Duties as Assigned
It was almost 11 years ago, I joined the registrar’s office at a local university. The first month in the position was pretty smooth and I remember the month ending with the sense that I knew some of the answers, or at least knew where to look to find them. The position brought great work-life balance and my heart was full.
And then came month two.
One of my colleagues, 8 ½ months pregnant, was preparing for her maternity leave and I was included in the coverage plan to take on some of her work. Another colleague encountered a significant health concern and I was again included in the coverage plan for her duties. Finally, our university began the transition to a new Student Information System, migrating large volumes of records and data to the new software, and I was invited to join the implementation team.
So, after the honeymoon period of month one, I was introduced to “other duties as assigned” in month two.
It was a bit of a hectic season and required a great deal of resilience and endurance.
When we encounter “other duties as assigned” we have the opportunity to check the attitude of our heart. On one hand, work can feel taxing when we assume new responsibilities and we feel stretched. On the other hand, these “add-ons” can provide a fabulous arena to extend ourselves in new ways – to learn new things and to enter uncharted waters. Most important, “other duties as assigned” serve to get us out of our boxes, connecting us to new people in different ways.
In hindsight, I see how those “other duties” introduced me to new people that, in turn, brought more “other duties.” It was almost like every time I said “yes” to one invitation, that “yes” opened doors to even more opportunities. In looking back, I see that I could not have planned out my destination, I could only walk in faith one step at a time. And what an incredible adventure it was when I released my white knuckle grip and quit trying to plan it all out myself.
And, oh, the people. There were so many wonderful colleagues in the mix.
We would work together, eat together, down some coffees, strategize, and even disagree together. I was able to break out of my silo and enter a larger network. A broad network of relationships was woven together like a beautiful tapestry. The people made the work meaningful and the collaboration brought wins.
In February of this year, I submitted my resignation notice for the position I held for over 10 years. I shed my job description and cleaned out my office space. There was even a farewell celebration and, through that event, I had the gift of seeing a small swatch of the relational tapestry woven together over the span of a decade. Each colorful strand intertwined in the larger fabric.
So why did I leave? I would not describe myself as a risk taker but, in my spirit, I knew it was time. It was time to step out of my comfort zone to expand and grow in new ways. It was time to leave behind the familiar, and with faith, enter the uncharted waters. It was time to venture into new opportunities and weave new strands into the relational tapestry.
It was time to take a leap, knowing that the net would appear.
And now, living into this new season, I continue to wonder “what is next?” Yet as I think back over the last decade, and recognizing the amazing opportunities and people I encountered, I can’t help but smile knowing that I get to spend some time on some “other duties as assigned” and watch as the journey continues to unfold one step at a time.
Jen Macnab is an avid reader, writer, runner. She lives in Tigard with her husband, Drew, and two daughters, Anna and Avery. “Other duties as assigned” for Jen has come to include making dinner from scratch, cheering for her girls at their sporting events, volunteering with the community cafe at church, writing her first book, and working part-time supporting a Thriving Pastors program.