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I am working as a Senior Developer for US based Organization. In order to develop and deliver the project, we have to have discussions with many other departments and key persons and have healthy information flow on regular basis. We have a team member, Let us Say Bob, who solely and effectively co-ordnates all the parties and administrate this information flow among all parties. His job includes setting up meetings, book meeting rooms, taking notes in the meetings, publishing meeting notes, create followup to the meetings, send reports to management about the meetings what we have achieved in meetings etc… Recently he applied for 2 months long medical leave due to his health issues.

My manager asked me to take those tasks temporarily for those 2 months and he is willing to reduce the other work load. But my problem is I don’t like that kind of work. I already expressed this concern with my manager. My manager said that, “ I understand your concern. When I look other team members you are the one who have the potential and necessary skills to coordinate and perfect replacement/backup for the job what Bob used to do. This coordination is very important for us to successful delivery of the product. Any issues this area would impact a lot in many areas. I can not rely on any one except you for this job at this situation. Can you help us on this?”

By seeing the severity of the situation I have accepted to take up this assignment. But now the problem is how to handle this assignment. I have potential and necessary skills for this assignment. But I don’t like the kind of work that I have to do on this assignment. How can I subside negative feelings and will achieve maximum that I can on this assignment?

  • 1
    Go for it. Do the best job you can. Apply all your intelligence and experience to improving the work flow. Read books about getting meetings to run better. Think of all the times you felt you could have done a better job than x. Not only will you get plus-points in your CV, you will improve your workplace and probably end up enjoying it. – RedSonja Apr 1 '15 at 11:02
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I want to apologize in advance if I come up as offensive; trust me, offending you with what I'm about to say is not my goal here.

With that in mind, I would like to point out that any software developer with "senior" in the title should understand that, at least from time-to-time, you have to do unpleasant tasks. It's just a normal and extremely common part of the job in the software development industry1. I doubt it's the first time you have to handle unpleasant or boring tasks and it probably won't be the last either.

Like @Chris said, keep in mind that the situation is temporary. It's also a great opportunity to show your bosses that, when it's really needed, they can rely on you to step-up and help. This will make you even more valueable to the company.

I recommend to go through with it. You'll see that it's not so bad.

1 = especially if you work in a startup, where you almost always have to wear multiple hats

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Sounds to me like you have a choice. You can suck it up and show that you are a flexible multi-tasking capable member of the team that the boss can count on when the chips are down. Or you can disregard a direct order and get fired.

Bosses like folks they can turn to in a pinch. Those who let them down, they tend to let go.

Concentrate on the fact that this is TEMPORARY and do your level headed best. Dwelling on the fact that you don't like the task will only prevent you from thinking clearly.

BE AN ASSET NOT A WHINER!!!!

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    -1 for unnecessary tone... this is really a one-sentence answer with histrionics. – user1084 Apr 1 '15 at 18:02
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When I get assigned a task, the only thing that matters is whether it has to be done. Whether I like it or I don't is immaterial. I am a professional and as a professional, I will do that task as well, as thoroughly as if I liked it.

When you go to the bathroom, you don't ask yourself whether you enjoy going to the bathroom. You just go and do what you have to do, you stay in the bathroom as long as necessary, and you don't leave the bathroom until you have done. At this point, I should add a rant about those who leave the bathroom without washing their hands and then want to shake my hand later :) Treat any task the same way you treat going to the bathroom.

And when I do a task I hate, I make sure that I do it right. Because doing it wrong means that I have to revisit it. Let's put it this way, doing it and doing it while hating every minute of it - if I stop to think about it that is, which is why I don't stop to think about it - is enough for me. I don't want to have to do it again because I didn't do it right the first time.

I usually don't think about whether I hate a task. Because it does not change anything about the necessity of getting it done.

I did ask my bosses over the years why they didn't ask me whether I wanted some of the particularly ugly tasks they were assigning me, they would smile and sneered "We knew if we had asked you, you would have said 'no'. So we spared you the trauma of saying 'no' :)" Good point.

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I am going to offer a different take from the other answers. They are absolutely right that "liking" a task is not necessary for you do it. They are right that it is important that you can be counted on by management. And they are right that being able to do stuff you don't like is a matter of professionalism. But...

Let's face facts, Bob is a secretary. You don't need a whole lot of skill to set up meetings and write up minutes. Organizing information flow requires a lot more skill, but based on your description, Bob was not that vital catalyst for cross-team coordination. So your boss saying that only you could possibly do this role is... well, let's say it's probably not the whole truth.

Let's look at it from the best of cases: Bob is a vital catalyst to the flow of information across teams; a skilled people-person of the highest order. And you are the best candidate for the role. You're great with people, can talk business-speak, and people like you.

Even in that best of cases, you know what it also means? It means that your boss can have you do less/no development work and consider that okay.

And no matter the case, these are the sorts of things that (should Bob's medical stuff not improve in 2 months for example) end up being far less temporary than first sold. They're also the sort of thing that business quickly realizes they don't need to pay developer salaries to get.

So I disagree with my fellow answerers that this is simply something you should do because you're a professional. This can be a strong signal that you're a fairly disposable developer. It's also something where you (the CEO of Babu Inc.) need to balance your career and happiness versus the good of you (the employee of SomeCorp).

So, there are two things I would personally do. It's probably too late for you to do them now, but not for others in similar situations.

First, I would consider alternatives. As always, "I don't want to do XYZ work." isn't going to fly unless you offer an alternative way to achieve the needed business goals. You might suggest that Bill has similar skills, or did that sort of work in his last job. You might suggest providing inter-team communication via a different (easy) mechanism. You might point out that you need to do ABC dev work, that fewer people can do than team coordination. It all depends on your situation. Sometimes there's no better alternative.

Second, I would make sure that I was unhappy about doing the work, even though I would do it. This helps set the tone that while you're a professional, you're not someone to be taken advantage of. That you're doing your boss a favor, and all that entails. And it helps communicate (in not so many words) that you will not accept this being a permanent thing - because it is in no way acceptable to you.

This second part is important, not only because it helps communicate your expectations with your boss, but because it lets you say your peace. Too often I've seen (and experienced) cases where this sort of work gets dumped on an employee and they don't say anything. They just let it fester, growing more and more resentful of the dumb work, and their shoddy boss who saddled them with it.

You won't do good work then. By addressing it up front, you can get those concerns and frustrations out in the open; out of your system so you can focus on the job at hand.

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