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So I am a web designer and I maintain multiple websites internal & external for the company. I was hired to implement various campaigns for the marketing department, landing pages, newsletters etc...

However, what seems to have happened now is that people elsewhere in the organisation have been asking me to make updates to their pages on the websites; although I have made everything as easy as possible the individual in question is not very technically sophisticated and generally dislikes making changes, thus she often uses an excuse to get me to make these updates ( the changes are very tedious and repetitive).She is always very polite but the excuses she uses are transparent and lately she has even stopped using these and just sends work my way.

So my question I guess is how can I get her to stop asking me to make these updates and get her to do them herself?

How can I stop this from becoming my responsibility in the future?

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  • It sounds to me like content management is very much aligned to the responsibilities of 'maintain multiple websites internal & external for the company. I was hired to implement various campaigns for the marketing department, landing pages, newsletters etc' and I can understand why the work comes your way. On what basis do you think you should deflect it? Is it that you just don't find it interesting, or perhaps it's 'beneath you'? Why would the company who pays your wages see it that way?
    – Marv Mills
    Dec 18, 2015 at 9:55
  • @Marv-Mills I looked over my contract and original job advert, it was always clear that I was to be a part of the marketing department and to maintain their pages only. While I make some changes to the CMS I only do so for marketing purposes ie branding etc. ... within our organisations all departments are asked to maintain their own sections of the website and all do so apart from the one in question. I never meant this to come across as me thinking its beneath me. I am happy to do the work I am paid for but not to happy to pick up someone lese's when they are just being lazy
    – Lukas_T
    Dec 18, 2015 at 10:00
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    @Lukas_T Ask your manager. It's up to him to decide if your time is wasted or well spent doing this. Likely he'll say that you should limit the work you do for this person or train her once to do it properly. Or maybe you don't have enough other work and this will be part of your role from now on.
    – Lilienthal
    Dec 18, 2015 at 10:47

4 Answers 4

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There is no way doing these tasks are good for you. You are getting feedback that you should play along because it might be good for you - I highly doubt it. You will be seen as the web guy that does basic HTML updates. You are more or less this lady's bitch. She barks orders and you have to jump. This isn't your fault though. I am sure your manager is partially/mostly to blame. But remember the manager that has you do little things like this is getting most of the praise and I doubt this will be taken into much/any consideration come review time.

What do you do?

  1. Have a formal process in place. My team has to complete similar things. We get people who will go back and forth with us on wording 10 times... when they could have wrote it down in an email or just thought about it for a minute. So have them fill out a (web) form. Every time they want a change they fill out the form. Not only will they think twice about stupid changes because they have to go through the tedious task of the form but also the form can track all of their time wasting requests. The worst thing in the world is take these requests via email.

  2. Allot certain times of the week to do these changes. For minor edits my staff does them on Wednesdays or Fridays. If the authors want them done other days, they do them themselves.

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I have the same issue in my job, and I shifted my thinking so that rather than pushing back on everything I ask myself the following questions:

1. Is it something that is quick for me to do, but hard for the other person to do? I think in your case, this is a big "YES". It can win a lot of appreciation from the other person. You might also find yourself in a position where you have something that you need to do, which someone else can do much more easily - in a "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" frame of mind, prioritize helping in these situations.

2. Will it take more time to fight it than to do it? Sometimes just doing it is easier than the back and forth of saying no.

3. What will the long-term effect be of agreeing to do this work? On the one hand. saying yes once can lead to the expectation that you will always say yes, and can lead to a slippery slope down to more work that doesn't match your job duties. On the other hand, you can gain appreciation and respect from the other departments as a helpful team player.

4. To what extent does it affect my ability to do my job (the one in the job description) Would my manager want me to spend my time on this? Your manager is likely the one who wrote your job description. If your marketing tasks fall behind because of spending time on the other departments' needs, will s/he be ok with it? You can also use your manager as a gatekeeper for this type of request

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    Thanks, Yeah I think its more the case of No. 3 for me now. First couple of times (12 times so far) I was happy to do it as a favour, but now when it seen as expected with the overall volume seeming to grow I am not so happy. Especially given that I have conducted several one-to-one trainings with this individual I think I will try and get my manager to step in so No. 4 is more what I was looking for.
    – Lukas_T
    Dec 18, 2015 at 10:55
  • Wow - 12 times - yes that sounds like a lot. Give a man a fish (or 12 websites) and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Dec 18, 2015 at 13:08
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I have come across this time and time again. You are quite right, after a while it just becomes expected of you, so you should have nipped it in the bud a long time ago.

The best strategy I have come up with is documenting how to do updates, and referring them to the documentation while pleading being busy. In fact busy or not I had no intention of doing it unless management asked me to. If they leave it until the last minute and panic, that's their problem and hopefully they'll learn from it when their manager asks why it isn't done. This has worked for me in the past, hopefully it helps in your situation.

I'm not shy to come straight out and tell someone it's not my responsibility to keep things updated when giving them the documentation, so they need to work it out, then I'll show them once and leave them to it. Some are problematic and keep coming back which is when I say I'm too busy and just ignore it until management starts jumping up and down.

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    thanks for the response I think I will actually try the documentation route
    – Lukas_T
    Dec 18, 2015 at 10:56
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    At the same time, be patient. They will come back a certain number of times. Each time, explain them & show them. But don't do as long as your management does not ask.
    – gazzz0x2z
    Dec 18, 2015 at 10:59
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You've allowed this person to cross certain professional boundaries, and she is now abusing the situation.I whole-heartedly disagree with people suggesting that you simply continue assisting her, because it's "simple for you".You have to start pushing back - politely, but firmly. For example, the next time she sends you work you can push it away:

Sorry, I have a project that I really need to get done. There's no way that I could possibly get around to doing this today.

If she replies that she's OK with waiting for a day deflect her again:

I'll be honest with you, this is a pretty hectic week for me. If it's not urgent work I really can't afford to squeeze it into my schedule.

If she claims to not know how to do it don't just give in either. Instead take the time to write a short email explaining how she could accomplish her task. At most, swing by her desk and point out what she needs to do. But whatever you do do not sit down and do it for her. Maintain that boundary.

Good luck!

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