#9 Don't Sass Your Boss Like You Do Your Mom

When should I have it done by?

I can't tell you how often I heard my name ring throughout the household as a child - and not in a pleasant way, but rather in a way that would indicate that I had done something wrong (or not done what I was told). I have to admit this was often the case. I was constantly testing boundaries, seeing how far I could push my parents. Whenever they would tell me to do a chore, I would find something better to do.

I could spend hours procrastinating, avoiding the tasks my parents would inevitably force me to complete. My parents would typically find me hiding out in my pile of clothes on the floor doing the exact opposite of what they had asked. I would often hear, "Brittany Irene Davis! I told you to clean your room. It's been an hour. What have you been doing?" Then I would respond, "Yes, you told me I had to clean my room, but you never told me when it needed to be completed."

I think my parents were sometimes so surprised by my sass that they tried to hide their smiles. I have to be honest, when I am at work and someone asks me to do something and refuses to define a due date, but rather says, "Oh just get it done whenever you can.", I often want to say, "Ok - I have time next month.". I'm not telling you to do this, in fact, I don't encourage it. It is just sometimes how I dream of responding ;). For me "just get it done whenever you can" means I can prioritize my tasks above whatever it is that they are giving to me and that the task at hand is not important. Don't fall for it! What usually happens is the topic becomes hot very quickly and one is left scrambling trying to get things done.

When your boss gives you a task to complete the first question that follows should be, "When is the due date?". Most people forget to attach a due date to a task and, if one hasn't been communicated, I would implore you to figure out what the deadline is. If you get a task and don't define what the expectations are, most Managers would argue that it is your fault for not getting it done in time/correctly. Do yourself a favor and figure our what the requirements are the moment you are assigned a task.

I know sometimes we get frustrated at work with the large workload. I have found that, more often than not, I get assigned tasks with timings that are similar to what I am currently working on. This means that I either need to work extra hours to get everything done, or I need to speak up. What best helps me is to clarify what I am currently working on with my Management and make a recommendation as to what needs to be reprioritized (or delegated) as a result. You will quickly learn how your boss ticks and I would encourage you to use that to your advantage. In any case, if something seems impossible make sure you speak up. Oh, and...leave the sass at home.