We regularly hear that going the extra mile will make you stand out in the crowd. It’s a valuable way of getting noticed by the decision makers in your organization. Customers and bosses appreciate people who are willing to step up and tackle additional assignments. It can be very tempting to say yes to every request you get. Take care before you jump into something that is above and beyond your normal duties. If you bite off more than you can chew you will actually do damage to your reputation and career.
So when is it a good idea to take on something extra? Ask yourself these questions before you jump in:
- Can I handle this in addition to everything else?
- Will it help me get needed experience?
- Who else is going to be involved? (Will there be people I would like to get to know involved?)
- What additional visibility will it give me in my organization?
- Why am I being asked to get involved? (Is this being dumped on me or will it help me?)
If you can answer these questions in a positive way, then by all means get involved. It will do your career a lot of good to get new experiences and be seen by others throughout your organization. Having a chance to meet new people and learn about other parts of the organization is very valuable.
When you look at questions above and if the answers are negative, decline to get involved in a respectful and professional manner. If your current workload is too high to handle an extra assignment make sure you explain that you want to give your best all you do so you have to focus on what you already have to do. There will be times when you have to take on the extra work even though you are overloaded and overwhelmed.
In the event that you are going above and beyond your normal duties and things are slipping address the problems immediately. You may need to do one of the following items:
- Request an extension on a due date that you will be hard pressed to make.
- Get help with some of the tasks you have to complete.
- Work longer hours or work on the weekend to get it all done.
- See if the priority of an item can be lowered to make sure you have time for other tasks.
Getting in over your head is tough and can be very discouraging. How you handle it will make a big difference in how your boss views your abilities. Stepping up to fix the situation will help them see you as a problem solver. When things are starting to slip go to your boss with a calm, professional assessment of the situation and bring some ideas of how you can get it resolved. Have them help you figure out the best approach. They may be able to push something back or get you help. Asking in a professional manner will do more for you than whining about what is asked of you.
Going the extra mile is great for your career. Make sure you don’t get lost on that road and lose sight of what needs to be done. Taking on extra work only helps you if you keep up with your normal duties.