I find it difficult to proceed with a task if I don’t know what’s expected of me, in fairly clear, discrete terms. Right now at work I wear a lot of different hats, the specific responsibilities for each only vaguely defined. In the same day I may be creating sales presentations, ordering server licenses, managing the help desk, updating financials, doing a client account review, perform on-site service, and providing mentorship to junior employees. Those may not be large or difficult tasks in and of themselves, but switching gears so much during the day really wrecks my productivity and elevates my stress in a big way.
The situation at work has gotten more complicated with the addition of new employees, most of whom have done things very differently than how our corporate structure demands. There’s confusion and friction, and I spoke to my boss about it on Friday. I wanted to let him know that I was planning on taking some time off in January or February, and that I felt like I was burning out.
We talked a little about my responsibilities, and I gave him my perspective that while being involved in all of those areas of the business is fine, it’s actually performing all of those separate tasks that is so taxing and frustrating. After that he seemed to understand more clearly what I was talking about, instead of just complaining of having a nebulous “too much to do.”
Separate from my boss I have a new supervisor, and he came in at the end of the day and asked me to write up a job description for what I wanted to do. I know what my ego wants to do, but realistically I want to help the organization move forward. I really enjoy looking at metrics and productivity and processes and figuring out how to pre-solve the problems of six months or a year down the road. Admittedly I’m not that great at looking at today’s problems.
Just at this one company I’ve seen my role shifted significantly over the past three years. I started out with the title of “Senior Engineer,” largely on the weight of my experience in the field and managing my own IT firm. I ran the West Coast division, and we expanded. I took the title “Director of Operations” because it more closely fit what I thought my role could be – inward-focused, managing people and process, rather than directly dealing with clients.
I think my boss and my supervisor have two different visions for where they want me to be and what they want me to do when our department expands further, and/or leadership changes happen. One wants me to manage everything, the other wants me to guide and assist in everything. They may sound similar, but the reality is that they are very different positions and those responsibilities are exceedingly different when it comes to day-to-day activities.
Right now I see my greatest value to the team is knowledge. Whether it’s about the internal systems set up by corporate for our use, information on clients and their networks, or experience working with a nation-wide organization, I feel like I’m a big bank of information waiting for requests. Not that my days aren’t filled with other tasks, but when I do have a brief moment to myself, that’s what it feels like.
The week ahead is excessively hectic, as have been the past several, and I hope I can help get the team on a positive and productive track for 2018. I want our help desk to grow, I want our engineers to grow, and I suppose for myself, I want to feel useful, secure, and valued. Right now I don’t really have any of the three.
Maybe I’ll talk again with my boss about my proposed job description, once I’ve written a rough draft at some point this week, and see how we can make it jive with what the supervisor wants (and/or override him with our own agreement).