Is it too late to be great at my job?
June 24, 2016 7:22 PM   Subscribe

I've been in my role for almost 3 years and want to end on a high note before I leave. How?

I work in a finance/cost accounting role in manufacturing. I've been in my position for almost 3 years and want to end on a high note before I leave. I don't have plans to leave at the moment, but my gut is telling me that I would have moved on within a year. (Why? I really do like my work, but my company rotates people after a few years in a role, and I might relocate either within the company or to another company altogether)

Before I move on, for no reason other than to feel accomplished and to end on a high note, I want to do a great job and leave things in better shape than I found them.

Challenges: My work environment is very dynamic and we all have a lot of overlapping responsibilities. I also spent the first year or two in my role just plain learning the job -- there was a lot of technical knowledge that I had to pick up through trial/error/and just plain time because I wasn't onboarded. I now think I've gained sufficient technical knowledge to juggle a lot of disconnected responsibilities, and to answer and help with highly specific questions, but I struggle to understand how I can help or improve processes or really make an impact. My coworkers are overworked and often spend their day to day firefighting issues due to the dynamic environment, including my dotted line manager with whom I work most closely. He's great but is constantly distracted by the many issues he has to deal with. You would think this would give me a lot of areas to identify where we need help, but frankly it's hard to get feedback from home on this because he is clearly overwhelmed and is in a constant crisis or complaining mode.

Another issue I'd like to improve on before I leave: I don't spend nearly enough time on the factory floor. It's not exactly a place you can go to make small talk, and it's daunting to go out there unless I have a clear goal in mind, because I frankly don't understand how the equipment works. I'd also like to make this more of a normal thing I do, to get to the level where I can even give plant tours to visitors by myself.

So in summary... How do I be all that I can be in my role??
posted by watrlily to Work & Money (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If you have the time and chops, write a manual on how to do aspects of your job that it took you time to figure out.
posted by zadcat at 7:37 PM on June 24, 2016 [16 favorites]

Be a positive attitude. Create eddies of calm wherever you go. That, by itself, would be more than enough to make me miss an employee when they left.
posted by arnicae at 7:41 PM on June 24, 2016

A manual is a nice idea, but make sure it doesn't end up lost on a shelf or hidden on the company intranet. Actually teach someone. Maybe host an open session.

Another one: find a process that could be better and make it better.
posted by jander03 at 7:56 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Standardize and automate reporting wherever possible. Watch for reporting where data is hand compiled from different systems and see if there are ways to create these reports without human interference where possible - work with your IT dept. as needed.

I worked in IT for a manufacturing company and loved getting a chance to set up SSRS reports with subscriptions - people used to email out hand crafted spreadsheets - I know of at least one report that freed up 8 hours of an admins time once it was automated.
posted by hilaryjade at 9:14 PM on June 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I frankly don't understand how the equipment works.

There's your clear goal right there. Ask a foreman or manager or whatever to lead you through the process with the focus being on giving tours. Take notes. Thank the person (people) copiously, possibly with a lunch out if you can swing it.
posted by ananci at 9:37 PM on June 24, 2016

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