Every job I’ve ever had has included that infamous phrase “…and other duties as assigned.”
I don’t obsess over the fine print of my job description because I enjoy the diversity of the work and frankly doing whatever is necessary comes with the territory.
After 20+ years in local government I know from experience that few things go as planned or arrive on schedule so I’m used to rolling with the tide and taking advantage of opportunities whenever they surface, before launching myself head first into the next wave.
I’m sure some Personnel Manager came up with the phrase “other duties as assigned” after being called on the carpet for not having an answer to a disgruntled employee who claimed that they didn’t have to perform a particular task because it wasn’t specifically listed in their job description. Ah, the good old days when job descriptions really meant something.
In today’s uncertain workplace reality, we’re all so happy to have steady jobs that “other duties as assigned” are welcomed and considered a plus for job security. It’s when you stop getting asked to do something unexpected that you start to worry about your future with the organization.
So what was once a catch-all phrase for extra-curricular duties that was typically the last sentence in a job announcement has become the lead story for most City positions. There’s still plenty of experts and technical specialists that apply their trades for specific purposes every day but no City employee has the luxury of clocking in and clocking out with a one-task mindset anymore.
Even our City experts have to play the role of generalists in City government, and City employees are getting pretty good at bracing themselves each morning not really knowing what each day will throw at them. It takes a unique skill set to accommodate such a high level of ambiguity but that’s the challenge of working on the front lines, fighting the good fight on behalf of the community.
This topic of “other duties as assigned” is fresh in my mind because of that Irish Catholic guilt I feel when I see how long it’s been since my last blog post but I’ve been overcome by events, also known as — other duties as assigned. In addition to my day job as City Manager I’ve been pulling double duty as the Public Safety Director following Bill Lillich’s retirement, and with our Economic Development Director busy sending his cancer into remission I’ve had to pinch hit on a lot of economic development initiatives.
No complaints on my end but there’s only so many hours in the day and my other duties as assigned have left the blog posting high and dry. With a little summer break, I’m ready to try to jump back in the social media mix but if you don’t hear from me in a while, rest assured I haven’t forsaken you — I’m just busy doing other duties as assigned.
Thanks for your patience.