I'll keep it brief:

  • I've worked at my current workplace (smallish company, ~90 people) for close to the last 1.5 years as a Data Analyst. (Prior I did 6-month internship as desktop support, before that was a cook/banquet hotel worker, no college degree.)

  • In my time I've worked in formal and informal capacities as: IT support, IT service provider coordination, business intelligence, database administration, report writing, application (SaaS and on-premise) support, application development (web development), system administration, software QA, and project management.

  • During a performance review, it was indicated I was performing subpar within my role as a data analyst. (Penalized as a redacted raise.)

Currently, my actual responsibilities differ dramatically from my role description. I'd like to fix this, so Im not penalized for subpar performance and hopefully can be more effective in my daily tasks/etc in moving the business forward.

So, how can I redefine my role when my responsibilities don't match? I don't want to shrug things off, but it seems like having all these different responsibilities has not actually helped my career, as I've only been penalized thus far. (Personally, I'd like to do less IT support and focus on software development, which I enjoy far more.)

Edit: I'm not looking to decline responsibilities, but rather how I would talk/work with my company to fix described issue.

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    This isn't an answer your question, but let me suggest something. IMHO, your career at that company is essentially over. Employees failing reviews have a limited (if at all) upward career path. If I were you, I'd start looking for work while you're still employed by them and prospective employers won't call them for references. If you lose that job, finding new employment becomes much harder. Give your reason for moving on that you want to do support. – Chris E Oct 20 '16 at 18:10
  • If you are being penalized because your job description doesn't match your actual responsibilities, then yes, you need to have a conversation with your boss. Either your description or your duties need to change to match the other. – David K Oct 20 '16 at 18:12
  • Thank you all for the input. I'll consider this as I move forward. I don't think I failed the review, or at least it was not presented as such. But, its a valid point nonetheless. A discussion seems like the next logical step. – Alkarion Oct 20 '16 at 19:45

It sounds to me like there's a severe disconnect between what you make of your job/performance, and what your manager does.

The very first thing you should do, is have a sit down with you boss. Ask for clarification on what your role within the company is. I would also suggest having a list of projects and jobs you've done (roles you've filled) with you. For example, you could start like so:

Hey boss. After my performance review I have some concerns regarding my responsibilities and role within the organization, and I'd like to discuss them with you. You see, while my role is officially "Data Analyst", in practice, I've also (mostly?) worked as a software developer, IT support, etc. I enjoy the data analysis portion of my job, but don't perform those duties on a daily basis simply due to the responsibilities assigned to me due to various momentary needs within the company. It seems to me that my review does not reflect my overall contribution to the company, and ignores some of these other roles which I have been fulfilling.

Make sure that you understand what your boss expects you to do on a day to day basis. If there's not enough work within that narrow definition, or if you could simply be helpful above and beyond those constraints, that's a separate conversation that needs to be had.

Right now your most pressing concern is understanding why your boss is dissatisfied with you.

This is pure conjecture, but it could be that you're being overly helpful. For example, you might be taking on work which is technically not yours to do, and as such, while you're being helpful to certain individuals, you're not fulfilling your responsibilities. This can also very easily lead to situations where you're stepping on people's toes, politically, and this review can be a reflection of that.

Personal experience: I once worked with a person who would "bounce" around the office, talking to people, listening to their problems, and coming up with "exciting" solutions to all their woes. While her enthusiasm was admirable, this person rarely understood the deeper implications of those problems, and blindsided managers by trying to push a "solution" onto them. It was never well received. In addition, it was not her job to fix - or even think about - those things. She would waste half her day talking to people and coming up with her "solutions" without having been asked to do so, and all while ignoring her own much more "boring" work. Managers considered her a problem employee, and she got some very negative feedback. She never got the hint, however, and considered herself a victim. She didn't last long.

Note: I would also be very concerned about your future there. If you truly are being very helpful, and putting in a lot of work which was essentially ignored in your review, then that's a pretty good indicator of your manager having some sort of agenda which isn't beneficial to you. They could be looking to keep you at a lower pay level, or get rid of you.

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  • Thank you for your answer. I believe having this type of discussion makes sense, given the potential misalignment between myself and my supervisor. In most cases I've picked up work because someone comes to me with a problem, and I resolve them. Most of these issues have no designated person, so they come to me when it happens again. (Alternatively, the person assigned is busy.) – Alkarion Oct 20 '16 at 19:41
  • +1 Very insightful answer. I especially like the part where you acknowledge that OP may be ignoring his/her actual responsibilities in favor of these other responsibilities. That is a problem that have seen occur out at more than one employer. – Lumberjack Oct 20 '16 at 19:47
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    @DariusStrasel - maybe those people should not be coming to you for help. Or maybe you should be refusing to help them, and pointing them to your manager instead: "I can only help you with that if my manager says it's OK. Go ask him about it first"* Initiative in the workplace is only a good thing up to a point. If you go off on a tangent from what you boss wants you to be doing - even if you think that work is more important than your immediate job - you're not doing yourself, or the company, any favors. The general rule of thumb is that your work should be assigned by your manager. – AndreiROM Oct 20 '16 at 20:00
  • @AndreiROM - Agreed. I think part of this issue is my inability to say no... I find it difficult to refuse help to people when I know the solution/how to find a solution, so I make time which ends up sacrificing time for other things. I suppose the take-away would be that I need to better prioritize my time, say no occasionally, and communicate better(?) with my manager. – Alkarion Oct 20 '16 at 20:23
  • @DariusStrasel - your manager should have told you those things already. Talk to him, maybe apologize if you have to. The thing to understand is that you need to prioritize the tasks which your boss expects you to get done, not the random tasks which your coworkers come to you with. Make a point of making your supervisor/manager a part of the decision making process. You might have to start saying "no" a lot more often. – AndreiROM Oct 20 '16 at 20:28

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