When you’re the go-to for a task you hate
Your boss turns to you and says, “can you do this for me?” And before you can even take a moment to think, you blurt out “Sure – I’d be happy to!”
And now you have another mundane, uninspiring task to do – on a project you just don’t like, using a skill set you have, but that bores you to death.
What do you do when your boss has one idea of your strengths and how to best leverage your skills, and you have another?
What do you do when you’ve been pinned to do something that sure, you are darn good at, but makes you feel like you’ve died a little inside each time it comes to doing it?
So far your plan has been to keep saying, “Yes, I’m happy to do it,” knowing it’s a lie. Because after all, you’re good at it – and your boss needs you anyways. What does it matter if you don’t enjoy it? It’s supposed to be work – isn’t it?
Here’s the problem with that mentality.
It sounds nice and helpful and like you are being the dutiful, hard working employee you need to be. And it seems like that type of mindset would pay off. But here’s where it’s flawed. This mentality will keep getting you those same tasks that you are good at but that you just don’t like doing.
And that makes sense – because so far all your boss knows is that you’re good at the task, they need someone to do it, and you keep saying yes. And, if you’ve been adding the “I’d be happy to do it” on top of it all, now your boss even thinks they’re doing you a favor of sorts – because you seem to like doing it, anyways.
And you become that go-to person. The one who does that thing so well, all come clamoring to you for help on it. What this leads to is you NOT taking ownership of your career path. And instead, you letting what everyone else wants you to do steer it.
So how do you balance doing what your boss needs, while also ensuring that you’re the one at the wheel of your own career?
There are a couple different options here – all of which we can explore together more deeply in a coaching session (find out more by scheduling a mini session with me), but here’s the high-level gist of it.
- You need to decide where it is you want to go with your career. Even if it’s just a vague inkling of an idea – anything you can do to help give you a sense of direction (so that your boss isn’t the one creating that for you), the better.
- Realize that your boss is doing nothing wrong. In fact, your boss may even be trying to help you. But your boss is not the one whose job it is to dictate your career and where you’re headed. That’s your job.
- Brainstorm how to create a win-win. What would be your ideal role, tasks, job? What do you think would be your boss’s ideal role, tasks, job for you? Is there a way to pair both into a single role? This may even mean that you need to continue being that go-to person for now. Because that may be on the way to getting where you want to go.
- Have a conversation with your boss. This doesn’t mean giving an ultimatum about the type of tasks you will and won’t do. But it does mean being honest about where you see yourself headed, and then sharing your idea about how to create a win-win to get there. Then, have an open dialogue about it. The goal here isn’t necessarily to stop doing those tasks you don’t want to do. But it is to open up a dialogue to determining how to move towards doing the ones you do want to do more of.
- Remember that regardless what happens, you are in charge of your career. You are not the victim of your job, your boss, your company. You are making an active choice each day, to say yes, to say no, to execute on your work. So, if you find you’re saying yes, and it seems like that is the way forward to getting closer to what you want – then own that this is the choice you’re making. Then, instead of seeing those tasks as things to hate, you can realize they are a step to getting to where you want to go.
These steps will help you to own your own career path and help you think through what to do if you’re pegged into a specific task or role that doesn’t feel like home to you. And, if you want a deeper dive in how to execute on the above steps – contact me. I can help.