Friday, June 14, 2013

Other duties as assigned?!?!?

“Other duties as assigned.” Can anybody tell me exactly what that means? It’s on my job description at work and some interesting duties usually end up falling under that category. I won’t dwell too much on that but will tell you that by having “other duties as assigned”, I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to take on some new responsibilities.

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My new duties did not come with a set of instructions. There was no reference guide or manual to guide me on getting things done correctly. My A type personality could not comprehend this! I struggle with following verbal instruction, but baby, if you write them down for me, I can run and go do. With my new duties, to which I had no prior knowledge, I began to keep a notebook of the most recurring issues. Let me tell you, this helped me tremendously! 

By writing these things down, I now had a guide that I could refer to when needed. Why didn’t anyone think of that before? Well, maybe I was the chosen one.
Writing things down led me to begin asking more questions. I know that I can be annoying with asking so many questions. In beginning, I was kinda embarrassed for asking so many questions. I really felt like my questions were stupid, like I should have already known the answer. Oh, that’s another side effect of having a type A personality. We think we need to know EVERYTHING. Even if we’ve never encountered something, seen it, smelled it, tasted it, you get the point. This has caused great stress in my life. I’ve worked hard to come to grips that I don’t know everything, will never know everything, don’t need to. Imagine if I knew everything. I would never feel the excitement of learning something new.

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So, I  started to ask questions. I know I must have come across as lil kid asking “why” all of the time. But asking questions showed that I was truly seeking understanding. The more understanding I got enabled me to teach others my new learnings. Not only that, but I could be confident in what I was talking about. That’s important. Know what you’re talking about. People can see right through you when you’re just blowing smoke up their, well, you know. 

For every question I asked, I jotted the answer down in my notebook. I would verify the answers by gathering screenshots, this helped with seeing it visually.

Hmm, this falls right into line with the biblical scripture of writing down the vision, making it plain, so that you can easily run with it/do it (Habakkuk 2:2).
Writing things down kinda seals the deal, causing you to own whatever you wrote. While performing my “other duties as assigned”, I learned how to stand behind my new learnings when questioned or eat crow when I misinterpreted what was told to me. Sure, whenever I ate the crow, my cheeks would get flushed from embarrassment. Or my sweat glands would go into overdrive, making my armpits a fountain that overfloweth, if you recall, I’ve got a somewhat problem with underarm perspiration.

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Feeling this type of embarrassment helped me to work harder at asking the right questions from the beginning. I learned how to stop making excuses for not having the right system access or because my manager didn't supply me with the information. I began to seek out the people who could grant me the right system access or find other people than my manager to get answers from. Doing these things helped because I was forming new relationships and taking the initiative. 

And, of course, I made mistakes along the way. There’s a difference between making mistakes and blaming others, I learned how to make mistakes, own up to them and learn from them.

As I type this, I realize that these three things, write it down, ask questions, and own it, could be used in every aspect of life. Cause as moms, we know that there are many things that fall under "other duties as assigned" in our homes. Come to think of it, that might be only sentence on the entire job description!

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  1. Oh my goodness I can totally relate to all of this. That's the part I hate and love about starting a new job at the same time. I love that there is so much that is unknown, that it is my job to learn. And I bug the hell out of people with my constant questions too, (which I hate.) but I feel that if I don't ask questions, I am more likely to make mistakes than if I do.

    And I always figured "other duties as assigned" meant that if they ever found a crappy job that no one else ever wanted to do, I'd surely be lumped with it. But because it's in the job description, I have to do it.

    1. LOL, I tell people, if you want to ask me a question, please put it in email form. I cannot go by verbals, if it's written down, I can digest it better. You're right, whatever duties the boss wants to unleash on you, they can put it right under that category. I'm trying to look at the bright side, at least I am learning some new things and hoping paving a better way for the next person.

  2. "Other duties as assigned" - a great euphemism for life isn't it? Here from the Fav Posts hop and saving this post. Great points and strategies here. Gracias & BB2U.

    1. What's up, Babushka? Life is full of other duties as assigned! Thanks for pointing that out and for stopping by.