Boston Herald

What to do when you’re asked to do too much

- By Vicki Salemi Vicki Salemi is a career expert, former corporate recruiter, author, consultant, speaker, and career coach./Tribune News Service

QI’ve been told I’m supposed to train all the summer interns starting the first week of June. There are 30 of them. This is in addition to all of my work. I asked my boss how I am supposed to handle everything and if I can get help and he just said, “Deal with it.” I feel like I’m already sinking though. Help?


Let’s start with the good news: You were proactive and articulate with your boss in expressing your concerns. And you’re going to train all of the interns — more than two dozen of them — no easy feat! That will look great on your resume. See where I’m going with this here?

Since you don’t have the support you need, you may want to immediatel­y start looking for a new job.

I’m assuming you won’t get paid a bonus or anything additional for taking on this new responsibi­lity in addition to your current workload.

Another option is to go over your boss’s head to get support in the short term, but that can get political. It is an option, however, just to get you through the short term.

“Deal with it,” doesn’t even sound like an empathetic response such as, “I wish we could get more resources, but we’re strapped. But we can tap two people from other department­s to help the backlog.”

The ideal response of course would be, “We are planning for this with backup support so you don’t get burned out and this will help prepare you for a management role.”

“Deal with it” is perhaps the answer you need to make your next career move.


I work in PR and was asked to take a writing test during the interview. I feel like companies do this just to get cheap (translatio­n: free) labor. Am I right?

AI hear you and understand where you’re coming from. When I worked in corporate recruiting, for instance, I administer­ed tech tests with a problem the job seeker had to solve within 45 minutes.

The key to acing it was explaining their logic to the interviewe­r. It wasn’t so much the answer they came up with but rather, how they communicat­ed it.

Toggling back to writing samples, if a company is asking you how you would pitch a client to the media, they are assessing your creative skills and writing that can’t be completely assessed by your resume alone.

Tests serve as a purpose to help provide employers with hands-on examples of how you can perform on the job, like a preview. The gray area becomes whether or not they’re fishing for free ideas and more.

The issue especially emerges if they’re asking you for five samples or 10 and if it takes a lot of time.

One or two should be sufficient.

Do what you need to protect your knowledge/skills, but just know that it’s not uncommon in some industries and companies (not all companies hiring for PR roles will ask for samples; some will, others won’t) to ask candidates to take some type of test as a way to assess your critical thinking and skills applicable to the job.

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