Aurelia Flores: Doing the Crappy Jobs

Sometimes we get asked to take on a project in the work place that is just not fun – at all!

Now, I’m not talking about the times when your job is not fun anymore, nor am I talking about the jobs where the whole point is for the position to leverage you into a bigger role and most of the projects attributed to that initial job are crappy (both of those situations warrant their own article).

Rather, I’m talking about the times when a project comes across your desk and you just groan.  You really don’t want to take on the job, but you know it needs to get done.

Ok, let’s not lie.  Some of those crappy jobs go away if you delay long enough.  But that’s rare (unfortunately).  Usually, putting them off either just makes them bigger, or makes you look bad.

So, assuming we’re NOT going to procrastinate (hey, this is a career tips column – you didn’t think you’d get away with that, did you?), you’ve got a few options.

Get Help

If it’s a big job, perhaps you can convince one of your colleagues to help you with the project.  We all know that work – and particularly crap work – goes easier when it’s shared.  So if you can find a teammate who is willing to work with you on this, and someone who will motivate you to get it done, then by all means, pull in some help.

Use It As an Opportunity to Shine

Sometimes those crap projects that no one else wants to do are actually a potential to get noticed big time.  One of the women I interviewed for Powerful Latinas did just that.  Carmen Herrera was asked to complete a large job no one else within her company wanted to do.  She worked on it for months, and it ended up giving her a large amount of visibility within her company at the top echelons.  She was eventually able to leverage those relationships into a new job (at the same company) for herself!

In short, top executives knew Carmen could be counted on to get the job done, and do excellent work, even when the project was a less than desirable one.

Dive In and Get It Over With

There may be no other way to handle it.  Sometimes it’s not an opportunity for more visibility or to build relationships, nor is it the type of work you can enlist others to help you with.

But, like it or not, those jobs all come to us from time to time.  The sooner you start, the sooner you finish, and the quicker it will go away.

Whatever you do, you don’t want to do a crappy job yourself, let it linger, or whine and complain about it (too much).  Hey, if it’s a project that is a pain, you might need to vent a bit with a colleague or two, but be judicious and don’t share with those who will gossip and make you look bad.

We all get them.  How do you handle the yucky tasks?   What crappy jobs have landed on your desk recently, and how did you handle it?