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When you face unreasonable expectations at work, you should evaluate whether they're truly unacceptable and unmanageable, or if they're just difficult. If they're just time-consuming or unpleasant, take a deep breath and bury in to get the job done. If you believe the demands are legitimately unreasonable, talk to your boss about your concerns and find ways to address more manageable work goals.
Too Much Work
You might encounter unreasonable expectations at work if your boss or supervisor gives you more work than you can reasonably handle. This is particularly frustrating when your boss doesn't even realize how much work he expects you to take on. In this case, you need to let your boss know how much work you are putting in and present options to make your work load more manageable. Say something like, "I appreciate you trusting me with these assignments, but I'm also working on the weekly financial reports. How should I prioritize the work?" Or, "I think the sales calls are important but I also need to follow up on current customers. Which would you like me to do first?"
Some bosses set unrealistic deadlines that can't be met no matter how hard you try. Maybe you're waiting on data from a client or information from another department and you can't finish the project until you receive and review the material. Or, your manager set a false deadline just to pressure employees to work harder, longer and faster. Once you know the deadline is unattainable, talk to your boss. Let him know you don't think you can meet the deadline under the present conditions, then present your reasons why. If possible, offer suggestions on how to address the problem, such as bringing more staff onto the project. It's better to be upfront than to wait until it's too late and risk receiving criticism or reprimands.
Impossible Sales Goals
In some cases, supervisors set impossible sales goals that might require you to use high-pressure sales tactics or make promises you can't keep. Let your boss know that you genuinely care about your sales numbers but that you're also committed to providing high-quality products and services and meeting the needs of your customers. Remind him of current clients who are happy and content with your services, so he doesn't forget who reeled them in the first place. Don't let a boss who sets impossible sales goals bully you into making decisions you'll later regret.
At some point, you might have to decide if your current working conditions are unacceptable, or if they're just uncomfortable and you need to make the best of it. Many of the worst jobs have difficult work conditions and often don't pay well, according to a career article on NBCNews.com. If your boss expects you to work in unsanitary or unsafe conditions, and industry norms don't require it, confront her about the situation and offer suggestions. For example, maybe she needs to hire a new cleaning crew, install more lighting, add security measures or perform background checks.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.