Feeling overworked and underpaid?


…here’s how to get your boss to listen

Employees are frequently overworked and mostly underpaid in today’s fast-paced, highly competitive industry. The pressure to meet deadlines, exceed goals and constantly innovate can be exhausting. It can have a substantial impact on employees’ well-being and productivity when combined with long hours, heavy workloads and inadequate compensation. Being underpaid harms an employee’s confidence and job satisfaction. According to a Glassdoor survey, 45 percent of employees have left a job due to compensation issues, and 61 percent believe they are paid less than their colleagues in similar professions.

Employees should be adequately compensated for their contributions when automation and technology are rapidly transforming the workplace. Employees are finding it more difficult to shut off and maintain a work-life balance as remote work and flexible scheduling become more prevalent. This might result in feelings of exhaustion, diminished motivation and decreased involvement. Furthermore, studies reveal that low-wage workers are more prone to suffer from health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.

Underpayment has a negative influence not just on an employee’s well-being but also on their employer’s financial line. Employee disengagement and unproductivity can lead to lower profitability, higher turnover rates and negative company culture.

First, let’s have a look at some signs of an overworked and underpaid employee. So, if you identify with 80 percent or more of these signs, keep reading.

Decreased Productivity: Overworked employees can become less productive, which may result in missed deadlines or lower-quality work.

Burnout: An overworked employee may experience burnout, which can manifest in physical and emotional exhaustion, detachment and a lack of motivation.

Increased Sick Days: When an employee is overworked, they may experience stress and become more susceptible to illness – leading to an increased number of sick days.

High Turnover: If employees are consistently overworked and underpaid, they may feel undervalued and seek employment elsewhere – leading to high turnover rates.

Low Motivation: When employees are overworked and underpaid, it can lead to low motivation, decreased job satisfaction and a lack of motivation.

Lack of Work-Life Balance: Overworked employees may struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance, leading to feelings of stress, exhaustion and burnout.

Poor Mental Health: Overworking and underpayment can have a significant impact on an employee’s mental health, leading to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Employers need to be aware of these signs and take steps to address them; such as providing fair compensation, offering flexible work schedules and promoting a healthy work-life balance.

Hence, if you are overworked and underpaid, you must take action to improve your condition. Addressing fair pay problems with your manager might be difficult, but keep in mind that your job is significant and deserves fair compensation. You may collaborate with your employer to discover solutions that benefit everyone if you approach the issue with professionalism and respect.

Examine your position

Before approaching your manager, you should take a step back and examine your situation. Is it true that you’re overworked, or are you merely stressed? Are you being compensated reasonably in comparison to your co-workers, or are you being underpaid? It is critical to have a thorough grasp of your circumstance to successfully express your concerns. Take some time to assess your workload, compensation and general job-happiness. This will assist you in identifying particular areas of concern with your manager.

Make your argument

After you’ve identified your problems, it’s time to put your case together. This demands acquiring proof to back up your arguments. If you believe you are overworked, keep track of the hours you work each day and compare them to your contract. If you believe you are being underpaid, you could look into salaries for your job title in your industry and area. With real data to back up your accusations, your manager will find it much more difficult to disregard your worries.

In addition to acquiring facts, you should plan your arguments ahead of time. Consider what you want to say as well as how you want to communicate it. Communicate clearly and concisely, and avoid being defensive. The idea is to deliver your case more professionally and properly.

Call a meeting

It’s time to meet with your supervisor after you’ve prepared your case. Make sure you pick a time that isn’t too busy for them, and let them know what the meeting is about ahead of time. This will give them time to prepare while also demonstrating your seriousness about the matter. During the meeting, be open and honest about your worries. Use the data you’ve gathered to back up your claims, and explain how your situation affects your work and overall well-being.

Suggest a solution

When approaching your boss, it is prudent to present solutions rather than just complaints. Consider what modifications would benefit your position and recommend them to your manager. For example, if you’re overloaded you could suggest employing more people or outsourcing some of your work. If you believe you are being underpaid, you could propose a raise or bonuses for meeting particular goals. Be open to negotiation and compromise while maintaining clear expectations.

It’s also crucial to remember that your manager might not be able to address all of your problems right away. Changes may need to be implemented gradually in some circumstances. It is critical to be patient and collaborative to develop solutions that work for both you and your employer.

Follow up

It’s crucial to follow up with your supervisor after the meeting to ensure that they take action. If they’ve agreed to make adjustments, request a schedule and a list of specific steps they’ll do. If they have refused to make modifications, find out why and see if there is any opportunity for discussion. Remember to be persistent while remaining professional.

It’s also necessary to keep track of any adjustments and document your progress. This will allow you to determine whether the adjustments are having a good impact and whether further action is required. If the adjustments have not had the desired effect, don’t be hesitant to schedule a follow-up meeting to analyse and come up with new alternatives. Remember that changing your working position is a continuous process that demands perseverance and patience. You may build a more gratifying and rewarding work experience by regularly following up and working together with your employer.

Many employees in the fast-paced world of 2023 report feeling overworked and underpaid. However, keep in mind that you can change your situation if you approach your manager professionally and respectfully. You may make your concerns heard and engage with your employer to develop answers that benefit everyone by assessing your situation, outlining your case, organising a meeting, providing alternatives, and following up. Remember that change does not happen quickly, but by working diligently and slowly toward your goals you may build a more gratifying and rewarding work environment.

So, what if the first attempt to make your boss listen doesn’t work, what is the second approach? What do you do? And what if you lose your job in the process?

Before you take the steps to initiate a talk with your boss over the subject, you should have examined the risks and analysed a possible outcome – which we will look at before the end of the article.

Don’t give up if your initial try to get your boss to listen fails. You can use various methods to get your word through. Here are a few other approaches to consider:

Create a coalition: If you’re not the only one who feels overworked and underpaid, consider talking with your co-workers to see if they’re having similar problems. Working together allows you to present a unified front and make a more compelling case for change.

Create a business case: When it comes to convincing your boss to listen, presenting the issue in terms of the bottom line can be more effective. It may be easier to build a case for a raise if you can demonstrate how your job is directly related to income or cost savings. it may be easier to make a case for a raise or additional resources.

Seek counsel from a mentor: If you have a mentor or someone in the firm with clout, consider seeking their advice or asking them to lobby on your behalf.

Seek external assistance: Depending on your business or profession, there may be external groups or resources that can provide assistance or advice on how to deal with these challenges.

Don’t forget that being persistent and professional in your approach is essential. While it can be discouraging if your first attempt fails, keep experimenting with different solutions until you find what works for you.

Here are some specific examples of unconventional techniques you can try if your initial attempt to get your boss to listen fails:

Use comedy: This is not a joke, but using humor to break down barriers and get people to listen can be quite effective. You could, for example, make a comical video or meme that exposes the difficulties of being overworked and underpaid. Share it on social media with your boss and co-workers, or play it during a team meeting. Make sure the humour is appropriate for your company’s culture and workplace.

Another strategy is to call attention to the problem through sarcasm or irony. You may, for example, design a fictitious ‘Employee of the Month’ award that goes to the person who did the most unpaid overtime; or make a ‘Most Overworked Employee’ list. While these tactics are unusual, they can be effective in encouraging people to pay attention.

Protest: If you believe that more dramatic action is required, consider organising a workplace protest or demonstration. This could be done by a sit-in, walkout or other nonviolent protests. Be sure that your needs are communicated clearly and professionally, and that any occurrences of retribution or harassment are documented.

Consider holding a ‘work-to-rule’ protest if you and your colleagues are constantly working overtime without pay. This means you just work the hours you’re paid for and refuse to work any more unpaid hours. While this may cause some disturbance in the workplace, it can be an effective strategy for attracting attention to the issue and forcing management to take action.

Use social media: Social media may be a helpful tool for spreading your message and creating support. Consider launching a hashtag or an online campaign that highlights the difficulties of being overworked and underpaid. Share stories, articles and data which support your argument – and urge others to share their own.

You could launch a social media campaign like #PayMeFairly and #WeDeserveFairWages, in which you and other employees share stories about being overworked and underpaid. You may also use social media to host a virtual town hall or online forum wherein employees can share their experiences and come up with suggestions.

Never forget that these unusual ways should be used with caution and strategy. Before taking action, consider the risks and potential consequences – and always prioritise your safety and well-being. The ultimate goal is to effect positive change in the workplace and enhance your working experience.

Here are some measures you should take before giving your plan a shot:

Examine your company’s policies: Make sure you understand your company’s regulations on protests, social media use and other kinds of activism before taking any action. Some businesses may have severe standards regarding these issues, and breaking them may result in disciplinary action or even termination.

Consult with colleagues: If you’re thinking about taking an unconventional strategy, chat with your co-workers to seek their feedback and support. Consider creating a group or committee to help you prepare and carry out your approach. This might help you present a unified front and guarantee that everyone is on the same page.

Assess the risks: Before acting, think about the potential risks and repercussions. Will you threaten your own or others’ safety? Could you be subjected to disciplinary action or other consequences? Before proceeding, carefully consider these factors.

Document everything: If you decide to go against the grain, make sure to document everything. Keep track of any talks, emails or other correspondence about the problem. Make a record of any instances of retribution or harassment. This documentation can be useful later on if you need to make a case for your activities.

Prepare to bargain: While an uncommon approach can garner attention, it’s important to be prepared to negotiate with your supervisor or management. Determine your goals and what you’re willing to compromise on before taking action. Consider contacting HR or a mediator to assist in facilitating a conversation and achieving a settlement.

Consider alternative options: While it’s important to address the feeling of being overworked and underpaid, an unconventional approach may not always be the best option. Before taking any action, consider other ways to improve your situation; such as negotiating a raise or discussing a more manageable workload with your boss. There may be solutions that can be achieved through more traditional means.

Also, it’s worth noting that feeling overworked and underpaid can sometimes be symptoms of larger systemic issues within a company or industry. If this is the case, consider connecting with others in your industry or joining a union to advocate for broader change. By working together, you may be able to create a more sustainable and equitable work environment for everyone.

By following these steps, you can reduce the hazards of an unconventional strategy while increasing your chances of success. It’s paramount for us to emphasise you must always prioritise your safety and well-being, and be ready to change your strategy if the need arises.

>>>the writer is a management and business consultant with 10 years of industry experience, CEO of Commec Group and a writer. A multiple award-winning consultant delivering exceptional results for clients, she specialises in strategy and planning, operations, project & change management, innovation and performance improvement. Contact: [email protected] | 0507038639

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