Author Topic: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?  (Read 2726 times)

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June24

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Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« on: August 15, 2012, 03:51:24 PM »
I have a work etiquette issue that I could use your advice on.

Background: I found a project to work on over the summer, which I was very excited about. It was a good experience, and will be great to put on my resume. I sought out the project and volunteered myself for it (it is an unpaid position). I planned to complete it during the summer.

During the last week of the summer, the boss contacted me with an additional 150 sets of records. He told me that they decided to expand the project, and anything additional that I could do would be great. This is problematic because my summer is almost over, and I will only be able to do minimal work on the project when I start my regular academic schedule again. Yet I feel that I took on the project and I should complete it. If he had contacted me with this info earlier, I might have been able to fit it in, but now it's too late, and it will be hard for me to work on it during the academic year. How do I say this to the boss?
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 01:47:18 PM by June24 »

MrTango

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2012, 04:09:26 PM »
Problem: During the last week of the summer, the boss contacted me with an additional 150(!) sets of records. He told me that they decided to expand the project, and anything additional that I could do would be great.

I think you need to manage expectations.  Let your boss know that you'll be happy to get through as much as you are able, however your regular academic schedule resumes on *date*, and you really won't have time to do much work once your classes resume.

From the tone of your OP, especially the bolded, it sounds like your boss may already understand that you won't be able to do all of the extra work.

LEMon

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 04:10:39 PM »
You have completed your project (the 60 sets).  This is a new project.  Thinking of it this way will preserve your sanity.  I would make suggestions as to how you could 'assist' whoever they get to enter this data in getting started, but I would plan to do what you set out to do.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2012, 04:21:49 PM »
Combining MrTango and LEMon's replies:

"Boss, I would be happy to try to complete as many of the new files you have given me as I can before I go back to school, but since it has taken me all summer to do less than half that number, I won't be able to complete them all.  Who would you like me to train to complete this second phase of the project?"

When you do your write up, call what you did 'Phase 1' to distinguish it from the additional work.  If it was a paid position, I'd consider offering X hours/week during the school year to complete it but unpaid?  Forget it.
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Sapphire

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2012, 04:30:19 AM »
Combining MrTango and LEMon's replies:

"Boss, I would be happy to try to complete as many of the new files you have given me as I can before I go back to school, but since it has taken me all summer to do less than half that number, I won't be able to complete them all.  Who would you like me to train to complete this second phase of the project?"

When you do your write up, call what you did 'Phase 1' to distinguish it from the additional work.  If it was a paid position, I'd consider offering X hours/week during the school year to complete it but unpaid?  Forget it.

POD to Outdoor Girl. I agree - look at it as a 2 Phase project - you have completed Phase 1 successfully in the timescale given, and you are willing to make a start on Phase 2 and train up somebody else to complete it. Alternatively, if you are willing, work out just how long it would, realistically, take you to complete the work on the new files, and amend Outdoor Girl's wording slightly to say "Boss, it has taken me all summer to complete Phase 1 of the project, which comprised 60 files. I am happy to take on Phase 2 which involves 150 additional files, but I go back to school on X date, after which I will have significantly less time to work on this. This means that I will not be able to complete Phase 2 until X date [enter a realistic future date here - even if it is 6 or 9 months away], alternatively, I can train somebody else to take over the project, which would you prefer?"

That way you are not refusing to do the work, and you are providing a solution to the problem.

Good luck  :)

Elphaba

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2012, 09:05:39 AM »
"Boss, it has taken me all summer to complete Phase 1 of the project, which comprised 60 files. I am happy to take on Phase 2 which involves 150 additional files, but I go back to school on X date, after which I will have significantly less time to work on this. This means that I will not be able to complete Phase 2 until X date [enter a realistic future date here - even if it is 6 or 9 months away], alternatively, I can train somebody else to take over the project, which would you prefer?"

That way you are not refusing to do the work, and you are providing a solution to the problem.

Good luck  :)

I really like Sapphire's wording. It lets boss know that you are happy to do the work as it fits into your schedule and what your timeframe would be if you were to complete the work during the school year. It also puts the ball in his court to decide if your estimated timeframe is workable for him/her or if they need to hire someone else.

And I'll also POD others who said that you HAVE completed this project because you've done the 60 sets you originally agreed to. Just because someone decided to add a phase does not mean the inital phase is incomplete.

Dorrie78

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2012, 09:56:09 AM »
I agree that you finished the project as outlined. Now the boss wants to add a phase 2. Personally, I think that the language others have suggested is fine, but is it possible to negotiate for money at this point? Database creation is complicated and time consuming and he is lucky he found someone to do phase 1 for free, but I don't think it would be unreasonable for you to say something like "I'm glad that phase 1 went well and that you are happy with the results. For phase 2, I am going to need to charge for my work since this greatly expands the initial project and I'll be returning to my full-time work next week. I'm happy to do phase 2 as a part time job, I expect that I could have it done by X date. My fee would be $25 an hour and it takes roughly 1 hour per file."

Or whatever fee and timeline would be fair.

Sophia

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2012, 09:57:10 AM »
The nice thing about the Phase 1 wording is that you can insist that your work be published and you get the credit for what you did.

bopper

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2012, 01:27:42 PM »
'Boss, I am thrilled that you want the project to continue!  I will have completed the first phase of the program by Aug 20th, as we agreed.  That phase included digitzing 60 records.  So I have been able to digitize 2.4 sets per day over the past 5 weeks.  I estimate to finish 150 records it would take 62.5 more staff days. As i will be returnign to school in September, i will not be able to work on it full time anymore.  Can we discuss how I can assist you in continuing the project given those circumstances?

artk2002

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2012, 02:04:58 PM »
'Boss, I am thrilled that you want the project to continue!  I will have completed the first phase of the program by Aug 20th, as we agreed.  That phase included digitzing 60 records.  So I have been able to digitize 2.4 sets per day over the past 5 weeks.  I estimate to finish 150 records it would take 62.5 more staff days. As i will be returnign to school in September, i will not be able to work on it full time anymore.  Can we discuss how I can assist you in continuing the project given those circumstances?

Excellent! It lays out the facts very clearly and shows OP to be willing to work, but not willing to sacrifice school time.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

cicero

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Re: Unexpected additional work I have no time for - what to say?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2012, 02:13:25 PM »
'Boss, I am thrilled that you want the project to continue!  I will have completed the first phase of the program by Aug 20th, as we agreed.  That phase included digitzing 60 records.  So I have been able to digitize 2.4 sets per day over the past 5 weeks.  I estimate to finish 150 records it would take 62.5 more staff days. As i will be returnign to school in September, i will not be able to work on it full time anymore.  Can we discuss how I can assist you in continuing the project given those circumstances?
perfect.

and i understand, OP, that you *are* willing to continue on the project, just not at the same pace, correct?

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