What to Do When You're Given Tasks Above Your Experience Level
Courtesy Getty Images
Although taking on a new responsibility or challenge might be intimidating, it could be the perfect opportunity to develop new skills and show your growth potential. However, sometimes you may be asked to do something beyond your current experience level and feel like you’re in over your head.
What to Do When Given Tasks Above Your Experience Level
When these situations occur, you may not want to let your boss down, but you also don't want to bite off more than you can chew. To help, BioSpace has provided a guide detailing what to do when you're asked to do things above your experience level.
1. Ask Questions
The first step in taking on a new responsibility is to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for details like what the expectations are, what skills and knowledge are needed for the task and how long you will need to complete it. Asking questions shows that you are interested in learning more about the project and taking on the extra responsibility.
This also allows you to assess if this task is something you are capable of doing. If it becomes clear that the task is too much for you, it's okay to be honest about your abilities.
2. Offer Assistance Instead
Even if it turns out that a particular task is outside your experience level, you can still offer support and assistance. Offer to collaborate with a more experienced colleague or find resources to help you understand the task better.
If it's an area you have some knowledge in, use that as leverage to create a team project where you all work together to complete the task. By doing this, you will still be able to contribute and show that you're open to learning new things.
3. Take Your Time
It’s essential to ask for enough time to complete your task so you don't rush or feel overwhelmed. If it's a long-term project, make sure you set deadlines for yourself to stay on track.
It's also a good idea to be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to the task, as other obligations may need your attention too.
4. Ask About Other Opportunities
If it's clear that the task is outside your abilities, ask your manager if there are other opportunities for you to take on instead. This shows you are eager to add value to the team and prove your worth, even if you're not ready for the task at hand.
This could be taking on something you feel more confident in or even devoting your time to researching and staying up-to-date on the latest trends in your field of work. Exploring these options will help you gain new skills and increase your knowledge base.
If you are asked to take on a task beyond your experience level, it's okay to negotiate for whatever you need to complete the task. For example, if the task requires you to work overtime, you could ask for a temporary increase in pay or an extra vacation day.
Negotiating for something in return demonstrates that you value yourself and have the confidence to stand up for what you need. It also shows that you are not afraid to take risks and be assertive.
Do your research on what fair compensation should be for the work you're doing and make sure to keep that in mind when having these conversations. Be sure to only ask for extra compensation if the task warrants it. Otherwise, you risk your boss seeing you as selfish or unwilling to help the team.
6. Know Your Limits
There's no sense in letting your extra tasks consume every aspect of your life. Don't let yourself burn out and be sure to take care of yourself in the process.
Understand that you are not obligated to accept the task and risk losing track of other responsibilities.
Taking on a responsibility that goes outside of your experience level can be scary. But by following these steps, you can handle the situation with confidence and learn valuable skills in the process.
Ask questions, offer support, take time to complete the task, inquire about other opportunities, negotiate compensation and don’t push yourself too far. With a little bit of preparation and the right attitude, you can make sure that you're comfortable with any task that comes your way.
Being in control of your workload is essential to your success and well-being. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide if a task is something you're capable of doing or not. Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
Being in control of your workload is essential to your success and well-being. So take the time to evaluate each request carefully and ask yourself what you are willing and able to do. If a task falls within those parameters, then go for it—just remember not to overwhelm yourself in the process.
- The Best Life Science Careers for the Future of the Industry This will open in a new window
- No Ph.D., No Problem: BioPharma Companies Welcome Candidates with Only a Bachelor’s Degree This will open in a new window
- The Top Programming Languages to Learn in the Life Sciences This will open in a new window