I have to do that?

There are some things that our role requires us to do, that we’d really rather not do. Not the morally dubious or pointless busy-work, but tasks that have fallen to you and need doing with good reason. Not a reason you like or necessarily agree with, but a good reason nonetheless.

Perhaps the tasks feel below your pay grade? Or above your pay grade.

They’re not a good use of your skillset or don’t develop the skills you want.

They feel like you’re stepping back in your career? They’re not taking your career where you want, even if it their completion means progress.

The last point, especially, can come up if you bounce between large and small organisations. In a large organisation with defined roles and boundaries, the type of work you’ll do is pretty clear relative to others. The path ahead is pretty well mapped. In a small company you do what’s gotta be done, if you’re the person that is able to do it when it’s needed. Often liberating, occasionally maddening. You do have options when you step back, though.

  • Change your role so that you spend less time on these kinds of tasks, which might mean moving on.
  • Change the system so that these tasks are automated, eliminated, or executed elsewhere, which could mean even more work on your part.
  • Change the timeframe you’re using to measure value, which will mean putting aside immediate grievances.

Even if you have to do something you don’t want to, you have agency. Focus on that.

ps. Thinking ‘I have to’ vs ‘I get to’ will come another day… :^)

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