In the last post—You Owe It To Your Company To Take Time Off—we addressed the importance of treating yourself as a resource by viewing time off as a win-win for both you AND your company. In this edition, we’ll dive even deeper into that conversation with a look at the win-win of cultivating work that best matches your skills.

Being assigned a role or project that doesn’t match your skills—particularly when you’ve already got a full plate—can be frustrating on many levels. We’re typically more interested in work we’re good at, so getting stuck doing work that’s out of alignment with your abilities can leave you feeling resistant, insecure, and unmotivated—all of which leads to a lack of productivity and reduced performance.

Think about the last time you blindly said “yes” to something that wasn’t in your wheelhouse. Were you excited and inspired about taking it on, or resentful and worried about missing out on the work that’s more meaningful and aligned with your abilities? Chances are you were working harder to get through it, feeling frustrated by the time it took, and even insecure about the results, particularly if they weren’t up to your usual standards.

We all have some work that pushes us outside our comfort zone, or that isn’t our favorite, and we find ways to push through. But major assignments that don’t fit can leave you too depleted to bring your best to the work where you could really shine. The result? The organization gets less than your best, and you end up dissatisfied, disengaged, or even hating your job.

Disrupting “by-default” behavior:

When the boss gives you a new assignment, the temptation is to take it at face value, and say yes, without considering alternatives. While you can’t always pick the work you want, you may have more leverage than you think. With a thoughtful approach, you can open up a dialogue about the assignment, and influence the structure and timing of the work, so that it’s a better fit for you.

You have important information to contribute:

Many people have the fantasy that their bosses know how hard they’re working and how to best use them as a resource. The truth is, many managers are so consumed with putting out their own fires that they don’t necessarily have a finger on the pulse of every employee.

YOU have information that no one else does about where and how you can add the most value. To perform at your best and maximize your contribution, you need to find ways to share this information, working in partnership with your boss to define new assignments in a way that will be a win-win for the company and for your career.

It is important to stretch yourself and to be willing to step outside your comfort zone, adopt new skills, and take one for the team now and again. But generally speaking, having work that excites you and the courage to say “how about this instead” (particularly when your plate is already full) prevents the burnout that leaves everyone in the lurch.

Don’t go it alone:

Having these conversations can be tricky. As I mentioned in the last post, there is a fine line between being heard and respected for speaking up versus coming across as entitled and unwilling. Be sure you work with a trusted friend or coach who can help you think through how to have these conversations, so you come across the way you want to – as a dedicated employee, looking out for the best interests of the organization.

I’m here to support you in getting to the next level with more ease than you thought possible. If you’d like specific strategies for effectively communicating your needs in a way that gets you ahead, book a call with me today. We’ll get on the phone for about 45 minutes and craft a game plan to help you take charge of your career. We’ll talk about what has you stuck right now, what’s next for you, and what you need to do to be ready for that next move.

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