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Other duties as assigned

Have you ever noticed a task listed under your job description called “other duties as assigned”? Have you ever questioned this during a job interview or your performance review? Probably not because when you’re interviewing for a job, you wouldn’t want to jeopardize your chances of getting hired. And during your performance review you wouldn’t want to say anything that could negatively affect your salary increase amount. Plus how bad could other duties be anyway?

So you nod your head and you smile and you say, “of course it won’t be an issue.”

So today I found myself stuck in a small meeting room with a whole bunch of flip chart paper and a couple of different coloured permanent markers. I had to do some prep work for a workshop that a third party is conducting for us. But I’m not the trainer and it’s not my session, so why did I have to do this again?

I spent a good hour in there doing kindergarten work. It required no part of my brain so I should have welcomed the break. But I had other things to do, other deadlines to meet. Not to mention that the fumes from the markers almost knocked me out. But don’t worry I’m alive! I neither got high nor passed out. Phew!

When I was in HR, I never cared. All it was to me was that we were covering our butts. By putting “other duties as assigned” as part of an employee’s job description, one the employee agreed to when he/she got hired, we made sure the employee could never come back and say, “it’s not part of my job description.”

I thought it was clever actually. If an employee ever complained, the answer would easily be, “Umm yeah, actually it is. It’s other duties as assigned.” I just love how HR is so clever that way. I’m smirking with amusement just thinking about it.

But wait. I’m on the other side now. I’m no longer in HR and I’m the one thinking, “What the heck? This isn’t what I signed up for.” Oh but it is. I’m constantly reminded by…well I won’t mention any names…but I’m reminded that anything and everything that is assigned to me is part of my job under other duties as assigned. Swell!

Don’t get me wrong. Playing with markers and pretending that I’m back in JK wasn’t bad at all. I’ve had worse. And I did welcome the break. I mean, our poor marketing admin had to stick 200 magnets at the back of 200 lapel pins the other day. Brutal. But someone had to do it right?

Yes, 4 years of post secondary education and we find ourselves performing other duties as assigned.

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