There are times when it’s frustrating to be a multipotentialite in a traditional work setting.
We tend to crave variety and many times that means we want to get involved in projects outside our job description or department. In these moments, it can be challenging to articulate to our managers or mentors how our variety of skills can benefit the company.
Sometimes our positions naturally evolve over time to incorporate more variety, but this doesn’t usually happen on its own. Luckily, there are ways we can advocate for ourselves and help others see the value in our multipotentiality.
How I designed the job I wanted
I found myself in this situation in January of 2018. My job title was Account Manager, and we’d just finished our super crazy holiday season. I’d been in the position for over a year and I loved working with my clients, but knew I had more to offer.
After speaking with my manager about some of my ideas for improvement and tasks I wanted to take on, I felt there was still a disconnect. I clearly wasn’t getting my message across the way I wanted to, because I could tell that he wasn’t seeing the value in my proposal.
As a systems and process oriented person, I had noticed gaps in our team and areas where our organization could improve. Due to the seasonal nature and size of the business, most of these improvements wouldn’t require a full-time person, but they definitely needed to happen. I needed to help my manager see how I was the perfect person to bring it all together.
I decided to create a job description that would encompass the tasks and projects I wanted to take on. By searching for job descriptions in these areas, I was able to piece together a multifaceted position that would fill the gaps I’d identified and provide me with new challenges.
Once I finished outlining the job I wanted, I created a resume that reflected all my skills in these areas and sent both documents to my boss.
In our next meeting we went through the job description and my resume. I was better able to articulate why I felt our organization needed someone working in these areas and why I was the perfect fit.
I could see the surprise on his face as he read through my resume, because it was completely different than the one I’d used to apply for my current position. (You know, because as multipotentialites we could all easily have at least five different resumes!) He had no idea I had all these other skills!
After talking through the job description and my skills, my manager was at least open to my ideas. We had more discussions about the possibilities over the next few months, and when creating our team projects for the year, my assignments were more in line with what I’d proposed.
The best part was that, as my projects succeeded, and my boss saw that I really could do what I said I could, my roles and responsibilities continued evolving. It took a full year, but this January I was offered a position that was very close to my original proposal!
For those of you thinking, “I want to do that!”
If you’re unhappy in your current position, and would like to try a strategy like mine, here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin:
- Is this a company or organization I want to grow with, or is it really time to start thinking about starting a job search?
- Is this a position I will enjoy, or do I simply see a need and want to do something new? We multipotentialites want variety, and sometimes take a change of scenery over stagnation—even when it’s not necessarily something we’ll love, or the direction we really want to grow in.
If you’re still totally stoked to write your own job description, here are some ways to get started:
Do your research
- Look for positions that are similar to the one you’d like to have, and simply update the language to fit what you’d like to do. Try to use any relevant terms or concepts that your company already uses internally.
- Look up the average salary or compensation is for similar positions, and come up with an amount that feels appropriate, that you can discuss with your manager.
- Think about who to approach with your ideas; who would be able to make these changes happen? It might be your direct supervisor or someone else in the organization. You’ll want to shape your proposal to fit any goals you know they personally have (meeting budgets, better customer service, alleviating a specific repetitive problem, etc.).
Present your proposal as a solution to a problem
- Think about how the changes you’re proposing would create value for your employer. Make sure that your proposal is demonstrating that value, so that they’ll be motivated to modify existing work structures for you.
- Show how you are the best person for the tasks or projects you’re advocating for. Make it clear that you’re the best person for the job: better than a new hire or someone else in an adjacent role. Shine up that resume or portfolio for the new role you’re asking for.
Not all companies will be open to employees reimagining their roles. But if you articulate the added value it will bring to the company and the reasons you’re the right person for the job, you might just end up with a position that’s far more in line with your multipotentialite nature.
And whether or not you give my strategy a go, just the process of thinking through your dream job description will help you better advocate for your multipotentialite self in the workplace!
Have you ever asked your boss if you could integrate “outside” skills into your job or vary your role in some way? What worked and what didn’t? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Annie Sisson is the founder and Travel Consultant at Beyond Reservations, helping people see the world on their way. She started this business from her love of travel and wizard-level organization and planning skills. (Thanks to Emilie‘s books and programs for helping me get clear on my ideas!) When she’s not traveling herself, photography, hiking, jewelry making, personal development, and puzzles are a few on the long list of interests. With her wonderful husband and little dog Lizzy, the mountains surrounding the Salt Lake Valley are a favorite playground. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. She’d love to hear from you!
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