I don’t care who you are, I can sum up your job description in four words: help your boss succeed. That’s it; that’s all you have to do.

Your boss’s performance is measured by how well she achieves her goals or performance milestones. Since you work for her, chances are pretty darn good that something you do is a factor in her own metric. I’ll even go so far as to say that at least part of your overall performance is gauged by by that self-same something. If it’s not, it should be.

I can’t promise that you’ll always get the credit you think you deserve or that your boss won’t exploit your service. That stuff happens sometimes, as much as I wish it didn’t. I’d bet a pretty penny, though, that if you DON’t help her succeed–and especially if your performance impedes her success–you’ll stay stuck where you are for a long time.

The next time your boss calls to check the status of a project, think about why it could be important to her. If you’ve got other projects that are competing for your attention, tell your boss so she can give you advice on which one should come first. After that, if your boss has to call you a second time, you’d better recheck your priorities and start cranking. A third time? Run for cover.

This isn’t about office politics or kissing up; this is real life. If it’s important to your boss, it should be important to you. If her success depends on it, then so does yours. If you think, “It’s not my job,” I say, “Oh yes, it is.”

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