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I am not able to do all the tasks, including some major ones, related to the job description of my position, such as finishing and submitting reports on time,  because I’m assigned to help in this or that project in other sections or departments.

Frequently, my boss’ boss directs me to do some projects for her and makes me report to her directly.  I am very tired at the end of a 9-hour work day such that I’m not much of a husband to my wife and a father to our 3-year old son.  I need to work even on Saturdays.

Yes, my celfon has to be on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Should I say “no” to these added assignments and just concentrate on doing the tasks required of my position?  How will this affect my boss’ performance evaluation of me?  How will this affect my career?

Mr. Exhausted


You are unhappy about the add-on assignments and projects you are made to do and the projects given to you by your boss’ boss which make it difficult for you to do the other tasks required of you by your position.  Yet you are wondering whether saying “no” to doing these added assignments and projects, will affect your career.  If you say “no” to these additional tasks and projects, or give them low priority, you are jeopardizing your own career in your organization.

The way you describe your situation, it’s very likely that you are being deliberately s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to find out whether you are capable of more and greater responsibilities.  You are evidently considered a high potential person (HPP or hipot) and are being developed, thru these additional assignments, for a higher position.

While your potentials and capabilities are being actualized/expressed thru these additional assignments, your superiors (e.g., your boss and boss’ boss) are also observing your attitudes towards additional challenges and responsibilities.  Do you willingly and cheerfully accept these added responsibilities and do them well, on top of your current functions?  Or do you begrudge your boss’ boss and complain about these added responsibilities which is what you are doing now?

Giving a hipot additional and challenging assignment is a developmental tool to gauge their readiness to handle the challenges and responsibilities of a higher position and, additionally, to still deliver a consistently high performance.  You cannot say “no” to these additional tasks if you value your employment, or if you want to be in the talent pool in your organization.

Companies nowadays are fast tracking their HPP for leadership positions.  They have a talent pool which is made up of the HPP who are consistently good performers, who always exceed expectations, who are eager to learn and to contribute by taking on additional assignments and projects, who are motivated by challenges, have high achievement drive and live the corporate values.  Every year, the talent pool is reviewed; some of the names are removed from, while new ones are added into, the pool.  When vacancies in middle, senior and executive positions occur, they choose from those in the talent pool the ones with promising records and promote them to these higher positions.

Let me tell you that the practice among most companies is not to tell the HPP that they are in the talent pool, or that they are on a fast track career path.  This is being done so as not to raise expectations.  The hipots just sense that they are being developed because they are given developmental assignments, coaching and mentoring (in which a star performer is paired with a senior manager who is not his supervisor.)  Your boss’ boss, I believe, is trying to see if she could mentor you.  A mentor is an expert in a functional area.  Sometimes an HPP has two or more mentors.

Other developmental interventions include cross-functional assignments, performance feedback, being sent to attend training programs usually outside of those given in-house, or made to take graduate degree programs in an educational institution, at the organization’s expense.

Your problem of not being able to do some of your tasks (including some major ones) and working long hours, including working on Saturdays, can be addressed by time management.  The additional assignments given to you and the projects your boss’ boss give you should be considered as part of your major tasks now.  There are very good books on time management which can help you.

Make a list of all the tasks that you have to do, and prioritize them with the help of your boss.  Devote your prime time each day to doing the tasks according to agreed-on priorities.

Realize and accept that being fast-tracked along a management career path has costs on the amount and quality of time with your family, and with yourself.  This is an area that you and your spouse must discuss between yourselves and come to mutual agreement.

God bless you.


Josie Santamaria