Right now my job includes a lot of different duties - customer-facing tech support, back-end desktop management and software administration, project management, documentation, training, communication, answering the doorbell for the loading dock...

Having to do so many different types of work, each with a different pace and type of focus required, has me feeling pulled in a lot of different directions. The department is doing some workforce planning that will likely result in at least some reorganization, and we've all been asked for our input. So, I might have at least a bit of influence over where I end up and what I end up doing. (I'm one of half a dozen people in the same position, so it would be relatively easy to divvy up the tasks differently.)

My problem is... how do I know what to focus on and what to try to drop? I generally like each of these tasks by themselves, but it's super frustrating trying to write a script or a project status report while my inbox is filling up with people who want help getting into their e-mail, and vice versa, which obscures the question of what I'd be most excited about under ideal conditions. What's a good exercise for sorting out which parts of your job are the most satisfying?


3 Answers 3


You should have a conversation with your manager. One of your manager's duties should be to help you develop your career at the organization. You should be able to work together to determine what would be the long-term outlook for focusing on different activities. Of course, that doesn't mean you'll get assigned all of those things (especially if there are other people qualified or too many people who want to do the same thing).

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    @Joe They wouldn't. It needs to be a conversation. You should have some idea of how you want to develop your career and your manager should be able to help you go in that direction. Sep 3, 2016 at 19:15

Group them loosely

Customer interaction


Support etc,.

Pick one and ask to have that focus, or if there's not enough in one to keep you reasonably busy, pick two.

If there are other people in the same situation then duties can be swapped around so that the focus is clearer.


Assuming they are reasonable people, talk to your colleagues and try and come up between you how you would like the work divided. It doesn't have to be "I do this and you do that", you can try different arrangements, eg someone has email support as a second duty that they do when the support queue becomes too large.

Then go and talk to your boss and see if you can get his support. Cliched though it is, everyone likes solutions rather than problems.

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