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I have a two-parts job, where i have both a lot of small responsibilities, and a few big ones.

The small ones come from a lab management role, which consist of small parts procurement, risk assessments, lab space attribution, etc.

The big ones come from a prototyping role, where I help design and build prototypes according to the engineering team's schematics.

My problem is, when I read my yearly performance objectives, they are very vague regarding the small tasks, i just have one line similar to "make sure everything runs smoothly".

I'm also a bit overwhelmed because the small urgent tasks often cause the prototyping activities to slip behind schedule and make planning really hard. The fact that i am relatively new in this position does not help either, and I am afraid the whole thing will not look very bright when performance review time comes.

I can easily show my work on big projects with a few lines like "i delivered the discombulator mk. II on time", but i'm at a loss for the small tasks. I can't write stuff like "On april 6th, I noticed we were low on M3 screws and ordered some, and nobody complained about the lack of screws!"

  • Do you have any guidance as to how much of your time you should be spending on the small stuff as opposed to the prototyping role? – Philip Kendall Jun 18 '18 at 14:11
  • @PhilipKendall Nope because it varies a lot, from 0 to 50% of my time – Sclrx Jun 18 '18 at 14:37
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What you do is keep records though the year concerning what I did. I usually have emails folders for tasks completed, attaboys from others in the organization and clients and escalations. This makes it easy to note that you performed 476 tasks in this area with no escalations or one escalation and that you received praise 12 times concerning these tasks. You can also do a list of the types of tasks you did. It will add up to more than you think over the course of a whole year.

When people praise me in person for something significant I did, I usually ask that they send that praise to my boss in an email.

  • i like this idea, but i feel like asking for written praise would be taking it too far and come out wrong. – Sclrx Jun 18 '18 at 18:48
  • That's why it is only for significant achievements that they praise. I have done this lots of time and no one has ever been offended and 90+% of the time , they write the note. Of course I send written notes when they do something good as well. – HLGEM Jun 18 '18 at 19:22
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Small tasks should be aggregated until they become meaningful to the company.

If you look back at your question, you've accomplished this subconsciously:

small parts procurement, risk assessments, lab space attribution

If those tasks are taking up too much of your time, mention this during your performance review. Solutions are better than problems, however, so search ahead of time for training or tools which can streamline those tasks.

Alternatively, if the menial tasks and the design/prototyping work are both expected to increase, then it may be a good idea to focus on the role you want and suggest a dedicated position for the other tasks.

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