When I first started my journey in Corporate America I was a YES man. If someone needed something done or if I could help in anyway I would be the guy that was down for the challenge. I quickly learned that you cannot do everyone’s work or else you’ll be overwhelmed and fall behind on your projects. Of course I do believe you should help people out when you’re the subject matter expert. But putting yourself first is most important.
In the Corp world deadlines are EVERYTHING. Once you say this project will be done on this date that is what is expected of you. The hourglass has been flipped and the sand is sinking to the bottom of it. Since you are the project owner/leader you have to make sure everything is good on your home front first.
Something I started doing is scheduling time out of my day to focus solely on the projects I lead. The only time I’d prioritize a project in front of my own (once I knew better) was if that project was going to hold up production. Meaning my managers and upper management needed a quick turn around or if the project would keep the company from losing money.
So unless the managers or upper managers push for it always do yourself a favor and get your projects done ASAP. Typically something always goes wrong in a project so the quicker you progress the better chance you will have making your deadline even with setbacks. Worst case scenario a delay takes you past your deadline. If that’s the case at least you can let your managers/upper management know in a timely fashion and it won’t look as bad as finding out the day before a project is due.
Now I would never say don’t ever help your coworkers. You are all a team and should be helping out one another. I do think however you should help people strategically. When you help others it should be to build relationships and to put yourself in a situation for when you need help you have it. If you do something for a coworker and they never help you out in a timely fashion when you need it don’t be afraid to reciprocate the gesture.
Some and not all of your coworkers will use you to do their work for them. It may take a while for you to notice but as soon as you do either call them out on it or as I said earlier reciprocate how they treat you. If it becomes overbearing have a talk with your manager about it. If the project is high priority and they need you to set aside time to help do so. If it isn’t a high priority then your manager will more than likely let the person know your time is needed for other resources.
As always thank you for reading! Have any of you been taken advantage of at the workplace? If so how did you handle the situation. Please leave comments and let me know how it worked out for you.