I'm a college student, working at a company near my university. I worked on the IT team, helping coordinate projects - and it was going quite well before my semester kicked up. Once classes were in full-swing, my hours had to shift rather dramatically to compensate. I'm an hourly employee, and my manager communicated that we would make it work - though it wasn't ideal.

Right before a weekend, I had a one-on-one with him (regularly occurring) where we were discussing future plans (such as me eventually transitioning to a different role, etc) and discussed my future schedule (since I had made accommodations for greater work availability in my coming semester). Things seemed peachy.

I returned the morning after the weekend, and my manager called me to another meeting - a bit foreboding - at which point he informed me that I was going to be let go with a recommendation to re-hire when my schedule was less difficult.

I know that we were going to potentially acquire a couple new members for our team, and I feel as though I got the boot because we ended up being over-quota or something (and I was probably least productive given my difficulty syncing up with others' schedules).

Now I'm potentially accepting a part-time position at the same company in a different role (different team, perhaps even more to my abilities and far better for my schedule) and I'm worried about how to keep things separate: I don't want to fall back into the same role I was working before, particularly when they've made it clear that I was expendable (so perhaps I'm feeling a bit petty). I want to perform well in my new role, but I'm worried that my time will be often spent trying to finish things that I was working on in my old role - things that I didn't have time to finish, given my rather sudden letting-go.

How do I avoid essentially working my old job when I'm now assigned a different role on a different team? On one hand, I don't want to take pay from my new team to work on projects for my old team - the responsibilities are quite different and not compatible. On the other hand, I know there are things for which they'll want my help, and I know I shouldn't just cold-shoulder them (regardless of whether I WANT to) because of the way they treated me. How do I balance these concerns?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this problem is hypothetical at this point. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 1 '17 at 16:09

If someone approaches you who is not your new boss, refer that person to your boss. It is that simple. If he feels that the helping is a priority, then do it cheerfully. If he feels that the work he hired you to do is a priority, then he will tell them that you can't do it. Likely it will be a mix of both depending on what is on your plate at the moment.

And talk to your boss about the issue on your first day to have a game plan in place. He may ask you do go ahead and answer questions that take less than 15 minutes but if it is going to take longer, then you would need to have the task priority adjudicated by him.

Do not take on such tasks without your current boss's knowledge and permission. You don't want to work overtime to do your real work because you were doing someone else's.


How do I avoid essentially working my old job when I'm now assigned a different role on a different team?

You avoid this by letting your new boss worry about your assignments.

If your old boss tries to co-opt your time, just make sure that approval goes through your new boss first.

You may indeed be asked to help transition your previous work to someone new. As long as your new boss approves, you just do it. Don't be petty - that won't be good for you.


When you accept a job, the company pays you for your time.

As long as the type of work is what you agreed to, it shouldn't matter who is benefiting from your time. If the company decides that the project you are to work on is for the benefit of the other team then it shouldn't matter to you at all.

Your manager is going to give you tasks/projects to handle. So I'm not entirely sure what it is you are trying to avoid. If your manager believes that you should spend time on the other teams projects, then that's his/her decision. I'd find it highly unlikely that this would occur but if it does you could certainly discuss it (at that time) with your manager.

Essentially - Don't make this into something it's not. At this point you don't actually know what tasks you'll be assigned.

If the other team starts approaching directly you for help then you could certainly bring that up with your manager. Again I wouldn't do this before it even happens.

  • Sorry, I should have made this more clear in the question: The work environment is entirely open: No cubicles, no rooms, nothing. All just one big floor with desks scattered in various formations by team. It's highly likely, if not a given, that I will be approached for help on old project (from my previous role) while I'm trying to work on items for my new role - and I want my performance in my new role to be excellent. – Helpful Nov 1 '17 at 15:36
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    @helpful: During your career you are always going to be approached by people that you do not report to for help with various problems. You will have to balance these requests against your current workload. If the requests can be handled without impacting the job your manager has assigned you then imho it's a good idea to do them. If the requests do impact your ability to perform your normally assigned work then sit down with your direct manager and ask them how to proceed. – NotMe Nov 1 '17 at 15:42
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    @Helpful if that happens, you just say "My manager wants me spending my time working on this right now. I will have to check with him/her if I can help with your thing." Let your manager decide what you spend your time on. That's their job. – Seth R Nov 1 '17 at 17:47

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