More work is not more responsibility

Summer floods the workplace with temporary, part time and seasonal workers — many of whom are college students and willing to work for “beer money”.

Some employers will take advantage summer employees — even graduating seniors who are serious about finding work on a permanent basis. These “bad bosses” will also take advantage of their regular employees by increasing their work load — giving them more of the same kind of work to do, rather than increasing their responsibility — giving them more challenging assignments that require more complex skills.

This usually manifests itself in a boss willing to increase your “responsibility” but not your “salary”.

If you are routinely given assignments that require greater skill than those listed in your job description, you may be working at a higher level position while being paid a lower level salary.

An occasional assignment that requires greater skill is an opportunity to develop new skills and prepare for a higher level position–it is a benefit, like training, for which increased salary is not warranted.

However, if it is truly a developmental assignment, your boss must guide you and help you succeed, not leave you to sink or swim. That is a manipulation designed to set you up to fail.

Increased responsibility raises the value of your work, and, over time, should move you up the compensation (salary and benefits) scale — the greater the value of your work, the greater your compensation should be.

On the other hand, increased work load (more of the same responsibility) keeps you at the same salary level and may entitle you only to overtime pay if you work more than your normally scheduled hours. Assuming, of course, you are an hourly-waged worker, rather than a salaried employee or manager who may not be entitled to overtime pay.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News archive photograph

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