“My boss asked me for a job description; should I be worried?”

Question: I have been in a new job for six months and work remotely. Today my boss asked me if I would please send him a job description for my position. Should I be worried? I’m not sure how to handle this. Thank you.   

San Diego, California

Answer: Dear Dee: It would seem to me that, unless you know something that you have not shared with me, what your boss has asked of you should not, in itself, be a cause for concern.          

1. Any number of reasons might exist for this request from your boss. So often we seem to automatically “default to fear” at work. Everyone is so concerned about job security – or, more precisely, the absence of job security – that fear arises where there is really no reason for fear. While fear of job loss is understandable, it is not helpful.

Your boss might have been required to assemble job descriptions by his or her boss. Your boss might have decided that it was a good discipline to know what each of his or her employees is supposed to be doing. Your boss might be planning on promoting people, and needs a list of covered duties to do that. Don’t speculate, don’t wonder, don’t fret. There’s no reason for it that we know of, and worrying won’t help, no matter what the reason may be.  

2. The simple answer to the question is “Just do it.” It is that simple. Unless it is immoral, improper or illegal, if your boss asks you to do something, you should attend to it. Just prepare the best, most comprehensive and clearest job description that you possibly can prepare, and deliver it to your boss promptly. Show confidence. Show competence. Show promptness.

3. Thinking positively, which is the only good way to think. You might consider this an opportunity to show your boss how much you do, and how valuable you are to him or her. I strongly suggest you see this as an opportunity to “toot your own horn” and make yourself appear extremely valuable to your boss. That’s what gives people job security: the perception of value to their boss. Show him or her that you help make him or her “shine” to his or her boss.

Your job description should be comprehensive, complete and clear, and should show that you are responsible for – if appropriate – (a) improved revenues FOR YOUR BOSS (both new revenues and cost reduction); (b) improved relations FOR YOUR BOSS (with his or her staff, supervisors, customers and clients); and (c) reputation OF YOUR BOSS (both inside the company and externally, as well.)

4. While it may, in fact, not be “good news” that is the source of the request, acting in this fashion can only make it “better news” than otherwise. You know, Dee, “you have to play the cards that you are dealt.” That said, it always pays to play your cards with positive spirit, with positive expectation, and with positive outlook. That’s what results, short term and long term, in a positive life, at work, and at home.

Thank you for writing in. Please consider telling others of our blog, and how we – hopefully – have given you a positive path forward.                                                               

Al Sklover

Repairing the World - 
One Empowered and Productive Employee at a Time ™

© 2011 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.