If you want to be…do.
Recently, a group of young employees asked me how they should go about taking on more work at work. They mentioned many of the Millennial workers weren't being challenged and fully utilized (this happens way more frequently than you may think) so there were large chunks of the day where they had nothing to do. As a result, many peers and leaders assumed the Millennial workers were being lazy when in reality they were hyper-producitive.
This is now a common work issue as the Digital Natives (or Millennials) leverage technology and online collaboration tools to get more done in less time. Hence why MTV launched a television series targeting Millennials called "Underemployed." The below is the advice and steps I shared with the young employees on how to move from under-utilized to hyper-utilized.
4 Steps To Taking On More Work
1) Ensure your completed work is satisfactory.
Your first priority is to honor your current leadership and the organization providing your paycheck. Ask your leaders or peers if your work is satisfactory. If it's not, use your extra time to improve it. If satisfactory, move to step #2.
2) Ask your leaders for additional projects or ways to lighten their load.
Make it clear the value you bring to the team and other ways you can be hyper-utilized to accomplish the team's goals. For leaders, you must make it a priority to check-in with Millennial workers on a daily or weekly basis to ensure they have enough to work on. When I mentored new hires, I would check-in daily to measure their work load to ensure they had enough to execute on. Millennials want to hustle but you have to give them clear direction and the resources to execute. If no additional projects exist or the leader neglects to provide direction, move to step #3.
3) Ask for permission to look for projects across business units or to launch your own internal project or initiative.
Decide what your next career move will be and what skills will be needed to occupy that position. The goal is to build your skill set to qualify you for that next position. If still no projects exist or you still find yourself with extra time, move to step #4.
4) Find projects outside of work to build your skills.
If your work is satisfactory and your leaders provide no direction about new projects, look outside of work to create and put your skills to the test. Start a YouTube channel, perform freelance work through Elance or Odesk, share your knowledge on SlideShare or ask a friend to help market their non-profit. You'll be amazed what you learn when you create and launch a project. Ultimately, this is a step you should pursue at all times since no job is forever but your personal brand, experience and skill sets will last your lifetime.
Take ownership and responsibility for your own personal development and never apologize for hustling, pursuing more and sharpening your skills.
Question: What is keeping you from finding new ways to build your skills?