What to Do When You’re Overworked

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If you feel overworked in your job, you’re certainly not alone, but that doesn’t mean you just need to grin and bear it, experts say.

Ever since the Great Recession forced businesses to trim payrolls and cut costs, those who did manage to keep their jobs often saw their workloads increase as a result. One Careerbuilder survey from late 2010 found that 52% of U.S. employees work more than 40 hours a week, and nearly a quarter work long enough that they don’t have enough free time to pursue their hobbies.

Likewise, a new Expedia study found that the vast majority of Americans (62%) work so hard that they don’t even take all their vacation days.

“It’s no secret that in the down economy, employees were often faced with increased workloads where they were doing two or three people’s jobs,” said Samantha Zupan, spokesperson for Glassdoor.com, a job search engine. “But I think in the depths of the recession, people were just happy to have a job.”

That sentiment of resigning oneself to being overworked is, according to Zupan, just beginning to change now, as the gradual improvements in the job market make workers feel “less stuck” in their current employment situations.

“I think workers are starting to evaluate how much work they have on their plate and taking that into consideration,” she said.

This means many workers may soon be faced with a tough question: How overworked must you be to warrant bringing the matter up with your boss, or even walking away from a job altogether?

Signs You May Be Overworked

Every job comes with periods where the workload is greater than others, but according to Alexandra Levit, author of New Job, New You, there are certain telltale signs when your workload has truly reached a breaking point.

“If you have trouble focusing on any one task when you’re at work, or you find yourself snapping at co-workers and clients or you don’t sleep well at night and find it difficult to summon the energy to get out of bed in the morning, you may be overworked or burned out,” Levit said.

But just because you feel you’re overworked doesn’t always mean that the company or your boss is to blame.