When you work really hard, it’s wonderful to get recognition. Sometimes, that recognition comes in the form of more work and more projects without benefit or financial reward. Have you ever been in the situation where you have volunteered to do something extra, found it involved a tremendous amount of work beyond your job responsibilities and you got stuck doing the same type of work for the same people over and over again?
For example, I’ve had clients take on the project of organizing a company event. This type of event takes someone with organizational and management skills. After all, you are working with vendors and a team of volunteers that need to contribute their talent and time as well. In reality, when all is said and done and the event is a success perhaps you are recognized at the meeting and given a round of applause. And then next year, they tell you that they would be so incredibly pleased if you took on the role of organizing the event again; and then again and perhaps again.
It feels good to know that you did such a great job! They want you back. But how does this repeated invisible type of work help your career? You are stuck unless you can say no and say no in a savvy way.
Being the “go to person” may seem admirable at first. The praise can detract you from the reality that a “go to person” is a doer not a leader. Volunteering for the project the first time makes sense. Continuing to do this type of work, does not make sense if you are interested in furthering your career. So on the one hand; you receive compliments on a job well done. However, the down side is your reputation as a potential leader suffers.
What to do?
Accept the praise for a job well done. Suggest someone else be given the next opportunity and offer to train a team member highlighting the notion that it would be to their benefit to have this (which is valid).
But whether it’s an assignment or ongoing project, don’t get stuck being the “go to person”. Think strategically about how best to use your skills and where you can add value to the organization. Think strategically about how you can leverage the results of this project to create more visibility and credibility with key stakeholders, not as the “go to person”, but a leader.