Career Development

Succeeding at Your Job-within-the-Job

Not all job positions are defined as well as they should be, but you and (I hope) your boss get the gist of what your responsibilities are. However, to genuinely excel and enable yourself to keep climbing the career ladder, you also must work on your “job-within-the-job,” as Jesse Sostrin calls it in an article for strategy+business. This job-within-a-job consists of recognizing and responding to more context-sensitive work demands—the ones that others may not realize is your job to handle. Sostrin describes steps you can take to identify your job-within-a-job and highlight its importance to your boss.

The Hidden Work

Sostrin first says to ask yourself this series of two-part questions, the answers of which will outline the scope of your job-within-a-job:

  1. What single statement best describes your role?
  2. What single statement reveals your vital purpose to your team/organization?
  3. What tasks and activities absorb most of your time?
  4. Which of your contributions have the greatest value to your team/organization?
  5. What are the common obstacles that prevent your best work?
  6. What are the unexpected challenges of staying on purpose and delivering your value?

Once you have that clearer image of your true responsibilities and challenges, you must next determine if your boss or other relevant parties have as good an understanding of what you do. Or if you are the boss, you should work to learn if you really understand the goals and struggles your employees are having in their daily work.

When this understanding is established, you can then work together toward building a “mutual agenda.” A mutual agenda optimizes people’s ability to do their job and also their job-within-the-job. This ensures that everyone is contributing to the success of the business in the most effective way, and it also increases job satisfaction to know that work completed is making a genuine impact.

For additional thoughts, you can view the original article here:

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