Q&A 4.0 Doing more than you are paid for

Dear Seasoned Workforce,

I am a young professional who has now been working full-time for about 7 months. I was hired in a small training firm as an intern for the first three months after which they decided to retain me longer. However, I have an issue since I do not have a specific job description. Though I am receiving a slight improvement of the intern’s salary, I am doing all the intern duties along with many other tasks which should be someone else’s responsibility. These assistant duties to senior colleagues also disadvantage me since I go through great effort to accomplish them well but gain no recognition. They also include smaller housekeeping duties which i’m not too happy about. What should I do?



Dear Joy,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your great performance at work. It is evident that the firm does not wish to let you go. This means that you are definitely doing something right!

The situation you are in occurs more frequently than you may think especially during the early stages of one’s career. You are involved with quite a lot of duties, and this will inevitably go to your CV. One thing you have however failed to mention is which specific skills you are gaining as a result. Remember that our focus should be on the skills  rather than the label. Skills are the only transferable thing that you will carry out of an organization into the rest of your career.

I would therefore wish to urge you to start taking inventory of this as you shift your key focus on learning and absorbing the skills which you can use to get a promotion in within the organization or outside.

Andrew Carnegie, whom I consider a brilliant businessman and employer shares great advice and outlines several benefits that prove that there is far greater meaning and gain that is derived from doing far more than you are paid for- which is what you are doing in this case.

Do not look at it as a disadvantage because you are gaining the following;

  • Greatest of all known methods to gain promotion

You may not have gotten to this stage yet but it is certainly a matter of time.

  • Gives one benefit of law of increasing returns

The more you do, the more you achieve. Sometimes it’s as simple as that. Despite the short-lived lack of recognition, there is still direct and indirect returns attained.

  • Gives one benefit of the law of compensation

Going the extra mile also helps compensate for what you may not necessarily excel at. In the workplace, this is very important since it provides some sort of direct security and assurance.

  • Benefit of growth through resistance and use

You will appreciate the role of challenges and putting in extra effort as a source of growth and resistance. They ability to bounce back from uncertainty and failure is highly sought after in the workplace.

  • Important habit of initiative to rise above mediocrity

The natural inclination of an individual is to perform the bare minimum. The habit of performing beyond what is asked of you enables you to build initiative and discipline.

  • Self reliance

When one is able to perform and act beyond what is required, they develop the habit of self- reliance. They are therefore more independent and less likely to need assistance in their own tasks. This kind of autonomy is well appreciated in the workplace.

  • Attractiveness of personality because you learn cooperation

It goes without saying that people are more likely to like you as an individual if you are helpful and appealing to their self interests. Do not underestimate the importance of such actions and their impact on your career progression.

  • Ensures continuous employment


All the best!

Seasoned Workforce.



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