Office Politics 101: Petrified of the Peter Principle

Q: I accepted a new position last month, which looked great on the surface. Unfortunately, I’ve found there are duties I can’t perform because I don’t have the necessary skills. It’s incredibly stressful and I don’t know what to do next. Any advice for me?

A: It’s understandable you are experiencing stress at this time, but don’t fret. There are options available to you. I would recommend you act quickly, however, to avoid any embarrassment or the possibility of being removed from the position.

Take a moment to reflect on the recruitment and interviewing for the job. Were you surprised to learn you would have duties which are now making you feel so anxious?

Was the job description (which I presume you reviewed) sufficiently unclear to the degree that you were not aware of the full extent of the responsibilities?

These are important questions because they may provide you with the proof you need to defend your application and subsequent appointment; after all, you did compete successfully against other candidates based on your understanding of the skills needed.

Now you want to decide whether you’d like to keep the job if at all possible or offer to voluntarily relinquish it in favor of another position, if there is one available.

If it is your decision to attempt to continue in the present position, you’ll still need to “come clean” at the earliest opportunity and meet with your supervisor and clearly explain the situation.

You’ll require sufficient time to master the requisite skills — which may even include some formal training or coursework — and your employer must show understanding to make this possible.

(Another employee may need to assume these duties for a certain time.)

You may think there will be some risk involved in acknowledging your limitations – and it’s true. The only other option, however — to say nothing and attempt to educate yourself as quickly as possible — could make you vulnerable to criticism should you be discovered.

You are in a rather uncomfortable situation but, given that you are brand-new (and apparently never had a sense of these responsibilities) should allow you to make a rational case for consideration and the opportunity to learn the needed skills and remain on the job.

Submit your confidential questions relating to work and office life to simongibson@shaw.ca

Just Posted

Port Alice gets two RCMP officers stationed in the village

“The second Port Alice RCMP position has been filled”

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

New look and feel on the horizon for Gate House Theatre in Port McNeill

“We are hoping between now and then to do another fundraising campaign for acoustics”

North Island Bantam Eagles capture Tier Three banner with win over Powell River Kings

The Eagles next game is Jan. 19 against the Juan De Fuca Grizzlies at 4:00 p.m. in Port McNeill.

Mainroad meets with Regional District of Mount Waddington

“It was really nice to have Mainroad there to give a presentation to the RD”

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

RCMP’s use of force in arrest of Island man not excessive, judge rules

Campbell River man high on cocaine led high speed chase through city’s downtown

Most Read