How To Reset Work Expectations With Your BossJ.T. O’Donnellon September 26, 2022 at 3:30 pm Work It Daily


In my last article, I talked about an example of someone who was working 60 hours a week and then went through a big life event (like having a baby) and now only wants to work 40 hours a week. If you’re in the same boat, how can you reset work expectations with your boss and still get a good performance review?

Here’s my advice on how to successfully manage work expectations without hurting your career…

It’s Usually Easier To Get A New Job Than Reset Work Expectations

@j.t.odonnell Replying to @carolinecc1 How to reset work expectations with your boss. #worktok #careertok #jobtok #careertiktok #careeradvice #quietquitting #quietquittingmyjob #career #job #learnontiktok #edutok #worklife #work #workmode #boss #expectations ♬ original sound – J.T. O’Donnell

In my 20+ years of experience as a career coach, about 50% of the time it’s just easier to get a new job if you’re looking to reset work expectations at your current job. At a new job, you can set your ideal expectations from the get-go.

But if you really like where you are right now and want to stay there, follow the three steps below to reset your work expectations.

How To Successfully Reset Work Expectations With Your Boss (If You Want To Stay)

Step #1: Do Some Homework

Get out a piece of paper and create three columns. In column #1, list all the things you were hired to do, looking back at the job description for your role if you have to. In column #2, list everything that you’ve taken on since then because if you’re working 60 hours a week, you’ve taken on a lot of additional responsibility. Then, in column #3, think of one or two things that you could take off your boss’s plate. Something that’s a real headache to them that if you took it off their plate, you’d be super valuable to them.

Step #2: Meet With Your Boss

Next, set up a one-on-one meeting with your boss. Type up your three-column list, sit down with your boss, and have a conversation. Here’s an example of what you could say…

“When I first started at this company, I was working 60 hours a week to get myself up to a level of value. But now, as you know, I’ve had this life event and I really want to stick to 40 hours a week but continue to give you a high level of value. So here’s what I figured out. Here are all the things I was hired to do in column #1. Here are all the additional things I’m now doing in column #2. And here are some things that I would love to do for you to make your life easier in column #3. But in order for me to do that, we’d have to take a couple of things off my plate in column #1 that maybe somebody else with more junior skills could handle.”

This is how you begin the conversation. Now, as a bonus, I would suggest you go through and list how many hours a week you do each task in columns one, two, and three, and add them up to show your boss how all of those tasks take over 40 hours to complete. And if you could move things around together, what would they want you to work on? What would be the highest payoff activities for your 40 hours?

Step #3: Update Your Boss On Your Progress

The final step is to give your boss some time to review this information. Then once they approve your new work expectations, you are going to regularly update them on your progress. Communicate with them about what you’re getting done in 40 hours. Market yourself because that’s what people forget to do. They forget to market their value and prove to the employer that they’re working smarter, not harder—without having to do it in extra time.

Once you shift this perception, you’re going to see great results. A lot of times managers don’t realize how much you’re doing and, upon seeing this list, will reset your work expectations for you. But it’s on you to bring up your concerns and try to find a solution where both of you are happy.

Need more help with your career?

I’d love it if you signed up for Work It Daily’s Power Hour Event Subscription! I look forward to answering all of your career questions in our next live event!

Work It Daily

Leave a Comment