I know someone who has been doing the same management job for 18 years. Now in his late 40’s, this person has become burnt out and very frustrated with his job. As he has said to me, “how can someone do something for almost 20 years and not go insane?”
For that reason alone it is important that you vary your responsibilities from time to time. Keeping your tasks varied and interesting will prevent you from beginning to feel bored and underemployed. This is akin to a child beginning to have bad grades because they are not being challenged enough in school- eventually, you just begin to let yourself slip, and the quality of your work will begin to suffer as a result. From an employment point of view, that is a very bad turn of events and is something that should be avoided.
Taking new responsibilities on can be just as frustrating if you aren’t prepared to handle them properly. Before you approach your boss about taking new responsibilities, take some time to prepare yourself accordingly:
- Assess how new responsibilities will affect your career goals – this is important for the long run. If you are taking on new responsibilities for the sake of doing so, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. There’s a to be gained, but also a lot to be lost if you weren’t as ready for it as you thought you were.
- Determine what new responsibilities you are capable of doing – Before approaching your employer with your proposal, figure out what you can actually do. This is important for obvious reasons, as well as the fact that you want to be showing that you can perform varied and rounded tasks. Doing so will further establish your value with the company.
There are a few ways that you can figure out what you’re good at. The easiest is to simply focus on the things you enjoy doing – accounting, for example – and moving a step beyond that. If you enjoy accounting, perhaps you’ll enjoy financial planning or corporate tax work.
- Prepare a justification – Your employer is going to have to decide whether or not you are ready to take on new challenges (and any associated raises in pay that come with them). Chances are good that they’re going to want to know why you want to try new things.
Be honest, as they will appreciate the sincerity of your reasoning. After all, it’s unlike that they would want to be doing the same thing for lengthy periods of time.
Once you have been given the green light, make a gradual adjustment to your schedule and workload. Dumping everything on yourself at once is a good way to burn yourself out faster than you need to. Take the time to learn the mechanics behind your new tasks, how much time it will take you to accomplish them, and any special arrangements that you will need to make in order to do your new jobs well.
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