Not Your Job

Parkinson’s Law is in full effect.

You may feel like you are at capacity, but much of what occupies your time is filler. It is unnecessary, it may not be worth the time, or it may fall outside your scope of authority or expertise.

This filler work is not your job, but you do it anyway. You accumulated it because it feels better to chase shiny objects than to subject each new initiative to rigorous critique.

With impending dips in enrollment, membership, and therefore funding, we will soon need to cut back. Before you get there, know where you can create capacity without adding more people - or where you can get comparable results for your employer with half the work.

Map out all the things that occupy your time, and use the following filters to determine what you need to unload. If you answer “yes” to anything, start cutting:

  • Are you doing work that should belong to students?

  • Are you duplicating the work of another department?

  • Is someone else professionally trained in the necessary skills?

  • Does someone else have more expertise in the subject area?

  • Are you doing work that does not directly contribute to the department’s objectives?

  • Do you prioritize work you like doing over work that is needed?

  • Would a different approach generate a greater return on your efforts?

  • Do you take on work that falls within someone else’s responsibilities?

  • Do you make decisions that fall outside your legal or positional scope of authority?

  • And specifically for campus professionals, do you forget that your job is to make a better university, not better fraternities and sororities?