Content Therapy is Managing Editor’s monthly advice column, where Paul Chaney responds to your questions about the messy dilemmas content marketers face in their work. We are (obviously) not licensed therapists.
“No.” Is A Full Sentence … Right?
Dear Content Therapist: I’m a content marketing manager for a global agency that’s been around for 30+ years. We have multiple offices around the world, each with content marketing teams of five to 10 people. However, my office has only four of us due to people leaving or being let go. This means we’ve all taken on extra work. While that is to be expected, what has all of us spread thin is the fact that our supervisor continues to add work from other offices to our plates, taking us way over capacity. The work on top of the extra work is affecting team productivity and performance. How should I ask my supervisor to take the extra work to an office that can handle it until we can build our team back up? — THE OVERCAPACITY MARKETER
Paul Chaney: I see two options: One is to have a frank discussion with your supervisor regarding the need to reallocate work. The other is to lock the person in the closet and only let them out once you’ve caught up.. I jest, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t already thought of that!
Yours is an all-too-common situation, I’m sorry to say. The answer lies in coming up with a workable agreement (or compromise) with your supervisor, and that starts by having a conversation.
However, I am puzzled that other offices are fully staffed, yet your team of four gets assigned their work. It should be the other way around — this is definitely a topic of conversation when you and your supervisor meet.
So, first things first.
Set a time to meet with your supervisor face-to-face and have a candid conversation. Be respectful but firm; focus on the issue, not finger-pointing.
Come with facts in hand regarding how the extra work is affecting your team’s productivity and performance. Anecdotal evidence may not be enough to convince them of the need for change. However, showing examples of missed deadlines, errors or lower-quality work (including anything clients have brought to your attention) could provide shock value. (It could also backfire, so be judicious in what evidence you present.)
Propose an equitable solution to the problem. Brainstorm with the team some feasible solutions that work for everyone. You mention taking the extra work to an office that can handle it. Is there a way to determine what offices could take it on? Phone calls to peers in those offices, perhaps? Another option is to suggest outsourcing work to contractors.
Express optimism about building back your team. Each office has a group of five to 10 people, so it stands to reason that yours should, too. Assure your supervisor that rebuilding is a top priority, and you can take on your share of extra duties as soon as you are able. Ask for a grace period until then.
Be prepared for pushback. Prepare well for this conversation, anticipate potential disagreement, and be ready with additional data or arguments to support your cause.
Taking these steps won’t guarantee a win, but will help you make the strongest case possible, so go for it.
Stuck Between a High Salary and My Dream Job
Dear Content Therapist: Recently, I became the senior content marketing manager at my company after being there for four years. It was an incredible achievement that I worked hard for. I thought I’d be happy, but the truth is I’m not. In fact, I haven’t been happy at this job for a while. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great position, and my co-workers are great, but I don’t feel the same satisfaction as I once did. One night, I came across a job posting for a senior content marketing role at a company that I’ve always admired. Soon enough, I got the interview, and they offered me the job. The problem is that this new role means a significant pay cut. I’m not happy with my current job, but with the rising cost of living, I don’t know if I can really afford to go after this new role. Should I hold out and stay at this job or should I go after this new role? — STUCK BETWEEN THE MONEY AND DREAM
Paul Chaney: My first question is, why aren’t you happy? Is it the number of responsibilities you have to carry, the senior leadership you work for or something else?
The first order of business is to try and figure that out. That’s not always easy, so you may want to sit down with a trusted friend or counselor to gain insight. That alone may help clarify your decision-making.
Another option is to focus on the positives of your current job. You testify that it’s a great position and that you have great co-workers. The role also pays well.
However, if focusing on the role, relationships and salary doesn’t bring the satisfaction you desire, then look at what the other job offers — aside from the paycheck. Why do you admire this company? What is it about them that appears so attractive?
You know the old saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” The problem is, it isn’t “always” greener, or if it is, it’s probably because someone has done a ton of work to keep it that way. No job is perfect. There will be problems to solve, disagreeable people to deal with and wrenches thrown in the works no matter where you go. Once the newness wears off and you get past the honeymoon period, will the job still hold its allure?
Likely, you can’t answer those questions until you take the job, which begs this question: Which do you prefer: quality (what the new company seems to offer) or quantity (the salary in your current role)?
You could try and negotiate a better salary with the new company. Tell them what you make now and see if they would be willing to match it, or at least meet you in the middle. Costs are rising, as you say, so no matter how great the job may be, the burden of paying bills may offset other advantages. It could even lead to resentment. Then, you will be unhappy!
There’s a lot to think about. Leaving one role to take another isn’t an easy decision to make. There are many unknowns. The good news is that one job isn’t 100% bad and the other 100% perfect. Both have pluses and minuses. Determine your priorities, see whether the salary at the new job is sufficient to cover your expenses, make a decision, and don’t look back.
Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for advice from a licensed mental health provider, health care provider or legal professional.