IT Employment

It's not my job: A self-fulfilling prophecy

If you consistently demur on the extra little tasks your boss asks you to do then don't be surprised if you don't move up in the company.

As a manager, the one refrain you don't want to hear is, "It's not my job." If something is asked of you and it is either outside of your skill set or you really don't have the time to do a bang-up job of it, then it's okay to tactfully explain that to your boss. But if that is your motto every time you're asked to do something, then don't be surprised if you don't move up in the company.

I have encountered two extremes of the work ethic -- those who for some reason won't take on any tasks that aren't directly related to their official jobs, and the eager-to-please who take on anything that is thrown out there with no regard for their own time restraints. I'll address the latter in another blog post, but for now we'll talk about the "not my job" guy.

The compartmentalized employee

Before I hear from everyone telling me how, if you don't put your foot down, you'll end up with more work than one person could ever finish, let me explain. It is true that some managers fall easily into the trap of accepting new duties on behalf of the team in order to look better in the eyes of his or her superiors and then pass everything on to the team.  And sometimes IT pros find that when they switch job roles, whether due to a promotion or a lateral move, their old duties seem to follow them.

Years ago, a guy came to my team who had previously helped the marketing department set up a database. Although the manager in the marketing department had promised to hire someone to take over the database responsibilities and upkeep, she didn't do it -- at least not for months. What she thought of as a few "can you take a looks" ended up taking a significant portion of this employee's time from his new duties. However, instead of outright refusing her, he came to me, explained the situation and said that if I, as his new boss, wanted him to keep working on the database, he would but it would be a hardship. I agreed with him and had a talk with the old manager who ended up hiring someone.

What I'm talking about in terms of "it's not my job" is the person who doesn't understand the team concept. Also a few years ago, the receptionist at a company where I worked went through a health crisis. She tried to come into work everyday but there were a couple of instances when she had to unexpectedly leave early. This meant that it fell to whomever was left to let people in when the door buzzer sounded. One person said that it wasn't her job to answer the door.

That's true, it wasn't. It was no one else's job either. But it was an extraordinary circumstance that we all, as employees, should have helped mitigate.  Her unwillingness to step up to the plate like everyone else stayed with me. In business, particularly in small start-ups where everyone is doing everything for a while, it becomes fairly obvious who you can count on.

At some point, the refusal to do extra tasks can become an ego issue: "I'm above that sort of thing." But I will guarantee you that no boss will look back at your work history and be impressed that you stayed true to your narrow view of your own duties. You will come across as inflexible and not open to new things. If a promotion is what you're seeking, those two traits are not ones you want to perpetuate.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

126 comments
Scott.M
Scott.M

Some people won't do anything outside their job because they think it's beneath them, or they are just avoiding work. For others, it's a defense mechanism, to avoid having responsibilities shoved down upon them, for which they aren't prepared for, and for which they won't be compensated for. And yeah, these might be stepping stones to a higher position. But NOT EVERYONE WANTS TO BE PROMOTED. Stop assuming that!

egermain
egermain

There is a difference between saying "That's not my job" which is self-oriented, and saying "That is _____'s responsibility" which is solution-oriented. The first attitude offers no solution for getting the work done, the second attitude offers a solution for accomplishing the work and seeks to maintain order and accountability in the organization. There is a fine line that we walk between the two. Of course if the person whose responsibility it really is needs help, we help where we can. But in a system-driven organization, there is a difference between helping and just doing the stuff that nobody else wants to own up to. In a system-driven organization, anything that is done repeatedly needs a clear owner and the accountability to bring it back to them. Sometimes just "helping" is actually just a mask for avoiding healthy task conflict.

RaymondH3201
RaymondH3201

It's about being paid for the work you do and not doing work outside of your classification. That being said it also depends on my employer. If every one works as a team- no problem. But if the workplace nickle and dimes you to death and demands you work outside your job skills just to save a buck and then not supply you the tools you need to accomplish the task- then no. In either case I'd be looking for another job. Few places have respect for their employees anymore.

kind guru
kind guru

Its a good piece of writing to let subordinates know how to cooperate with their bosses. May I request the writer if you please post some more writings on this important area. Regards,

fhawkins
fhawkins

Great topic. I'd share, with humorous intent, that I had calls on one project several years after I left the company. I tried to help the best I could. One never knows how being a bit giving helps others and might someday help you.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Employers will do anything to get more than they are willing to pay for in the work place. People who fall for this line will drink anyone's cool aid. The stockholders don't care if you work yourself to death. The old days when loyalty was repaid are long gone. If you as an employee don't look out for your best interests, the employer will bend you over every time. That is why I work only as either a "consultant" or contract worker. I like having a balanced, full life not plugged into a cell phone 24-7. I am being hired for a specific job and when I am done, I go home. I am NOT at the employer's beck and call. I don't do windows, fetch coffee or sweep the floor; for that I tell the employer to either get one of his slaves or with a beaming smile ask him if he would like to re-negotiate my contract (read here pay me an obscene bonus). That is when he usually backs off, or gives me MY pound of flesh. Employment is just a legalized form of prostitution. Like the old joke goes: A man walks up to a woman and says will you sleep with me for a million dollars? After thinking about it she says yes. Then the guy says well will you do it for fifty bucks? She says ?NO!? what do you think I am a common whore? He says, well we have already determined that, now we are just haggling over the price.

Kickstart70
Kickstart70

Very often the most reasonable way to handle requests that come in is "Not that I don't want to help you, but I'm not as comfortable with the skills required for that job as Bob is". Unfortunately, to the requester this re-parses in their mind to "Not my job". Perceptions of this sort tend to spread rather than fade away and pretty soon the impression is you are a not-my-jobber. There's very little that can be done, no matter how tactful you attempt to put it. That's partly why, in IT departments of any reasonable size, it need to be the manager's responsibility to make roles and coordinate work. Other staff and managers need to be aware of these roles and understand that in a complex environment, not all staff can be experts in everything.

irozenberg
irozenberg

Well, I might be repeating this statement but in IT there are no definite boundaries of you job. So, you never could be sure for 100%. Your intuition (gut feelings) however could inform you that Developer should not perform duties of Tester for more than a week, Architect should not be a full time Developer etc. Extra curriculum activities might be quite positive they seem to be a natural breakers of routine work and other people PROBLEM could became your opportunity.

Persepone
Persepone

You learn a lot from these situations--both about yourself and other people and the jobs themselves. We started our own business and it's amazing how much we learned from our "it's not my job" jobs that has helped us with our business. In this situation, of course, it IS "our job."

dgorjup
dgorjup

Way back in the good ole days (1970's) I was a mechanical designer for an electronics manufacturing company. I was also the liaison to manufacturing tasked to cure any hiccups that impeded production. Fixing manufacturing problems usually entailed requesting copies of archived paper drawings. Since there was only one little old lady providing all the print room services, getting drawings could often take days, and I didn't have days to spare to get production back in gear. I learned how to grease the skids to get my emergency needs met before everybody else. Essentially I would help the little old lady out with stuff that was difficult for her. So, one day I'm unloading a cart full of heavy paper and storing it in the print room for said lady. My boss, the high and mighty engineering manager, happens by, turns red, and orders me back to my desk with the admonition that unloading the cart was "not my job". To make a long story short, when the next manufacturing emergency happened I told the print lady NOT to expedite my print request. After 2 days my boss asked me what was holding up the fix. I told him I was waiting on prints, per standard procedure. Then I handed in my two week notice and explained to him what the deal was with unloading the cart. That doing favors was the best way I knew to get favors in return, and that his intransigence about duties was not helping his department get its job done.

stupid user name
stupid user name

Beware of volunteering to do something. Although it shows initiative, it could easily become part of your job, formally or informally. Been there, had it happen.

ewsiliga
ewsiliga

Not true when upper management is ignorant. I know a director now who used to say that a lot and moved up (Although never said to upper management but to minions).

Observant
Observant

What I think Toni is getting at is that if you repeat the mantra of "It's not my job" long enough, you may not have a job at all to compare it to. Granted, security is everybody's job (such as doors to secure areas) along with safety (watch for tripping hazards etc), and there is nothing wrong with going the extra mile now and then when it comes to adding paper to the copier. ... The bigger issue is the result of doing a "not my job" function continually because someone else is not stepping up to their responsibilities (yet claiming credit for them). Now add to the mix a supervisor (or entire management structure) that propagates such behavior (from either perspective). ... I call this "Abusive Peter Principle" which is why I loath the phrase "... and other duties as assigned" in job descriptions. The sad part is that as a whole, the work environment is being squeezed into a no-win situation. You can't fire the "not my job" type for fear of some type of lawsuit and you will take the "I'll do whatever" type and burn them out (emotionally, physically, or both). If anybody out there is currently working for an organization with opportunities coupled with integrity, feel free to let me know. R.

david.walker2
david.walker2

I was recently instructed to fix errors on a customer's systems. It truly was not my job, as I am a systems programmer, not a support rep. As such, my position is pretty much customer-contact-free. I had provided detailed instructions to the customer's IT people not once, but twice, covering exactly what needed to be done. Apparently, the IT people were unable to comprehend said instructions. I fixed the requested systems, and provided my supervisors with a detailed memo concerning the specific steps I had taken to repair them. It was basically one fix, applied three times. After the systems were repaired, I was made privy to a memo (not sent to me directly) from the Director of the customer unit I had assisted. The memo said "Awesome!!! Thank you, very much, & everyone that assisted!!!" So, after all my hard work, the customer's IT team sat around congratulating themselves on a job well done, which I found highly amusing. For hilarity, it reminded me of the time a manager pointed out that we were losing four dollars for every unit we sold, and some wit chipped in with "Yeah, but we'll make it up in volume!" I told my boss I was (jokingly) tempted to offer my services to the customer. After all, I wouldn't have to work very hard to look MUCH better than all of them! But I like it where I am...

codybwheeler
codybwheeler

Good point. I have a friend who is the "go to" person when it comes to the door. She obviously can't be there all day. When she leaves for lunch people grumble and gripe if they have to get up to answer the door. Yes, it's annoying sometimes, but that's what a team is all about. Here's another self-fulfilling prophecy type of article on our blog. Some might enjoy reading it. Well...I'm Just An Assistant

digital punk
digital punk

what about when you have done them and more - for an extended period of time? having been in this position, I did the little extras for more than 2 years - only to find that not only did I not get ahead or compensated, but those who didn't do them actually got the monetary compensation and raises...and the catch to it is - once you take on doing the little extras - they epect that you keep doing it (basically for free) and if you stop or try to have it assigned to someone else...suddenly you're not doing your job and asking someone else to do your work. Lesson Learned: never again without a specified start and end date to the little extras and a clause for compensation should that time period be exceeded. And probably get it notarized.

Retired_USAF
Retired_USAF

Frankly Toni, I think that you have some misconceptions here, or at least didn't indicate them. Yes, you are right that "stepping up to the plate" is necessary in some cases, and that the theory of approaching your boss and explaining the situation might cause a hardship is good in theory, in practicality, it isn't. With me being retired USAF, I learned early on in my military career about "stepping up to the plate". But in civilian life, a large majority of the managers/other employees will try and take credit for your work, and you get shafted in the end (sorry about the choice of words). If you decide to "step up to the plate", you better make sure that it is well documented. I had supervisors (and fellow employees) in my civilian career that ATTEMPTED to take credit for my work when it was good/outstanding, and ATTEMPTED to shaft me when they screwed up. Take an example of one of by bosses. I did a job periodically that would require hundreds of hours to do. Well I approached my boss about writing a program to do the job. He in no uncertain terms told me that I would write this program officially for the company, and on company time. So, I e-mailed him about our conversation, and he confirmed it back, all documented. Well, I wrote the program on my own time, on my personal computer, with a compiler I purchased. Once I got it done, I used it one time, and it cut the hundreds of hours down to 30 minutes. He tried to say it was company property. But when I showed appropriate people the e-mails, they were PO'd, because he prevented them from claiming it as their property. Then when I left for a new job, the program went with me, and they reverted back to the hundreds of man-hours to get the same job. Because of my bosses stupidity, I estimate that his decision cost them $30,000/year in just man-hours, not counting computer time. You say this doesn't sound like what I mentioned above ("ATTEMPTED to shaft me when they screwed up"), on the contrary. When he to talked to the "appropriate people", he told them that it was an official project, which would have made it company property. But, the e-mails proved that he lied and ATTEMPTED to shaft me when he screwed the pooch. Take another example, close to what you talked about. At my one job, we worked in a secure (locked) data center. When "a visitor" would come in, like maintenance and/or contractors, the person that signed them in, even if they passed them to someone else was responsible for their actions, and insuring they were signed out, and got the badges from them. Well, because the company said this, no one would sign in the visitor. What I mean by this, is if the visitor was going to section "A", and the person that answered the door was from section "B", they would refuse to sign them in or take any responsibility. They would to and tell the supervisor of the section (section "A" in this case) to get someone and sign in the person. The visitor would have to stand outside, regardless of the weather, because of the company policy. If the person in section "A" didn't sign the person out, get their badge, etc, and it was the person in section "B" that signed them in, the person in section "B" would get fired. So, as I have shown you, your thoughts of "stepping up to the plate" is fine in theory (and to a point, naive); there are practical things that people need to look at, and that is making sure they get credit for what they do, and to CTA (Cover their A**), or more known as CYA.

gouhar.nayab
gouhar.nayab

In fact I learned new tools software in deadlines when every one is has to do everything to meet the dead lines. BTW I am a part of small Architectural Studio. Gouhar Nayab

shamous
shamous

What happens if it's the manager sitting there doing very little and delegating everything downwards until you are fit to burst whilst he partakes in updating twitter or playing games on his Iphone?

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

that's the new line now. Anything people do not want to do they just throw up the old no training line...

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

"Not my job" line, where I now work, a lot. I don't hear it any more as all those folks who were fond of saying that phrase are gone. Presumably working somewhere else at a much reduced pay rate, or drawing unemployment. As with many other companies, the place I work for has reduced its staff. Both because the pace of new contracts has slowed considerably, and because competition for those new contracts has stiffened considerably with everyone trying to under bid the other guy. End result has been that everyone still working has needed to be more "flexible". This has never been a problem for me. For many years, when asked by a coworker or customer who'd known me for a while, why I was doing this or that task which that person had never seen me doing before, I'd just grin and reply, "I'm the company whore. Pay me and I'll do most anything yah want. I'm not too proud. Nor am I squeamish about getting down and dirty." The truth is, I've pretty much always been like that. Many years ago, as a teen, I worked for a large grocery store. Originally hired as a produce department helper. This was back before produce was delivered washed and trimmed, with many items pre-packaged. Most items were delivered in bulk. Then at the store they were hand sorted to remove the too badly damaged or over ripe, washed, trimmed if necessary to make em look nice, etc. If an item was to be sold in packs, bags, or whatever, they were hand done, weighed, marked, and so forth. Anyway, I was hired to do most of the tedious labor involved in that sort of thing. Plus, as an ex-farmer's kid, and we'd raised a wide variety of things even if just for our own use, I knew a pretty fair amount about fruits and vegetables. The ladies shopping loved it that if they asked, I could pick out the item just at the appropriate ripeness for them if they wished to eat it that day, or weren't gonna use it until 3 days later. Knew how to prepare this or that item for freezing or home canning (had watched and helped my mom and grandma many, many times). And even knew the difference in taste, use, and cooking/preparation methods between a wide variety of squashes, lettuce, pod beans, etc. Anyway, I was used to moving fast, and getting things done. So I had time to spare here and there. Being the type person I was, and on the clock, it'd bother me to just stand around or waste time by going slow while still being paid. So I'd look around the whole store. And if I saw something needing to be done, or someone needing help, I'd just do it. Mop up a spill in an aisle, restock a shelf of canned goods, help a little old lady who was having trouble getting something off a low shelf, or whatever. Or I'd quiz other employees about their jobs, the how-what-and-why of it. That included my looking over my boss's shoulder (the produce department manager) and watching him do his accounting, ordering, and so forth. I bugged the devil out of him, trying to learn as much as I could. Net result, it wasn't long before I got several pay increases (weren't big but every little bit helped), but more importantly the store manager started asking me to do some extra hours (paid), filling in as check-out person (I'd learned to do that) whenever a check-out clerk didn't show up or when the store was really busy and an extra was needed. Or he'd ask if I could do extra time helping the night clean up crew. Or helping to unload delivery trucks in the wee morning hours as we stocked up in preparation for a big sales day. Etc. End result was that I was getting a pretty fair amount of overtime work, in addition to getting at least a full 40 hours a week where before I was originally hired to just work four 8 hour days. It was one of those deals where the store manager felt like I was scratching his back, so he set about to scratching mine in return. In fact, one day he mentioned to me that he was darned tired of other employees who frequently told him, "Hey, that's not my job." At one point he faced the problem that he simply had too many folks on the payroll. And HIS bosses demanded that he trim a few off. As a person with less time working there than almost anyone else, I thought for sure I was gonna be let go. Rather than waiting around and making it hard on him, I faced him with it, and told him it was okay. I understood. But could I finish the week? Would give me a bit in my pocket while looking for another job. He looked surprised and said, "Oh heck no, you're not going anywhere. I'm not even thinking about letting you go. I haven't made up my mind yet who its going to be, but you can bet on the fact its going to be one of those -It's not my job- characters."

MusicRab
MusicRab

This is a reason I left the industry. At the start people would help each other; now its all about the individual; people only care about themselves; and I understand why. Job pressure; peer pressure; money pressure; home pressure; competition.

RSBPublishing
RSBPublishing

Toni, Thanks for speaking up on this one. There are boundaries, and then there is selfishness. Anyone who has to work with people like this know the difference! I've also noticed the "Not my job" people seem to think there's nothing wrong with forcing the things they don't want to do (that are their job), onto other people IS okay. I'm with you. Bosses remember those who never stray outside their designated jobs to be a team player - and they don't remember them in a good way!

masood
masood

Great! I was in those one of the stages and finally got a relief after reading your post. Thank You!

richard.artes
richard.artes

My old boss used to insist I do nothing outside my job. If he ever caught me unpacking a box or filling the dishwasher he went purple on the face. "That's not your job!!! Get back to your desk!!!" The new one is much more flexible. Key is: learn to listen to the boss and work with him/her. They pay the salary: they decided if they want to keep you or not.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

"This meant that it fell to whomever was left to let people in when the door buzzer sounded. One person said that it wasn?t her job to answer the door." The one thing that should be branded into the skulls of every employee in the world, especially in the information feild, "Security is everyone's job." Sounds to me that the team member who came to you about the marketing department continuously coming back to him took the mature, professional manner to upchannel the problem to you. When I was a supervisor myself, I always wanted to know if any of my folks had a conflict, especially if it was pulling them off the jobs I'd assigned to them. Same deal with my current position with delivering solutions to a phethora of customers: I never tell the boss it's not my job. Rather, I let her know there's a conflict and ask which project or task she wants done first. I always have work, but I don't have to blow my blood pressure over out-of-the-ordinary jobs being dumped on me.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

I seem to work with a bunch of "not my job" types. Even if they are in transition, and it should be their job, if they don't yet understand it, they skirt learning it. :0 I have generally tried to accept any responsibility or challenge that have come my way. I like to help people so I will go out of my way, and generally have thick enough skin that it doesn't bother me. :)

lcali
lcali

I think if respect went both ways, this topic would not even have to be addressed. Working together to get it all done makes for happy employees, managers, owners, and customers.

asics447
asics447

I have been asked to do things out of my relm - said yes - I do it and it continues and it is expected - I have never been compensated for all of the extra work I have done - Recently my boss went into the hospital while I was on vacation - I was asked to come in - I did and received no compensation/time/money and is out of my relm - I am not an owner or partner- no-one has ever come in on there vacation but me? - first time shame on you second time shame on me - be careful - this is a slippery slope - some people are never asked because they wont do it- others are always asked because they will - management for what I have delt with will take advantage at every oppurtunity and give nothing back - Just MHO and what I have experianced on the east coast -Be careful and draw your line in the sand because someone is always looking to take advantage of you as an employee and a person

Gabby22
Gabby22

You're absolutely right here. And being paid to learn is the greatest luxury, particularly in a field which moves so fast. I always tried to help if I could - I learned knew things, built up a contact network, and scored lots of favours for later. It made *my* job easier because there were more I could call on for advice and assistance. It was a natural preparation for me becoming a consultant. Also, if you *can't* shuck off the requests that will just waste your time, in a way that leaves no damage, you're either in the wrong place or you won't progress far anyway.

fatman65535
fatman65535

Typical DUMB boss, one who can not see the forest, because of the trees. That is the way things ought to work. You made her job a bit easier, and she made your requests a higher priority. I would bet a 6-pack that he did not give a rats @$$ UNTIL production got impeded. Then all hell broke loose.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

You mention something I always wonder about because it seems to be mentioned so frequently. And that's the idea that it must be common place for an employer to be afraid to fire someone because of possible law suits. At least it seems as if it must be common place, since its mentioned so often. Now, I'm no youngster. I'm 60. So I've had a few years of observation. And typically I've almost always had the sorts of jobs where I was out and about. Able to move among many people who worked for other departments or branches of the same employer; or amongst other companies, institutions, etc. And getting to know the folks there. For instance, in my current job I'm constantly at one or another premises belonging to one of our hundreds of customers. And know at least a few folks at each more than just passing well. To include members of both lower and upper management. Now, with the exception of the folks who have to deal with the Teachers' Unions (school districts), and a few of the government agencies with strong unions, I almost never hear anyone voicing much concern about fear of lawsuits as a result of letting someone go. There is the occasional situation. But they're few and far in between. And usually involve special cases and situations. But in the vast majority of cases, such seems a really minor concern. Most managers and supervisors I know are at least modestly intelligent and informed, and know the 1001 ways to get rid of someone if they're really set upon doing it that would negate any real concern about a possible lawsuit. There are what ... something over 300 million folks in the U.S.? Presumably one would think somewhere around 100 million of them work at least part time. So how many lawsuits are filed, with SUCCESSFUL results, claiming unfair firing practices? Not many, I'm thinking. Not when compared to the total number of people working and total number fired or otherwise let go. In fact it seems so rare that successfully pursuing such a case is a news worthy event. Remember, the news reports exceptions and the unusual, not the everyday common events. Its like this one fellow who used to work for us. He was one of those "It's not my job" type of people. Now, what work he did do, he did very well. No problem there. In fact he did his job in excellent fashion. The problem was that his job was a specialty thing. Absolutely necessary. However ... Two things ... (1) He wasn't the only one who could do it, and (2) his specialty work wasn't always enough to keep him busy all the time. Granted, he did that specialty work probably better than anyone else. But the thing is, others COULD do it also, at least acceptably well. And he routinely had some extra time on his hands. He was paid for 40 hours a week of work. But the truth was that routinely he was puttering around doing nickle and dime stuff, "make work". Reorganizing his files for the 104th time, reading trade magazines, polishing the keyboard on his PC, etc. This came to the attention of his boss. Who actually liked the guy. But who also had other folks working for him that could use a hand and some help. So this fellow's boss kept approaching him and asking him to lend a hand to this person or group from time to time when he wasn't actually busy with his specific assigned specialty. And said boss kept getting the answer, "Its not my job." Or other words or excuses to the same effect. This went on for some time. Until that manager got good and tired of it. And got rid of the fellow. That manager didn't actually want to do it. I know. At one point he spoke to me and asked me to talk to the fellow concerned to see if I could make an impression upon him, convince him. I talked to the fellow on a number of occasions, with no success. The truth was, despite all the arguments and excuses he offered (which sounded good but which were total BS) that he liked the cushy, easy nature of his job as it currently was, and liked being a prima donna. So his boss wrote his job out of the picture. Essentially. Did the necessary paperwork to show that his department was overstaffed for the amount of business they had. Wrote up the justifications for who was laid off versus kept, etc. Stated that the fellow concerned had shown only the one skill and experience. While another (to be kept) could and would do other assigned duties, while being able to do the duties of the to-be-laid-off fellow more than adequately. And laid off the problem child. Laid him off, didn't actually fire him. But it was the same effect. The guy was NEVER going to get a call to come back to work, at least not from us. And never did. I know the fellow. We met regularly at this or that event or function. A likable guy, a good guy. But since our letting him go he's been hired and let go by others. For pretty much the same reasons. He's finally gotten into the contract worker thing. As his reputation in our area is known pretty much by everyone. He does good work in his specialty, excellent. However to this day he won't willingly do anything else. And for most businesses that need his services, those services don't work out to a regular full time job. And no one wants to pay him for a full 40 hours a week, for 52 weeks a year, when he'll be just dusting his keyboard again for the Nth time, for 20% to 30% of those hours. As a contractor, he draws good pay, when he's working. But of course there are those periods of no work. I could mention many, many other examples that I'm personally aware of. But the point is, if an employer (in the case of MOST employers) wants to get rid of you, chances are darn good they know how to do that and leave you without much of a leg to stand on in filing a SUCCESSFUL lawsuit. I doubt if the threat of someone filing a lawsuit for an improper/unfair firing is much of a concern to most employers. Most of em know the rules ... and the loop holes in the rules, and what all that tiny print says in the contracts.

mjc5
mjc5

Years ago in another job, I was part of a team doing specialized computer construction. One part of the job involved actual wire-listing to ensure that the automated machines that wrapped the boards did it correctly. As a person who insists on doing the job correctly, I did a very good job, while all the other techs in the place either couldn't concentrate, or just didn't care about doing a good job. So guess who got all the mind numbing work? It was an incredible boring strain. To top it off, every other tech got a promotion. When I went to my boss to talk about th eissue, I was told 1. "You do an excellent job on the wire listing. No one else does anywhere as good, Your error rate is so close to zero that we have to keep you on it in order to meet deadlines." 2. "Well, we can't promote you right now because all you're doing is wire listing." And they were actually surprised when I quit.

lupin109
lupin109

Find out what his skill sets are and then when the proper time comes, apply for his job, since you are already doing it. He may be your supervisor, but he is still an employee. Don't forget that.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

take notes of these times and actions as evidence and after a few months go to his / her boss / HR and raise it.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

There are some places you're forbidden by the company, and OSHA regulations, to be performing certain tasks. I work in a hospital, and there's always a transporter or a clinical person within 60 seconds of any location; so I.S. and other support staff are absolutely forbidden to even touch a patient. Big time liability if we do. And if you're not trained and equipped for confined spaces work, you don't go under stairs or in manholes.

TexasJetter
TexasJetter

If it is within your scope figure it out ;)

VORMEG1961
VORMEG1961

Hi, yes this phrase is comming up, but You should also take a look on the reasons why. For example: I have build ab a Config Mgmt. Application in my company during the last 10 years. Then the Mgmt. came up with the Idea that the IT-Department should work as Service provider. In their opinion it menat that we buy "Services" and resell them to our customers. Selfmade solutions where cosidered as "...iiigggiiitttt..". "We dont't want to have developers in our branch." I was told. So I got the "chance" to run a "project" to replace the existing System with a COTS product. Worth more than 1 Million Euro with an external company. Problem is, I have no training on Project Management, (You will leran on the job) I am forced to achieve the Requirements of IPSL and PMI. (We need this for the department ISO certification) The originally proposed time schedule of 18 months was reduced to 12 months without resource increasement. Now I'm in a daily fight to get the deliverables and the project includig the documentation on time etc.. My requests to get a training for project management in advance for the project was rejected with "no time now, we have to run the project." Similar to my situation I have heard from a lot of people, that they are forced to take over new tasks but the Mgmt. is not willing or able to keep the training schedule of the people aligned with the their needs. And afterwards complains about failing projects, delayed taks and so on.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

This is the way it's supposed to work. You hustle and deliver good work for the company and the bosses recognize it and reward you. I suspect there's so much "not my job", i.e., the first part, is because companies have become so impersonal that there there's very little of the second part these days. People aren't, for the most part, stupid. If they see good work being recognized and rewarded, they'll produce it. If the recognition and reward is missing, or even worse, directed elsewhere, the good work will go away and "not my job" becomes the rule.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

I got my first job working on a neighbor's farm. I got a flat-bladed shovel and a wheel barrow, was pointed at the horse barn, and shown the pile out back. My job was to make the pile inside the barn smaller, and the one out back bigger. Then I got an extra job handed to me when the automatic manure cleaner broke in the cow barn. (Think of a chain link conveyor belt 4 inches deep in cow pies.) Promotion was haying season stacking 75 pound bales. The treat was to be the person running the tractor pulling the baler.

SecurityMoose
SecurityMoose

Yes, I have a boss who is like this. I work for a company where every department has a set role, and it is the gaps in between that cause the problems. If I try to help glue the departments together I am told it is not my job, and I get marked down in appraisals accordingly. The summary is that if you want to get on, it depends on the company attitude as to how to do it. A company that values people's talents will ensure that advancement is a matter of course, but in others, the way to get on is through pushing yourself forward, networking and visible and advertised results.

michaellashinsky
michaellashinsky

I am in IT now, but I used to be a cook at PSU, and at that time I was doing breakfast and lunch shift. I was supposed to clock out at 2:30 in the afternoon. The menu was not balanced, in that some days the lunch meal required little supervision on my part and I could prep for the next day, and other days I was constantly running between the fryers and the griddle, and had a a menu for the next day that required extensive prep work. On one of those later days, it was about 1:20, I had attempted to start my prep work and had it on my counter, but had been servicing the lunch line constantly and could not get back to it. There was no way I could get the prep work done, get lunch done, and get out by 2:30. There was also no way I could get the next day's meal done without prep work being done. I called over my manager and explained to him that I was getting creamed and needed to stay late, (Overtime,) to finish up my prep work. He told me I had to get everything done, and I still had to be out on time, and I still had to have the next day's meal done on time. (He had alternatives. He could have offered to have some student workers work on it during the dinner meal, but he didn't.) I worked too hard for too many years to take that kind of crap from a snot nosed manager a decade younger than me fresh out of a (PSU) business course. I know how long it takes to do things, and I know when I cannot get a set amount of work done in the time I have left. ***I told him, "You have the right to expect the impossible. You also have the right to be disappointed when you don't get it!)*** Is it any surprise that he hated me?

mjc5
mjc5

Check back in with us 10 years from now. Management tends to take the path of least resistance, and it will become much easier to have you do other people's work than to ask them to do their job. The real kicker is that they will be the one's getting promotion. You will have the handicap that you are doing their jobs, and that makes you harder to replace. A strange side effect is that as likely as not, you will be resented by the people who you are helping to be slackers. So if you can handle it, that's great.

JamesRL
JamesRL

And most of them no longer work here. When you think about it, when companies are reducing their workforce, the remaining workers will have to take on responsibilities outside of the norm, to be able to continue to function. If you are in that position, having to add responsibilities to your team, which members do you want to give them to.... If I've been given additional tasks, I usually inform my supervisor and that usually prompts a discussion. Sometimes we help other groups to enhance our ability to ask for help when we need it. Kinda like karma.

michaellashinsky
michaellashinsky

I had a another job cooking at a hotel that had the same mentality. If you did a job well, the chef would keep you there. Raises were never approved by management either. I had to quit and rehire 3 times to get raises and promotions. I couldn't get a 50 cent/hour raise for doing a good job, but I would leave for another job for two months, and come back with a 3 dollar an hour higher salary than what I left with. Dumb!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I'm not food service certified, so I'm not allowed to touch the product. If I have to work on a register or cash drawer, I call a cashier or manager to take or watch the till while the cash drawer is open. Thankfully, none of my equipment is in areas that required confined spaces certification.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

I know all about it - but there are some that pull out the 'no training line' at every opportunity.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

I am 10 1/2 years into my IT career. I may do it for another 10 years, but then again, I may not. ;) I am the Sr. Network Engineer here (although the titles are funky, so that is not the 'official' title). I work public sector, so promotions rarely happen, and if they do, tenure or AAE grounds trump all. I don't let them dump anything and everything on me (I know they want to keep me, so they wouldn't do that anyway), so I will continue to go above and beyond. I don't see it as unreasonable, I am here to make sure things for which I have control, run as efficiently as possible. Your points are duly noted, however, and acknowledged. :)

davidsont
davidsont

Your statement "a strange side effect is that as likely as not, you will be resented by the people who you are helping to be slackers" is such a bummer, but true. I am sure anyone who has been in IT for just a little while has run into someone who has asked for help or needed help but then resented the help. You never know when it will flare up or from who.

michaellashinsky
michaellashinsky

Hey, thanks for the reply. There are a few facts to consider: I did need the job. It was a better position than the one I had, and the one I had left for. They didn't offer me anything. I went in and said this is how much I want, and the Chef didn't bat an eyelash. You are right in that it was a lousy place to work, but in food service, they are all lousy places to work. That is why I busted my butt to get into IT. I don't have to deal with that nonsense anymore.

fatman65535
fatman65535

Rule # 5: NEVER, EVER go back to work for a former employer!! No matter how much money they offer you. Especially, if they refuse to give you a raise, and you left for that reason.

davidsont
davidsont

.. of the game. I guess I should stick to being a fan and not a player.