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Figuring Out What I Do. . .Took 16 Pages

March 30, 2015

It started as a simple list on a piece of paper. I was trying to compile a list of what I do, for my new manager. That doesn’t sound too difficult does it? I realized my job fell into nine categories.

  1. Dealing with Service Interruptions
  2. Handling Internal Service Tickets
  3. Dealing with Change Orders
  4. Handling Service Tickets from our client
  5. Design Work
  6. Project Work
  7. Launching New Lines of Business and sites
  8. Attending Meetings
  9. Training

Then I started expanding each category to try to capture the full breadth of scope for each topic. Dealing with Service Interruptions involves interruptions caused by our engineers/systesm and outages caused by USAA systems and engineerings. We approach the two scenarios differently. Each had to be documented. 

I found that the more I wrote the more I remembered. I didn’t really think my list of job tasks was all that long. Getting into this role definition document, I felt like it kept going and going. 

The details of my document aren’t important to you. Much of it is very job-centric. But, what about your job? Do you know what’s expected? Does your boss understand what your role it? Last week I talked about having to inform 58 people when I went on vacation (An Overinflated Opinion Of My Importance.) It’s no wonder I had to inform so many, my job spans multiple departments. 

I knew all of it, of course. But, there is value in laying it all out in a single document. So, now what? What is my next step after seeing that I do way too much to get it all done well? 

The most valuable portion of the document was the Solutions section. I looked at the various tasks I had and say, “What would help get this task accomplished quicker?” Sometimes it was having another person to share the load. Other times, there was not really any way to take responsibilities away from me. Doing so would violate one of the two guiding principles I came up with. 

Be where the client is: If my counterpart is involved with our company at any level, I need to be right beside her. 

Keep the engine running: Our call floor is the economic engine that drives the rest of our company. If we have agents not taking calls, it can mean that we miss our availability goal and have to pay a penalty. It also means that we are not billing for the calls we aren’t taking. My job is to keep the engine running as efficiently and as close to 100% capacity as possible.

This document went to both my new manager and the head of the team I work the most with. It will become the basis for defining my role. I knew these discussions were taking place. I also knew that if I wanted a say in how my job was going to be defined, I needed to seize the opportunity to help shape my own destiny. 

You might want to consider writing out your job responsibilites. It’s a fascinating exercise. And if it totals to 16 pages, you might want to consider recommending some adjustments. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild. 
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