Ask the Insider columnist Ashley Lutz answers all your work-related questions, including the awkward, sensitive, and real-world ones. Have a question? Email [email protected]
I work for a bank and just got promoted (yay!). The bad part? In the past month my manager has been removed from my team. Additionally, my boss and my boss’ boss have both moved to different departments and I’m responsible for 15 people. The person who has been brought in to oversee our department doesn’t know anything about our projects.
Once all the bosses left, three other experienced people served their notice period too. They have been replaced by a bunch of inexperienced people.
My boss and I used to divide the responsibilities of monitoring the team because it’s impossible to oversee 15 people at once. Now I am basically responsible for the entire team, and many of them are inexperienced and need training.
I have become completely overwhelmed and don’t know what to do.
Last Man Standing At My Job
Dear Last Man Standing:
Seeing many coworkers leave your company at once can be scary. It sounds like you were just hitting your stride and becoming comfortable with taking on more responsibility. Now, you are in completely over your head.
You’re also probably wondering if your colleagues are fleeing a sinking ship. Are they seeing something that you aren’t? Should you consider leaving as well?
But I have good news for you: even though you’re overwhelmed right now, this is actually an amazing opportunity to advance in your career. Thanks to the recent departures, you’re now the most experienced person in your department. Your company should value your loyalty and experience more than ever.
I see three major opportunities for you here: 1. You can make yourself invaluable to your new boss by showing her or him the ropes, 2. You can establish authority on the existing team, and 3. You can show off your chops by training the new and inexperienced people.
Understandably, the increased workload is overwhelming.
The first thing you need to do is identify the next most-experienced person on the team whom you trust to act as your deputy. Explain the opportunity for advancement and delegate tasks to him or her. This will help free up your day for getting your boss up-to-speed.
Explain to the team that while you’re busy training the boss, they need to look to the coworker you’ve appointed by support. Of course, you’ll still be there for the big questions, but this will free up your day for training.
Helping to train your boss is key because then you can establish a pattern like the one you had before of dividing responsibilities. Focus on getting your manager up-to-speed and on training the three new people. Once you have accomplished this, you can divide responsibilities the way you did before.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to accomplish this in record time. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Your company is now relying on you, and they will likely cut you some slack given the situation.
Also invest in some self-care to set yourself up for long-term success. This is what I refer to as “whatever-it-takes” mode. When I’m going through a hard time, I don’t put pressure on myself to do everything. Instead of making coffee at home, I’ll treat myself to Starbucks. If I would normally spend Saturday cleaning, I hire someone to do the work and do something fun instead.
Take time for a lunch break where you can read a book for fun or play games on your phone. Get up every hour or two and take a walk. Find ways to treat yourself on nights and weekends, too. Maybe go to a restaurant for dinner instead of making food. Or, if you enjoy cooking, take off a little early one night and make a nice dinner. These little gestures can go a long way in helping you keep your sanity.
Ashley Lutz is a senior editor at Business Insider answering all your questions about the workplace. Send your queries to [email protected] for publication on Business Insider. Requests for anonymity will be granted, and questions may be edited.
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