Office Politics 101: Petrified of the Peter Principle

Q: I accepted a new position last month, which looked great on the surface. Unfortunately, I’ve found there are duties I can’t perform because I don’t have the necessary skills. It’s incredibly stressful and I don’t know what to do next. Any advice for me?

A: It’s understandable you are experiencing stress at this time, but don’t fret. There are options available to you. I would recommend you act quickly, however, to avoid any embarrassment or the possibility of being removed from the position.

Take a moment to reflect on the recruitment and interviewing for the job. Were you surprised to learn you would have duties which are now making you feel so anxious?

Was the job description (which I presume you reviewed) sufficiently unclear to the degree that you were not aware of the full extent of the responsibilities?

These are important questions because they may provide you with the proof you need to defend your application and subsequent appointment; after all, you did compete successfully against other candidates based on your understanding of the skills needed.

Now you want to decide whether you’d like to keep the job if at all possible or offer to voluntarily relinquish it in favor of another position, if there is one available.

If it is your decision to attempt to continue in the present position, you’ll still need to “come clean” at the earliest opportunity and meet with your supervisor and clearly explain the situation.

You’ll require sufficient time to master the requisite skills — which may even include some formal training or coursework — and your employer must show understanding to make this possible.

(Another employee may need to assume these duties for a certain time.)

You may think there will be some risk involved in acknowledging your limitations – and it’s true. The only other option, however — to say nothing and attempt to educate yourself as quickly as possible — could make you vulnerable to criticism should you be discovered.

You are in a rather uncomfortable situation but, given that you are brand-new (and apparently never had a sense of these responsibilities) should allow you to make a rational case for consideration and the opportunity to learn the needed skills and remain on the job.

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life to simongibson@shaw.ca

Just Posted

Canadian Museum of Flight volunteer was there from the beginning

Fond memories as the Langley aviation history exhibition readies for the holidays

TransLink reveals new plans for proposed Surrey-Langley SkyTrain

No cost estimates, but the Fraser Highway line is expected to open by 2025

VIDEO: Giants earn seventh straight win while playing at Pacific Coliseum

G-Men return home for their next game at the Langley Events Centre Friday against the Silvertips.

VIDEO: Celebrity Christmas food and toy drive in Langley

Annual event helps families and abuse victims

VIDEO: This B.C. school leads country in vaccine donations to UNICEF

Federally funded Kids Boost Immunity uses quizzes to earn vaccinations

5 to start your day

TransLink reveals new plans for proposed Surrey-Langley SkyTrain, 81-year-old woman waits 90 minutes for a taxi in Pitt Meadows and more

Natural gas rates will go up in B.C. on Jan. 1

Regions could pay up to $68 more

Top House Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump

It could be an “impeachable offense” if it’s proven that President Donald Trump directed illegal hush-money payments to women during the 2016 campaign.

Macron addresses France amid protests; is it too late?

Paris monuments reopened, cleanup workers cleared debris and shop owners tried to put the city on its feet again Sunday.

CUPE calls off Flair Airlines job action citing job security concerns

The union says it’s going to challenge Flair’s move at the Canada Industrial Relations Board before proceeding with any job action.

Trump looking at several candidates for new chief of staff

Trump’s top pick for the job, Nick Ayers, is out of the running and Trump is now soliciting input on at least four individuals.

Canadian physicist collects Nobel Prize

Canada’s Donna Strickland is one of three winners of this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics.

BCHL players help Team Canada in shootout win over U.S.

Massimo Rizzo scores the shootout winner at World Junior A Challenge

Most Read