It Wasn’t A Sequel To Begin With
November 29, 2012 – 18:32 | No Comment

My 3rd novel wasn’t meant to be a sequel to the 2nd novel in the first place. Then something happened. Characters began to beg to be included in the story. Thus, a sequel was born.

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Home » Freelance & Business, Working World

This Is Not In My Job Description

Submitted by on March 25, 2010 – 08:235 Comments

Oh yes, that’s the familiar phrase every employee must have uttered under their breath when the unexpected fills up their in-tray at work. Looking back, in every job that I have ever had, I have uttered that phrase quietly to myself. Like the time my ex-boss sent me to the bank, post office and store room to sort out ‘important’ stuffs when I was working as a copywriter – it felt like I was the clerk, office boy, store manager and a copywriter all at the same time. Or the time when my CEO wanted me to shoot a video, edit the clips, add subtitles and burn it into a DVD as a Valentine’s Day gift for his girlfriend and the only equipment he supplied this humble writer is a digital camera.

In today’s competitive world, employees find themselves being piled up with tasks beyond their capabilities and job descriptions. And what do they do? They just shut their mouths and get the jobs done (before going home and complaining to their spouses all night while cursing their bosses) because people can’t afford to lose their jobs anymore; they can’t afford to be fired. They rather close one eye and get the job done instead of telling their bosses, “Hey, that’s not in my job description. How does a writer know how to edit videos?”

It is only right to go the extra mile to make ourselves more valuable in our workplace – it’s what everyone does. Like a writer who can translate English to Malay would definitely be more appreciated than a writer who can only writes; a designer who can draw 2D designs and 3D designs is much appreciated than a designer who can only sketch. But it doesn’t mean we should spoil our bosses.

Being good in something that is beyond your job description does not mean you have to get the job done every time; because then you are conditioning your boss to add that extra task into your job description and you won’t be paid extra for that. Yes, you may be flattered because you are the first person the boss goes to when he needs something, but at the end of the day giving in too much would backfire on you. For starters, you may not have enough time to do your own work, which is actually in your job description.

I’m the perfect example when it comes to scenario like this. I was a writer, but I know graphic design. So whenever I have completed my jobs or there are too much work overloaded on the studio, I was assigned to the studio as a graphic designer. My boss would be saying things like, “I know you can do it. Just help us out with this project. The deadline is in an hour’s time. You can draw up that poster faster than anyone else.” Flattering, yes. In the long run, I realised that my boss did not intend to hire a graphic designer to fill up the vacancy in the agency simply because I was there. I could do the job, so why hire and spend more?

It’s one thing to make yourself valuable at work; it’s another to make a slave out of yourself just to be in the good book. And sometimes, it’s best to play dumb when the limelight shines on you. Because once your boss know you have other hidden skills, you will have to do other people’s job and have lesser time to work on yours. What’s worse, you won’t get paid extra for it. And if you can’t manage the new workload, you might even slack in your own work and be put to blamed.

If you really want to be valuable, show that you have knowledge of other things; but never reveal that you can get the job done. The more you do beyond your job description, the more things would be placed on your shoulder. Unless you know very well that you are capable with the extra load, learn how to say no. Learn how to turn down those extra requests when you have to. And perhaps your boss will realise that he needs to hire someone to fill up that vacancy afterall. An employee should never shoulder two persons job description just because he/she is capable of both.

Originally written by Gina Yap Lai Yoong © 2010

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