05/18/2012 04:08 pm ET Updated Jul 18, 2012

'That's Not My Job' Days Are Over: Ask Noah

Q: Very recently at work, I've noticed a tendency in my supervisor to unload some of the "busy work" he's technically responsible for. I'd love to believe he's testing me for a promotion by delegating new responsibilities my way. However, I can't help but feel a little used. How should I handle this? Should I have a talk with him?

A: Let's keep it real. The average employee is frequently asked to stretch his/her workload far beyond that of the original job description. This is a systemic function of our modern workplace. Companies want employees to work more, for less money. I don't envision this changing anytime soon!

If there aren't any union rules, which regulate a set-standard with which your supervisor needs to comply, there isn't a ton you can do. I sense a pride in the work you turn in, so it doesn't appear you want to be outwardly resistant either.

The truth is, a benefit of being a supervisor is getting to (unload) delegate one's work onto others! In a perfect world, they do this to focus on macro issues. In a less than perfect world, they do this to focus on their golf game. Your supervisor's motives are unknown. There is no point in pretending to be a mind-reader.

As far as having a conversation with him, I think we are too early in the game for that. Bringing complaints to your supervisor won't make him or any other person in higher management see you as "future leader" material. Especially if he is indeed prepping you for a promotion.

My advice right now is to remain willing and flexible to complete these new responsibilities, staving off resentments that may be felt. Do not create a problem based on temporary discomfort. Concentrate on excelling first, and let's see what comes of it.

Let logic be a guide and allow a little bit of time to pass before considering your next move.

Thanks for the question, and write me in a couple of months to update me on how the situation has evolved.

Have a profitable and peaceful week,


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