Whenever we have office parties — like birthdays, company picnics, or holiday events — I am always assigned to plan. I'm not the office manager, and there are plenty of other people with my same job title (and nowhere in our job description does it mention party planning). Yet, for some reason, it always falls to me. How can I get my boss to start assigning that role to someone else?
Find the positive in this situation and see if you can turn it into a career advantage. It’s entirely possible you are being asked to consistently provide the planning in your office for one or many of the following reasons: you’re organized, you’re efficient, you’re reliable, you’re good at multitasking, you’re creative, you’re innovative, or maybe you’re good at working within a budget. Depending on the complexity of the parties you’re planning, maybe you’re a great producer of content or maybe you infuse a sense of fun and originality into every special occasion you plan.
Ask yourself what feedback you get after each event and try to determine what positive qualities your boss values that lead her to repeatedly turn to you. Once you determine what those qualities are, think about what jobs exist in the organization that prize those characteristics. Imagine yourself doing those jobs. When you do, do you feel empowered? Like you’re working to your strengths? Your passions?
Maybe you have incredible organizational skills. What jobs in your company lean heavily on those qualities? Maybe you plan parties that are creative and unique. Is there a department in your company where original thinking is prized? Do your research and interview your coworkers in those departments. And if a different area seems like a better strategic fit for you, merchandise and sell yourself as the person who, in planning those amazing, memorable parties, discovered or refined a skill set that she thinks could best be applied in a different area of the company.
Or if staying in your current department is your goal, frame your skill set in a new way for your boss and suggest to her that the qualities she has seen in your party planning could be better used performing a different or expanded role within her department.
There are many ways to break out of the pack and get noticed at work. Yours may have been handed to you on a (cake) platter.
Christine Tardio is a trusted advisor and business coach to a dynamic range of women business leaders. She can be reached at thelookinglass.com.