Are Extra Duties Worth It? Why You May or May Not Want to Do More Work at Work

Do extra work they say. It will pay off they say. But does it?

If you want to get ahead at the office, someone might have advised you to take on additional duties in hopes of scoring a promotion or raise. No doubt, doing your best at work is the right thing to do. When it comes to going above and beyond, however, consider why it may or may not be worth it.

Is there room for promotion at your workplace?

In other words, are you doing all those thankless extra tasks for a reason? In some businesses, there's no room to move up any higher. In other workplaces, employees never get raises, period. If you work in either of those places, you're probably wasting your time. If you decide to go for it and add more work to your daily grind, don't expect a whole lot of appreciation.

You might create a position.

If you work at a business where new ideas are welcome and embraced, spending extra time exploring a new portion of the business might be ideal. If you worked at a coffee house with a creative owner, for example, you might be able to talk her into letting you host a series of music nights, or to sponsor a book club to boost evening sales. This, in turn, could lead to the creation of a night manager position for you. In that type of scenario, investing your time is definitely worth it.

It might take away from more important aspects of your life.

People who are already in high-demand jobs don't have much else to give. Couple that with the demands of a house, pets, kids or other responsibilities, and you won't find much time left for anything else. If you're already content in your career and your time is precious, those extra duties may be too much to bear. If you do take on something new, bite off one small responsibility at a time to avoid taking on too much.

Whatever you do, you'll need to toot your own horn.

Say you take on the additional responsibilities and things are plugging along nicely for a while. You might assume that since your boss was at least partly involved in the organization of those duties that he'll be aware of how extra hard you're now working. He might -- but then again he might also get wrapped up in his own side of things and forget to thank you with that raise or promotion you were hoping for. Thus, the need to toot your own horn.

After you've been working in the new role for a while, ask your boss for a sit-down to discuss your desires for a raise, promotion, new office or whatever else you're shooting for. If you don't bring it up, your boss might be perfectly happy allowing you to carry more weight without ever offloading rewards in return.