Discouraging supervisor from tangential assignment?

Subject: Discouraging supervisor from tangential assignment?
From: "Geoff Hart" <geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 09:36:09 -0500

Probably the most effective way to discourage a supervisor from
giving you tangential assignments is to screw up the assignments
big-time. Trust me; they won't ask you again. Of course, that's not
a good survival or promotion strategy, so you really want to use it
judiciously. <g>

I also once looked a manager in the eye, reminded him that I'd
been trying for several months to get him to spend 15 minutes
doing something really simple for me, and that gee, I'd love to help
him, but until he spent those 15 minutes on my behalf, I was going
to be far too busy trying to resolve the problem myself to take time
off for another project. He still didn't spend the 15 minutes, but
neither did I get burdened with the assignment. See previous
caveat; this guy was from an entirely different department and the
request was entirely unrelated to anything that might be construed
as my job. If it'd been my manager...

Facetiousness aside, I've also learned that whenever possible, it's
worth trying to stretch myself to take on new tasks and learn new
skills, even if it puts me a bit behind on other projects. I've earned
lots of good kharma that way, accumulated favors that could be
"called in" at a later date, acquired skills I'd never otherwise have
acquired, and made me progressively more indispensable to my
employer. I've also learned (slowly, painfully, and belatedly) to look
someone in the eye and say a polite "no", along with an
explanation of why (e.g., "I don't have those skills, and you don't
have the time for me to acquire them; if I do the job now, it's going
to be an amateur effort, and you really need something that works
right the first time").

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
"If you can't explain it to an 8-year-old, you don't understand it"--Albert Einstein

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