And Other Duties As Assigned …

I work … a lot.  I am happiest when I am helping others help themselves, whatever the task at-hand … be it my day-to-day job or my volunteering.  Those closest to me know that this is a part of my genetic makeup, and that I am not going to change from being extremely dedicated to my clients and colleagues.

Last week, I received some constructive criticism during my yearly one-on-one.  While a part of me definitely took the feedback to heart, another part of me (that strong “gut instinct”) couldn’t help but “know” that I had been denigrated because of my sex.  My strong leadership qualities are being dismissed because of the high level of expectations to which I hold everyone (myself, included) — and the accountability and responsibility (or lack thereof) of others being brought to light.  And what’s troubling is I cannot say anything about it at this time.

Today I saw the below list of “7 Things Never To Say To Your Boss”, and it truly drove home that punch in the gut.  For you see, while I never have said any of the things on the list … nor have I thought any of these things … I have had them repeatedly spoken and written to me during my tenure (in fact, during my entire career).

As a matter-of-fact, I was so tired of hearing the #1 “no-no” at one company, that I did something daring.  As a member of the Personnel Department, when asked to re-write over 300 job descriptions, I added the sentence “and other duties as assigned” to every employee’s — including the President & CEO’s.  He completely approved and thought it showed great initiative.  However, shortly thereafter I realized I was not a “people person,” when I had a picture of a finger-pointing outward with the words “Emote Elsewhere” taped to the front of my office door.  (I’ll be the first to admit that I still have the occasional bluntness that needs to be smoothed around the edges.)

Without further ado, here’s the list:

1.  “That’s not my job.”  I believe we’ve covered this one.  But if not, let me clarify.  IF IT’S ASKED OF YOU IT’S YOUR JOB.  Unless it’s illegal, then you should follow your organization’s “Whistleblower Policy.   Perhaps, though, you’d prefer the “kinder, gentler” version of on an “as-needed basis.”  Perhaps if you truly believe something is not your job, YOU will not be needed any longer.  ‘Nuff said.

2.  “It’s not my problem.”  Even if you don’t give a flaming, flying rat’s patootie, show some compassion.  Try to find someone who DOES care, and connect the person (client and/or colleague) with a resource who can help.  This shows YOU as a “go-to”, dependable person, who — yeah — “cares.”

3.  “It’s not my fault.”  Who cares?  One of my favorite quotes is, “Fix the problem, not the blame,” by Henry Ford, II.  Most folks that I know (and with whom I deal) just want the problem fixed, as quickly as possible.  Now when I make a mistake I own it.  I accept accountability and responsibility in order to see the issue through to resolution.  THAT’S appreciated.  But actively blaming others instead of concentrating on finding a solution results in delays, which COSTS MONEY.

4.  “I can only do one thing at a time.”  In today’s economy if you have not learned how to multi-task you are most assuredly obsolete.  Working with and through multiple projects and timelines — seamlessly — is a vital part of anyone’s job description.  (See, #1.)  If you are not as proficient in multi-tasking as some of your colleagues try team-tasking and working with a mentor to get up-to-speed.  (Pithy, sarcastic t-shirts are occasionally appreciated.  These words leaving your lips are not.)

5.  “I am way overqualified for this job.”  Really?  Regardless if you have a Doctorate in Astrophysics with a Masters in Abnormal Psychology and are working at KinderCare (which kinda scares me as to what YOU’D do with those building blocks … but I digress), THAT’S where you’re working.  You applied and accepted the position.  Appreciate it.  Continue looking for employment that’s more “suitable to your skill set,” if you wish.  Panera Bread is hiring.  Let me know if you get on there.  I’ll stop in for lunch. 

6.  “This job is easy!  Anyone could do it!”  Are you a genius or stupid?  I’m trying to decide.  Can you explain?  Oh wait … Let me figure it out.  We’re “right-sizing” our staff.  Based on your comments, we decided that YOU’RE correct.  Interns, eager for real life work experience, will be performing your job at a fraction of the cost (or better yet — FOR FREE).  Thanks for bringing this to our attention.  Enjoy your two-weeks’ severence.  Please let us know if you will be signing-up for COBRA benefits.

7.  “It can’t be done.”  Have you ever wanted to “dock” someone’s pay for a statement?  This is my “docking pay statement.”  I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to say “no” to my clients.  Because of my working with all teams for creative solutions as well as setting realistic expectations for everyone, “no” is not a bad word.  It carries weight and is respected.  To me, this statement is obstinate and shows a lack of willingness to work towards making “it” happen — whatever “it” may be.

What about you?  Are there any comments heard around the water cooler or kitchen microwave … or seen repeatedly … that drive YOU over-the-edge?  Am I the only crazy workaholic who gets worked-up over non-working excuses?

And … is letting people know what you expect too much to expect?

8 thoughts on “And Other Duties As Assigned …

  1. *sigh*…I think I can see your point in most of these, really…I can. But now I’m just gonna play devil’s advocate for a hot minute and switch the pardigm on you. 😉

    1. “It’s not my job.” Because no, dammit, it’s not MY job, it’s “your” job and I’m tired as hell of covering up for you and FINALLY holding you accountable to do what you’re paid to do so I can do what I’m paid to do. I’m usually the FIRST to jump on the job, (doing yours and mine), to the point that I work several hours over my paid time to meet MY deadlines. This is not healthy for me, and honestly, it’s not healthy for you to constantly get by just doing the “minimum”.

    2 and 7. “It’s not my problem”, “It can’t be done” . Though these words seldom leave my mouth because I do CARE very much about my customer and my mission, I am also over your lack of planning and common sense causing me, (and costing ALL of us), to have to scramble last minute to perform a minor miracle, and even more, having to take your shit and your long line of carbon copy’s to list berating me for not making something happen last minute because it is physically impossible to do so. “HEY ASSHOLE….no matter HOW much you think your ship is gonna sink if you don’t get that adhesive by tomorrow….NO ONE can get it from VA to CA overnight because it’s HAZMAT and no one will FLY IT” (I also feel pretty safe in saying that even if I left RIGHT now, I still couldn’t drive to CA in 24 hours). *sigh*

    6. “This job is easy! Anyone could do it”. Well, that is true, because I do sincerly believe that anyone can do anything given enough time. Now…the question is, Can anyone else do it as well as I do? Does anyone else work as dedicated as I do to get my job done? I don’t know. It’s easy because I love it, and that’s why I’m so damn good at it…So…hire the intern, train her/him and you’re still not going to get the quality and/or quantity of work that you get from me, because I have years of knowledge tucked away in my brain and I’m damn good at making you look good. Perhaps an occassional Thank You would be in order? 🙂

    Anyway my darling sister…I’m sure it depends on who’s saying it, and the context for which they’re saying it, but perhaps as a good Human Resources Rep you might wanna dig a little deeper and find out why someone feels that way. Perhaps they are genuinely tired of being taken advantage of…and THAT IS taking advantage of someone….asking for “other duties as assigned and/or “as needed basis”. There really was a reason that Unions were formed and sadly are still needed in many trades. Pay me a fair wage for a days work and I’ll bend over backwards to make you look good, and make my job look easy. Fair enough?

    (and yes…it WAS one of “those” days today…*snicker*)

    • Good gracious … I’m truly having a problem with technology tonight. I did have a thought-provoking response, but it was not meant to be — as the computer ate it. I’ll let your comments stand “as-is,” and contemplate another response for tomorrow.

  2. and btw…I don’t like my little crabbie thing…I wanna be something soft and sweet and mushy……. **batting eyelashes**

  3. My lady,

    Such amazing wisdom! And sooooo true. I am fortunate that my director (aka “top dog in the call center”) respects my efforts and I do have a reputation for being a “can do” kind of gal. BUT…it hasn’t manifested as a pay raise or promotion. (Which is a sign of how well I do–in this company, if you are very good at your job, they keep you in it. I actually was denied a new (better) position within the company specifically because my current boss told the hiring manager that they NEEDED me in that department and she allowed it.)
    I don’t get a yearly (or even bi-yearly) performance evaluation so I have no idea of personal growth or “challenge areas for growth” (used to be called weaknesses….we’ve gotten so PC!) My big career plans? Winning the lottery. No…I do have a secondary plan in the works which involves NOVA and a Mac–getting my Web Master certificate in graphic/web design. But you will notice that neither of them involve the job I’m currently working at. Which is sort of funny, as many of the current management gods and goddesses began out on the floor, same as me.
    Sort of nice to know that it’s not just my company that’s like this. And oh, by the way–we’ve just completed “Spirit Week” where we got to wear clothes with our favorite teams, show our college affiliation or wear our pajamas (PAJAMAS!!!) to work. I didn’t do that shite in high school, I sure as hell don’t do it in a business, corporate environment. It’s not a benefit, it’s not (damning words indeed) PROFESSIONAL.
    Excuse me while I go to 7-11 and get my lottery tickets.

    • Kate ~ It use to be the only thing you were guaranteed if you did a good job was more work. Even THAT’S not a given in these continuing economic climes. Everyone is doing more with less. And, let’s face it, they are doing so at varying costs to themselves (both financial and the catch-all “other”). This has become the normal way of our work lives … and more-and-more frequently in our day-to-day lives. Personally, I’m a complex lady who enjoys living a simple life. (Complex is not complicated. There’s a BIG difference; and I know YOU know this, my darling friend.)

      And while I am not above “Rockin’ The Red” or supporting my beloved ‘Skins now-and-again during work hours (as long as I keep my vile language that spontaneously occurs when I happen to catch them live or sitting in front of a television), I do not think there is enough money on this great blue ball that could be paid to me to wear my “bedtime attire” around my colleagues. Oh no … not even for a corner office!

      Could you pick-up a Scratch-Off for me while you’re there? I’ll get it on Sunday. 😉

  4. In true “recovering perfectionist” fashion, I’m re-reading this post and noting all of the errors. OF COURSE, I want to go back and correct them! I shall restrain myself. It’s good practice for my “persnickety” (aka, anal) self to let them stand, “as-is.” *fidgeting*

  5. It is interesting to read these 7 items as being a way to keep one’s job since following these 7 precepts probably went a good way towards my losing my job in January.

    Because I pitched in and did work that was someone else’s job, because I was radically overqualified, because basically a shaved monkey could do the work that I was doing (and a junior college student working part time probably falls right into that category) it gave the impression that I was doing work for which I was grossly overpaid and overqualified.

    While these 7 precepts are good in this climate, organizational responsibility and managerial oversight are also needed to prevent what happened to me. The work that I was doing to help out became my work and my real work gradually went away. I became what I was not: and then I became expendable.

    And yet the members of the company who created the situation are still employed and wandering around in a haze of self delusion, self agrondizement and self importance: the blind leading the blind.

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