It happens quickly. Your boss asks you to do one quick task. Someone else asks for help on a project. Somehow you have become the one who must constantly hound your coworker to get their work done. Suddenly, you are taking on a lot more than your job title requires you to. When you are new to a job, it can be hard to say “no.” The key is to establish boundaries early so that you can do your primary responsibilities well without having someone else’s tasks on your shoulders.
Get a clear outline of your responsibilities
When you are training during your first few days on the job, ask for a clear layout of what is expected of you. If you have this list, it gives you something to refer to when you are asked to do other things. Make sure something falls under your responsibilities before automatically saying yes.
Stick to what is expected of you
When you are new on the job, stick to what you know (or have been trained to do)! Even if you think you would like to take on more responsibilities in the future, it is best to establish yourself first before crossing that boundary into the “extra work” zone. Setting boundaries early gives you more freedom later in your career to say “yes” to plenty of things that can help you grow!
Keep track of extra work
When you do want to cross the boundary into the “extra work” realm, keep track of the extra responsibilities you are taking on. You can use the progress you are tracking to show your supervisor(s) the work you are capable of doing. In some instances, you may leverage the work you are doing to ask for a pay raise.
Establishing boundaries can be uncomfortable, especially when new to a company. Drawing these lines will benefit you in the long run. You will be able to do your job well and take on more work only when you are ready. Know your bandwidth, and work from there!