My boss is undecided whether to assign me to:

  • role A: office (managing spreadsheets, image editing, vectorial drawing, etc.)
  • role B: warehouse stock assistant

How can I convince him or influence his decision?

I feel more inclined for the office role, rather than the stock one.

I have worked office jobs in the past, and feel like my skills belong to role A, more than role B.

How do you think I should act or talk to the boss, in order to make him take the right decision for him and for me?

  • Do you have any colleagues he also needs to assign? Or does he have to hire someone to do the other role? – Kvothe Mar 27 '14 at 10:24
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    Do you have a job specification for the various rows and have you documented your current skills against the specification? – Ben Mar 27 '14 at 10:24
  • Somehow I get the idea that your avatar is a stock photo ;-) – user8036 Mar 27 '14 at 10:24
  • I have already worked for a while in a small office in this company, and showed what I can do. the boss told me he needs someone in the stock, but he's undecided about what role to assign to me. i do not know whether there are other people who can be assigned to role A/B. thanks for your comments. – Jess Stone Mar 27 '14 at 10:26
  • ps: I do not have a job specification. – Jess Stone Mar 27 '14 at 10:32

Assume that your boss is not a mind reader and state your preference plainly, and before your boss hands down the decision, if you haven't already done so.

Give him say three reasons why you would be of better use to the boss as an office person than as a stock clerk e.g. I am already familiar and comfortable with the operations at the office and there is nothing about what needs to be done in the office that's a surprise to me, I have already developed a degree of effectiveness and efficiency in terms of office skills and I expect to build on this acquired effectiveness and efficiency to be able to carry out necessary tasks that are more complex, the office personnel knows you and you all work well together, etc.

If the boss still assigns you as a stock clerk, make the best of it and squeeze as much lemonade as you can from that lemon. You can claim in the future that you learned warehouse and operations and inventory management from the bottom up and this makes you more effective at office operations, etc.

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    Yes "state your prefernce plainly", people often think they have gotten the message across with hints and then are disappointed when the hint wasn't noticed. – HLGEM Mar 27 '14 at 12:55
  • @Vietnhi thanks for your answer. Don't you believe that stating our preference, in a direct and clear way, can sometimes be counterproductive? thank you HLGEM as well – Jess Stone Mar 27 '14 at 13:33
  • Jess Stone: You're right - it can be REALLY counterproductive, if it is couched as an ultimatum :) It doesn't have to be an ultimatum to get you into hot water - all it takes is being interpreted or even worse, misinterpreted as an ultimatum :) Any time we say or write something, the judge, jury and executioner as to what we said and wrote is the one at the listening or reading end. And some of the guys will hang you before they try you :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Mar 27 '14 at 14:07

Stock clerks tend to be easier to hire than office clerks. If you've done the office work and your boss is happy with your work, point out to him/her which role would be more difficult to fill with a new-hire. While the boss might not agree, this is a valid way of stating your preference.

In many companies I'm aware of, people are pulled into the warehouse to pick during peak loads, but normally work at their desks. One role would not necessarily exclude the other.

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  • Hi Meridith, looking at the question it doesn't seem like the OP has the ability to 'focus on' office work if he is not assigned it. Do you have any suggestions about how the OP could approach his boss to discuss where he might be placed in a professional / 1:1 manner? – Rhys Mar 27 '14 at 10:44

Since you identify the "right thing" as being best for both you and your boss, you better find out what her needs are. One position may be easier to fill than the other, so having you take the tougher one to fill may be in his best interest. Obviously, if you are not happy with the position given, you may be less inclined to stay with the company. Some bosses prefer to keep turn-over to a minimum.

You need to have a conversation about this. Ask what his current thinking is. You have a 50/50 chance of getting the job you want without doing anything. You may find one position is more suited to getting promoted (assuming you want to be promoted). Your boss may have reasons to feel you are more suited for one than the other. One position may be more important/critical than the other and he prefers to have someone doing it that has been with the company and he trusts more.

Maybe you need to get out of your comfort zone and stretch your skills to better prepare you in the long run?

Much of this is going to depend on the relationship you have with your boss. The less open it is, the more difficult it may be to find out what she is thinking. You probably know more about this than any one of us.

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