Write my own job description and get them to hire me for it?
January 5, 2006 8:42 PM   Subscribe

I am working as a full-time casual for a company, doing all different bits and pieces of work. I have an idea for a ongoing role for myself and would like some ideas of how to approach our manager with it and convince him.

I previously worked for this company for about 1.5 years before I went overseas to study and then ran away to sea . As soon as I got back, they asked me to come and work for a few weeks, which has now stretched into two months. However, it is still on a week-by-week, bit-by-bit basis and I'd really like some job security. I've identified a role that would be useful, which incorporates some aspects of an unfilled position within the company (unfilled due to internal movements and something of a hiring freeze on). Hiring freeze aside (not as frozen as is sometimes made out) and never mind that the manager is terribly indecisive, how can I best put forward my idea and get myself hired?
posted by AnnaRat to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Can you think of anything you'd do that would save or earn the company the equivalent of your salary?
posted by acoutu at 8:45 PM on January 5, 2006

Yup, simple. Assuming this is a profit-making organization, can you make a case for either more income or less expense within the context of your managers budget? Should be more than your salary by a factor of 2 or 3. They have to cover salary plus benefits, taxes, various overheads, and profit.
posted by scheptech at 9:00 PM on January 5, 2006

Response by poster: Assume that it is not about finding the money to cover the position - there are vacant positions that nothing is happening about partly because of management indecision (a whole other post). It is more convincing him that there is work that I could be doing that noone else is, which will be of benefit to everyone, in addition to picking up the bits and pieces I currently do, which I imagine will continue. Should I write up something, suss it out with other people? Other ideas? Any success stories?
posted by AnnaRat at 9:11 PM on January 5, 2006

AnnaRat, your manager would typically need to justify your "overhead" position from a cost standpoint. Your best bet is to show how your work will increase productivity by $X or decrease expenses by $X. For example, let's say you will be doing photocopying and clerical work for a group. Right now, six people who earn $50k a year each spend 10% of their working time on this project. So the company is technically spending $30k a year on this. If those people could instead divert their time to something that earns the company money, then the company's coffers would rise. Let's say these people would generate a combined $50k more in income for the firm. This means your position would be worth $80k a year to the firm. Allowing for overhead and what-not, you could probably justify a $25k-$35k a year salary.

Can you articulate your role in those terms? If not, maybe tell us what this work is and what the other people could be doing and how much they probably make.
posted by acoutu at 9:18 PM on January 5, 2006

AnnaRat - thank you so much for asking this question! I've been wondering the same thing, except the company in my case is a nonprofit, and the job idea is not so much makign money as it is improving relations with people.

Would this approach differ if it's a nonprofit?
posted by divabat at 11:01 PM on January 5, 2006

Numbers speak louder than words.

Generally in any for-profit situation such proposals need to be quantified in money terms by somebody at some point, in this case probably by your manager, most people with 'manager' in their title have to think in these terms. Naturally making it part of your pitch increases the likelihood of being taken seriously since it directly addresses a key part of their required decision-making process.

For non-profit, a similar strategy would be to appeal to whatever the non-profit was about. For example, if you're feeding the homeless will your idea result in more people being fed or whatever. This doesn't necessarily have to be either a direct or immediate effect if you can demonstrate it will happen somehow through others or in some reasonably well-estimated period of time.
posted by scheptech at 12:09 AM on January 6, 2006

One key to dealing with indecisive people is to use active language and give them concrete next-steps in their decision-making process. "OK, so you are going to think about this, talk to X and Y about it, and I can expect to hear your decision next Friday? Great."

Also, even more so with a non-profit do you need to justify how your added position will result in cost savings (or at least cost neutrality). You still have a budget, even if you aren't making money.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:05 AM on January 6, 2006

Your proposal, of writing a job description and then shopping it to a company, is straight out of the original self-help book "Think and Grow Rich". I say go for it, and so does Napoleon Hill.
posted by lowlife at 5:54 AM on January 6, 2006

Actually, I would really recommend against the salary justification approach. The truth of the matter is that numbers can always be fudged after the fact and used to justify just about anything. What you want to do is focus purely on the results that you will deliver to the company. Don't think in terms of dollars, think in terms of value. (Good managers and executives understand the difference between these.) Sit down and identify the tangible results that are produced or will be produced by your work. Think about the new opportunities that you can create. Let the salary negotiations and questions about the dollar value of your results happen later, after you've got your foot in the door.

Personally, I've found the best way to deal with indecisive superiors is simply to make the decision for them and then congratulate them on making such a good decision. It's hard to argue with a moving train. In your case, you might consider just going ahead and establishing a job title for yourself. This can be as simple as changing your email signature for company email. Next, you might consider "advertising" your new position and responsibilities simply by telling people about them. This can be as simple as letting others know, "If you need $X, call me." Do this enough times and people will get the message. Give it a couple of weeks and then sit down with your manager and explain to him that you really enjoy your position and the work she's given you and you'd like to work full-time, on a salaried basis. By this time, the actual hiring should just be a formality.
posted by nixerman at 7:26 AM on January 6, 2006

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