The Muse recently put together advice on how to approach each of these conversations. And you should begin by saying you’d like to discuss optimizing your workload.
Most of us know what this is like: working long hours, weekends, lunch breaks, all just to catch up on where you should have been days (weeks?) ago.
Before meeting with your boss, come up with solutions. Maybe some projects should be team efforts, for example. If you want help from other people, figure out how your strengths could best be used to generate more, not less, productivity.
During the meeting, review your projects and note how long each one actually takes. Include bottlenecks you’ve encountered and suggest how they can be resolved.
A too-light workload can make you feel useless and, even worse, scared for your job security all the time.
Before the meeting, can you invent some projects your boss will love? Are there untapped places where you could make a contribution? Does your boss need help? Make a mental inventory of your skills, so you’re ready to identify opportunities that come up during the conversation.
At the meeting, make it clear how dedicated you are to the company and how important it is to you to make sure you’re doing everything you can to assure its success.
You’re good at the work you do, but it’s all busy work, stuff that fell through the cracks onto you, or projects that don’t challenge you enough.
Before talking with your boss, consider the skills you’d rather be using or even developing. Maybe you’d like more interaction with others or like to prepare to move up in the company.
During the talk, suggest how you can be of even more use to the company by leveraging what you know how to do or by learning a new skill that interests you. If it means changing positions, suggest what that job might be called. You may find your boss can give you the scoop on upcoming opportunities, allowing you to prepare yourself to be a better candidate for those jobs.
If your boss is a good boss, they will want to get the most out of you. Intelligently deploying you will ultimately make your boss’s job easier and will reflect well on them in the long run.
So go ahead and give it a shot. Be thoughtful, be diplomatic. And be brave.