You are never going to be effective and make what you do impressive if you are not actually completely sure what it is you are supposed to be doing. Your job description is not just a formality. Too often these days job descriptions are regarded as something that is necessary only because “Human Resources” says so. Employment law has made them important (for instance, it is difficult to fire someone for doing an inadequate job if there is no job description or if it is vague and unclear). That apart, at one level this should very much be a working tool: one that acts as an aide-mémoire between you and your boss.
- Check that you understand it and agree with what it says
- Ask for clarification about anything that is not clear
- Review it regularly and make sure it stays up to date
The last thing you want if you are to have a good working relationship with your boss is to have “I didn’t think that was my job” type discussions. In terms of progress and development-getting on and doing more interesting things-the job description provides a foundation from which you can move ahead.
Incidentally, it is often useful to have a look at whatever job description your boss has. They will rarely volunteer it, but you can ask (blame what you have read here). Two things are particularly useful here: firstly, the overall results required, to which you are no doubt required to contribute; and secondly, the boundaries-where your boss’s responsibility ends and, by definition, where yours may start. I would go further and suggest that it is worth getting job descriptions of everyone in a department circulated, so that everyone knows not just their individual brief, but also what everyone else is charged with-there is certainly less chance of things dropping between the cracks, as it were, when this is done and everyone is fully informed.
Your job description and what it says forms a solid foundation from which to make sure that what you do impresses; make sure it is appropriate.