Efficiency Hurts


Being too efficient for your own good. Punishment for being efficient. Productivity punishment. All of these things mean the same thing, that feeling you get when you are great at your job and you continue to get more work put on you.

It is a great feeling, to be the go-to person, for a while at least. At first you feel honored that you are getting more responsibilities and work projects and are glad that your supervisors trust you enough to give you more. However, as time moves on and you continue to get a large bulk of the work, you start to feel taken advantage of. At least I did…at least I do.

When you are hired it seems everyone wants a go-getter; someone that can take on many tasks and do them well. Of course no one wants a slacker or a lazy person for a position and I understand that. However, when you are the most efficient you can be it seems that supervisors seem to think you are slacking anyway since they see you not doing any work at times. They may or may not know you are just efficient and have already completed your tasks but that does not matter because they see other employees at their desks plugging away for eight hours straight.

It almost feels like a no win situation. If you are efficient, supervisors think you look lazy because when they see you, you may not have any more work to do. Also if you are efficient, supervisors seem to give you more and more work because they have found they can count on you. If you do your work slowly, as other employees may do, they wonder what is going on with you since you were once so fast at your job. If you continue going at a slow pace just to look busy all the time, supervisors will start to think you are just slacking off. It is really a no win situation I think and I don’t know how to deal with it.

I enjoy finding ways to be more efficient and I make sure to do my job correctly and submit things on time. This has gotten my name around the office that I am dependable and very efficient and with this comes other supervisors realizing their own assistants are not very good at their jobs. Due to this, these other supervisors start giving their projects to me instead of their own assistants. I have been given much work that I should not be doing but am told to just do it, regardless if I speak up to let them know that so and so does not have anything to do.

I think this issue of feeling like you are being punished by continually receiving more work to do while others do not have assignments is a big problem in some companies. It makes the employee that is getting dumped on feel unappreciated and used. I likened it to feeling like you are the office bicycle and every one uses you and just puts you back for the next person in line to use. I also find that after years of dealing with this that I do not get the pay raise nor title increase for all of these extra jobs I a forced to take on.

I feel worse when the supervisors that pass me give me a mean look or make comments when I do not have anything to do. I am chastised for being bored and having nothing to do. Sometimes there is truly nothing else to do since I’ve gotten it all done already. At times when this happens I will have supervisors give me their own managerial work to do so they themselves can relax and not do anything.

It is a rock and a hard place and I’m not sure what to do. Do I continue being efficient and try not to let getting dumped on bother me while others that get paid more than me can relax while I do their job? Or should I just work slower and ignore the comments about how I used to be so efficient?

It would be nice for companies to tell the truth wouldn’t it? They don’t want someone to be efficient; they want someone that looks like they are busy for the whole eight hours a day.

There is a great article on this here.

2 thoughts on “Efficiency Hurts

  1. Indeed! I hate the fact that often times working smart and efficiently equals getting more of the same mind numbing, grunt work dumped on you instead of being assigned more complicated and challenging assignments, and higher pay.


    • Yes, it is very unfortunate. Some companies just do not realize how demoralizing it is when you try your best to help out; in any way you can and you feel like you are punished for it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s