In part 1 and 2 of our talk with Executive Author, Jane Lin, we discussed the
In this final part, we migrated our conversation from job search to on the job success. We don’t always have the ideal job. Sometimes we have to take jobs just to make sure we can pay the mortgage or rent. In these cases, does this mean we put on career on hold until we find another job? Jane’s advice is no. Even with a less than ideal job, you have the power to make it more and progress your career. How? Go beyond your job description!
- Most job descriptions are inaccurate anyways
- As long as you meet the core requirements of your job, you can use free time to explore other areas where you want to work by finding ways to help
- Most companies will appreciate the extra effort you make
In this conversation (10 min) with Jane, she shares her story of a less than ideal job she had and how she was able to go beyond her limited job description as a project manager and make it into a meaningful job that progressed her career in marketing. You can also read the audio transcription below
Your comments: Does this help you go beyond your job description? any question for me or Jane? Leave your comment below and let’s have a discussion.
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Audio Transcription – Go Beyond Your Job Description (10 min)
Lei: So I’m curious, this is a lot about looking for the job and getting the right amount of that sort of it is what you think you’re worth for salaries. Do you have an example? And I don’t know if you do, but of when you’re on the job like are there ways to be, I still I have this nagging thing I feel like a lot of times we’re in a job and we sort of go well that’s our job description so, I’ll have to stay within that. But it sounds like there’s a bit of that mentality that we could use on our jobs as well. To say hey, I know this is my job, but I could do more. And when do you make that decision to do more?
Lei: And have you, I mean I’m sort of leading the interview here, but I’m just curious whether when you said that does it apply to when you’re already on a job, as well, and how you look at your role and sort of changing your role as you see it to be.
Jane: It definitely does, it’s not something, it’s a mentality, so you can apply it to really anything. Whether it be even, it may not even be career related, but I think yeah in this sense I think that yeah. From the question you’re asking, I think in my experience, there have been examples, and one that, the first comes to mind is when I was working for a very large internet retailer. I came in as a contractor, just on a very brief, three-month engagement where I was brought on as a project manager. This was something more of, personally it was more of just something that I wanted to initially kind of give me some time to decide what I wanted to do next in my career. And so I thought, okay well, yeah I’ll come in project manager of this project. It’ll be a pretty short engagement and then I’ll be out of there. But, during the time that I was there, I started to explore with some of the people who I was working with, what they were doing in customer centric marketing because the topic of customer centric marketing has always been a theme throughout my career and work that I’ve done in my career, as well as my passion and in what I do. And so…
Lei: They didn’t hire you for that?
Jane: No, no.
Lei: They just hired you for project manager?
Jane: For project management.
Lei: And you kind of actually found an opportunity it sounds like–
Jane: Well, it wasn’t even really an opportunity yet. It was more of just I started to ask questions about the way that they were doing things in terms of the way that they operated within marketing. And what they had done in terms of this specific, in terms of the area of database marketing and customer centric marketing. Which is of course, as a big part of my experience.
Jane: And so through just sort of asking the questions and discovering where they were at and some of these gaps that could be filled and opportunities. It just, it was inspiring to me, and I started to just sort of develop some ideas and put ideas together into presentations and out of nobody asking me to do this, but it was an opportunity that I thought that the company could really benefit from.
Lei: Wow, okay..
Jane: And so…
Lei: You’re almost like found an opportunity, proposed it to them.
Jane: Yeah, yeah.
Lei: Then did you end up work on it?
Jane: Yeah , so this three months of a contracting position turned into three years.
Lei: Oh, and you went from being a project manager to being sort of marketing?
Jane: To leading this effort of…
Lei: Marketing, oh wow.
Jane: Yeah, well for that specific area of this type of marketing.
Lei: Awesome, now did you when you were asking questions to marketing, and trying to uncover these gaps and stuff. Was that part of your project management role that you were already doing with the?
Lei: You just kind of had a passion and you started finding people and you’re like wait, tell me more about this kind of almost it’s on the like it’s on the side thing.
Jane: Yeah, I mean I was already working within the department, like the marketing group, but my role was.
Lei: For other reasons.
Jane: Right, My role was project management coming in.
Lei: And how did people take the fact that you were asking questions was kind of not in your role?
Jane: Well I think they got excited too because it wasn’t so much, I think this company was also is very, is a very innovative company. So, the culture there was that they would be very open to new ideas. But even if that’s not always the case, I think if you approach it as not that you’re trying to encroach on any new work. Its more—
Lei: Like show that you know better, but more that you’re just trying to figure out a better way to help the company.
Jane: Well, and it’s more like I think if it helps them come up with new ideas, everybody wins, because these ideas don’t tick off of one person. And if the people who I’m working with see value in it too, then everybody sort of rallies behind it and there’s this exciting new opportunity to pursue, which then turned out to become much bigger than myself.
Jane: But, the department, the company became organized around this sort of customer centric marketing and so it was very…
Lei: That’s awesome.
Jane: Humbling to just, yeah, see kind of how–
Lei: You said humbling?
Jane: Yeah, kind of how this one little takes off and can become something much bigger than myself.
Lei: Right, you just happen to have a passion, it’s interesting you said you were almost kind of using it as a stopover while you’re thinking about your career.
Lei: And you’d ended up creating a career move—
Lei: In the role?
Lei: Instead of looking for something else because you saw the company was open to it. You had a skill to help, and you brought them the idea , but kind of let them take off with it if they accepted it.
Jane: Right, right, and I mean of course it had a lot to do with the great people who I was working with as well and that they were also passionate about the topic and took it like it kind of just went from a very small group and grew organically to a much larger initiative that many people were behind and spearheaded, and so.
Lei: Wow that is awesome. Those are great stories.
Lei: I guess final thoughts, just I think you’ve already said a little bit about what are the things that we got that limits ourselves. I really love this theme because I think that we’re sometimes not even aware of the inner dialogue that limits us and I mean I guess there’s a lot of people who comes to my blog. There are some people who are just coming out of college, there are some people who are 15 years in their careers and they have said this to themselves maybe for the last 15 years and maybe have stopped themselves. I guess what they don’t have to just start from the beginning and say let’s say you’re talking to someone that’s spent 10 years, and they could go further. But they sort of kind of are where they are. What would you say to them? From this experience, these experiences that you had.
Jane: Yeah I’d say that it’s really what, you will always, even if you do have self-doubts or thoughts of where you feel like if you’re stuck in a certain, at a certain level, but if you choose to shoot beyond what you think you’re even capable of you will become that. And if you believe that you can do it, then you will do it. That’s at least the first step and there’s a lot more that goes into it and you actually have to work really hard to get yourself to your vision or your hopes and dreams. But it has to start with believing in yourself and believing that you can, so yeah.
Lei: I have one zinger question for you. Has there ever been, these have all been great successful stories of you going after it and then it worked out. What, are there times where you did go after it and I don’t need specific examples necessarily, but it didn’t work out?
Lei: and then what did you say to yourself?
Jane: So, definitely there has been times where that’s happened.
Lei: I mean you can give an example if you’d like, but I’m just saying.
Jane: Yeah there’s been times where so the same scenario of say for instance the salary negotiations happened and I threw out a ball park and they said “No, sorry this just is much higher than what our range for this role is”. And I said okay, well I appreciate your time and thanks. And then I moved onto the next one.
Jane: Because I don’t think I would have been happy there if they, if they at this point, because I had the experience and known at this point what I can do, or what sort of what I’ve coached myself to do. That I wouldn’t want to just settle for something that maybe I thought was good enough, but maybe I can do better. So just keep trying.
Lei: Awesome, this is awesome. Thank you so much for your time.
Jane: Thank you Lei.