On delegating but not being allowed to "manage"

I delegate, but I do not manage. That's what the dotted line on the org chart means. And frankly, I'm not sure it's the best arrangement for any of us.

One of the things about being a twenty something in the early years of your career is that you don't have a lot to leverage. Looking for positions, most of us are only able to seek out the ones that say "3 to 5 years of prior experience necessary" because frankly that's all we have. I still remember seeing that and thinking "but how do I get that experience if no one takes a chance on me?" Alas, someone did. As a result, these jobs are generally at the lower end of the pay scale with fewer responsibilities and little room for management.

As a young career woman, I worked my butt off and was finally promoted last winter. It was a job I had already been doing for almost a year by then and therefore a promotion much deserved, if I do say so myself. With that promotion came the "opportunity" to oversee and delegate work to the person we hired to fill my former role. While I appreciate the additional responsibility and opportunity to beef up my resume, I didn't anticipate the challenges to come.

As a result, I now feel more stressed and overworked than I did before. The major flaw in this setup is that while I can send e-mails saying "hey, can you please do such and such by this date? Thanks!" I can't actually say "hey, this really sucks that you're not replying to my emails and not getting the work to me by the date I asked and answering myspace quizzes when you could be doing work." Instead, I have to talk to my boss who then will talk to said assistant who then may work a little harder at completing the next task.

So, what's the bottom line? Some new grads are not ready for an office job. They're just not and that's okay. Some need a bit of time to sort out there lives, figure out their priorities and understand what having a career really means. Because to me, that first job out of college meant working my butt off to complete my assigned tasks to the best of my abilities. To others, the tasks seem more like suggestions than necessity.

A career is a path upon which your work experience leads you. But a job is a job: something you can leave at work when you head home at night. As an educated, independent individual, you have the opportunity to choose whether it's time to begin that career or get a job to keep the bills paid for the time being. So when graduation hits, it's time to evaluate if you're ready to commit yourself to an organization and start the journey that is your career or if you still need time to figure things out. The following are my tips to the new grad who is contemplating the real world and their upcoming career.

Work hard for the money, so hard for the money.Your paycheck does not walk right into your bank account for no sweat, grunt work or diligence to your job. This isn't Hot Dog on a Stick anymore where you can sigh and ask if they want fries and ketchup with that while you have a big ole frown plastered on your face. Your paycheck is a result of the work you have done for the benefit of your company. Said company is not paying you to update your social networks and listen to your fav itunes and take as many early afternoons off after a late meeting for nothing in return. No, you WORK and therefore, you GET PAID.

Communication is key. When someone asks you a question in an e-mail, it's important to respond. There is no such thing as too much feedback or communication when you're working on a project with someone. I'm not your mother and therefore I would prefer you responding to my e-mails so I do not have to come to your desk and ask if you can do said task or if you even read my email.

It doesn't have to be perfect to build your resume and your experience. Understand that while this may not be the perfect job that fits your passion in life, it is a spring board to the place you want to get to. Leverage that opportunity and do the job to the best of your ability until you move on to one you enjoy more.

You get out of it what you put into it. If you decide that you do in fact want to coast through acquired job with as little effort, grunting, sweat and tears as possible, please do NOT expect a positive job referral when the time comes that you do figure out your passion and move on to a new company. Because today, this job, this task, is what matters for the future of your career.

And as a note to self, take a chill pill or else you might not make it through this sanely. Understand that not everyone has good communication skills or prior office experience. Do not let someone else's inexperience ruin multiple Fridays. Fridays are your favorite, so savor them. Go and brush your shoulders off. And finally, stop doing the work that you should be delegating, but won't because you don't trust it will be done in time or correctly as shown from past examples. This is not helping those who need the experience and the opportunities to grow and learn as you once needed.


Britni said…
I found my last job (first job out of college) was the perfect first out of college job experience wise. Now I'm a project "manager" but I can't really manage people even though I really do. It's a tough line no to cross.

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