Your Boss Wants You To Be Better at X

Imagine that you use a piece of software as part of your work, but it’s not what you consider the core of what you do. You consider yourself competent with the software and you don’t see a lot of gain from learning any more. What do you do?

I like this riddle. Most of the time we complain about the lack of feedback, the lack of suggestions on how we can do better and be worth more. Then we get a suggestion and don’t like it!

A good start is to ask “why”? Followed by “how”? How will this help me at my current job (or the next one). Why do you think I need to learn this (as opposed to that)? Then you still have the problem – do you buy into the logic and if not, do you do it anyway?

If you’re not going to do it, plan your future carefully, right now. The best option is to negotiate, set a smaller goal, but preferably a different goal that more closely aligns with what you want to do. Otherwise at that next review you’re going to try to make the case for a raise after not doing what was asked/suggested of you.

It takes experience to understand that sometimes – even often – we don’t know what we need to do to move to the next level. We can’t see that investing some time in something that seems off the straight line path to our current goal is worth doing. There’s a bit of Karate Kid mantra here, wax on and wax off. Sometimes you have to do before you can know.

Don’t discard suggestions lightly. It could be the boss is a quack, but I’d bet on the side that see a weakness in your game and they are giving you the gift of telling you how to fix it.