Man Takes On Extra Work After His Boss Quits But Receives No Additional Pay — 'You'll Have To Apply For The Job You're Already Doing'

Sometimes working harder just does not pay off.

frustrated man at laptop, denied job application Fizkes/ - Shutterstock

In the workplace, there are many moving pieces, and it can sometimes become utter chaos when a person chooses to leave their position, opening gaps in employee duties. One man decided to step up when his boss left the company, but soon found out that in some cases, hard work simply does not pay off.

The story, entitled “No, I won’t work for free. HR (Human Resources) tried to threaten me, so I quit” was originally shared on Reddit, then posted on a TikTok account called “Reciting Reddit.”


It all started when the employee’s boss quit his job due to what he thought was unfair pay and a lack of recognition. The timing was terrible as, according to the worker, a $45 million project was underway.

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To help the organization, the man volunteered to step in as the project lead.

At the time, he asked if there would be any additional pay for taking on a second job and was told there would not be.



“I would have quit then, but we had just employed a new person and I was now their line manager and couldn’t bring myself to abandon them weeks into a job,” he said when explaining why he decided to proceed with the new set of responsibilities.


As the worker took on the additional role, the company posted a ‘Project Lead’ job listing and despite his hopes that he would be promoted, that did not happen. “I figured at least I can get paid for what I am already doing,” he said. Instead, the dedicated employee was encouraged to apply for the job like any other applicant would.

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He applied as required, and after final interviews were held, was pulled into HR to chat with them and his line manager about the role.

To his surprise, he was told that he did not get the job. As a matter of fact, the company had decided not to hire anyone into the role after all.

When he dug deeper into why he did not get the position he had been performing for the last six months, they told him that acting as a lead was not the same as having the actual position. The details of that conversation were shared in a second video.




He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The man claimed to have “reporting, planning, and directing every single activity of a 30-plus person project team” since his manager left the organization. He asked his human resources representative if they could see why doing a job for free indefinitely wasn’t the most desirable thing to do without compensation. He was shocked when they failed to see his point of view.

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After being dismissed so callously, the employee told HR that he had other options, hinting at the possibility that he might quit his job.

Unmoved by the threat, the rep called his bluff and asked if they should be discussing his last day of work. In his emotional state, the man said “yes,” provided a notice date, and ended the meeting. He followed up with a formal resignation letter and the gist of it was “You don’t pay me for all my work? Then I won’t work for you at all.”


After officially quitting his job, the man decided to tell his team what had prompted his resignation. They all sang his praises about how “brilliantly” he had led the project, while seemingly “appalled” by how the company had treated him. Many said they, too, were in the process of finding new jobs.

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New duties at work and the associated compensation should be mutually agreed upon.

Many times, an employee will voluntarily go above and beyond what is required at work in hopes of obtaining a promotion or raise. Your hard work and dedication might be appreciated by leadership and management, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to more money or an elevated title. Removing assumptions and getting expectations and compensation in writing before you start a new job is a must.

Volunteering to take on extra work is a choice—one that can either be a catalyst for climbing the ladder, or one that you might be thanked for, but never truly rewarded. Never expect a company to retroactively compensate you for something they never asked you to do in the first place.


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Employers should first try to promote from within before searching for new talent outside of the organization.

As an employer, your brand and your bottom line are key components to your success. Replacing employees that leave is costly, and you have to rely on people already in the business to get new workers up to speed. Promoting from within sends a message of loyalty to employees and can shorten the learning curve since they already know the ins and outs of your business.

The first place a company should look when trying to fill its needs is its existing workforce. If moving a good worker into a new position is feasible and builds morale, it should absolutely be done. By overlooking a seemingly qualified employee, you not only lose them as a backup for the worker that already left but will likely need to fill their role in the near future.


Your co-workers are not your friends.

Just because people who you associate with at work seemingly agree with your disdain over perceived mistreatment, doesn’t mean they will have your back if their career is on the line. It’s easy to empathize when their boss isn’t around, but if it comes down to you and making a living, many will throw you under the bus, drive over you, then throw the bus in reverse and hit you one more time for good measure.

It's a tough reminder to keep it professional at work and know your own worth.


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NyRee Ausler is a writer and author from Seattle. She covers issues navigating the workplace using the experience garnered over two decades of working in Human Resources & Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.