Running errands can help with career development

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/12 21:13:39

A recent article in your newspaper talked about the survival rules for submissive interns and office newbies in companies ("Progressive workplaces mean learning a little patience"). Although it is true that too many errands will disappoint new sign-ups, I do not completely agree with your opinions.

Due to the severe employment situation and a rising number of graduates, the employment pressure for people in their 20s and 30s has increased rapidly. After getting offers from enterprises, especially well-known large enterprises, many will try their best to behave well so as to get through the trial period, win the appreciation of bosses and get further promotion.

For some companies, good behavior for new sign-ups involves the obligation to run errands for companies, such as getting coffee orders, picking up lunch and cleaning desks. However, when there are time conflicts between work tasks and errands, some new employees may not be able to balance the two and end up confused about whether this job makes the best of their knowledge.

A friend of mine was once faced with such confusion. After her graduation, she got an offer from a large foreign enterprise. This opportunity excited her. She was full of expectation for the job, and ready to put what she had learned in university into practice.

However, after a month, she called me and complained, "Can you imagine, I have to order lunch and buy coffee for all colleagues in my department?" Once she was even criticized for mixing the lunch orders of two workmates.

What's worse, these chores made her not able to concentrate on her work and finish it on time. She felt she was a dogsbody rather than an employee of the company. In the end, she asked me, "Do you think I can improve my work ability and realize my career goal in this company?"

Her confusion reminded me of a TV play Hello Joann, which was about the career story of the actress Joann Lin. In the play, Joann had a similar experience.

Nevertheless, I do not think that running errands is totally useless for one's career development. For example, how to balance between work and chores within a limited period of time can reflect a person's work efficiency. Ordering lunch can make one more familiar with colleagues and enhance interpersonal skills. Although these are not directly related to work ability, they are conducive to a person's career development.

Some bosses use running errands as a test to help them better know whether the new employees are qualified for the jobs. For example, in the public relations industry, strong interpersonal skills are a must. When doing chores, new employees have frequent contacts with other colleagues. Their interpersonal skills can be shown in such contacts.

It is reasonable for office newbies to resent being overloaded with chores. But running some errands can contribute to one's career development. Therefore, why not regard running errands as a beneficial experience?

Duo Mu, a freelance writer based in Beijing

Posted in: LETTERS

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