What is Expected?

Do You Know What’s Expected of You? 

Did you ask?  I’ve had conversations with so many people that goes something like this.  “Sally got promoted, not me.  What’s the deal? I’ve contributed so much more than she has!” or “I just don’t know what else my boss wants from me, I did everything I could think of on this last project, and still, it wasn’t enough.” or “I’m afraid I’m going to be let go, I think I’ve done what they wanted, but I just don’t know.”

My response is always the same, “Did you ask?”

“Well, no, they should just tell me, shouldn’t they?  Won’t they let me know if they want me to do something else?” 

Not necessarily.  They may not think to do that.  Do you really want to leave your career in the hands of another, even if it’s your boss?  Whether you are starting a new job, or have been working for awhile, it is important to know with absolute clarity what is expected of you.  Know your performance objectives.  Never assume.  Always know.  Even better, get it in writing, even if you have to write it!  You want to be clear (as clear as you can) about how your performance and success will be measured and evaluated.

At the beginning of a job, or a project, I recommend you ask what is expected. I know, it sounds so simple when I write it out like this.  Ask your boss, the one who writes (or authorizes) your paychecks, what does she want to see?  What outcomes or results does she expect? What information does she want you to provide along the way? 

Any good boss will be grateful you initiated this conversation.  It will be one less thing for him to worry about.  He will be free to just tell you what is needed, wanted, expected from his view.  He will feel supported, encouraged, relieved. 

So how do you do this? One way is for you to take the time to write down what you believe your performance objectives are for the year.  Then schedule a meeting with your boss and confirm your list.  Once you know your objectives, you can ask questions about how you’re doing so far.  You can also do a self-assessment of your performance.  But you’ll be armed, with concrete information about what is expected of you. 

If you want a promotion, ask your boss what you need to do to get one. 

Take the initiative, take control.  Find out what is expected, without guesswork. And earn their trust in the process.

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I hired Lori because I was feeling stuck in my job and needed to find a career that was more rewarding, more challenging, and more suited to me.  In the arts, it's difficult to find a job you enjoy that also pays enough to live on, but Lori helped me do just that! 

As we worked together, Lori always helped give me that extra nudge when I was having trouble taking the next step toward success and acknowledged and applauded me when I accomplished something that I'd been struggling with. 

Thanks to Lori, I got out of my 8-year rut at the same job and discovered a new career I love that brings me all of the things I want in a job--creativity, variety, challenge, learning, flexibility, teamwork, and cake.  With no professional experience but a desire to learn, Lori helped me find ways to become a cake decorator--first on my own and then, eventually, at a reputable cake shop.  Now, something I used to do just for fun has become something I make my living doing, and each workday flies by!

Emily Sweeney, Chicago, IL