the hours she is paid for.
Was the last person doing your role working 5 days with the same number of clients? How many clients do other account handlers have and how much overtime do they do?
The answers may give you an idea if the issue is you or the job.
It may be that you're just getting back into the swing of things and you'll speed up in time. Or it may be the nature of the job that it isn't a 9-5.
IME those type of jobs rarely stay within the confines of set hours. The (usually very good) pay is to get the job done. More junior roles are the 9-5 ones.
If it's the job and it doesn't suit your life post children, like many of us before you you may want a rethink.
Thanks for all the replies.
paq I was just lashing out in frustration, I can see that now. Her email pushed me over the edge into a full-blown anxiety attack on Friday.
I'm not sure how long she's been looking after the client in question, but I'd guess she's doing it because there has been nobody else with capacity. It's a small company, who have won quite a few new clients in the last 18 months, so they are still catching up in terms of staffing.
Cotswold there is nobody else with capacity to take on this client at the moment, though we are recruiting.
whiterose My predecessor was full time, slightly more junior than me. I don't know how many clients she had. Our Client Services Director, who has been there 6 years, has 6 accounts. She works full time, usually works 9.00 til around 6-6.15. She works at super-human speed though. I don't know how many accounts the other account manager has. He generally works 8.45 til around 6.00. I get in at 8-8.15 to try and avoid having to stay too late, then I still end up being there til gone 6.00 most nights. I accept that occasional overtime goes with the territory and don't mind that, but when it becomes necessary to do it every single day just to (almost) keep up, then something isn't right. As for the pay, we're outside London so it isn't earth-shattering. It sounds like you may have been in a similar situation, unless I've misinterpreted your last comment?
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