Today marked the start of a very busy week at work for me. One of my co-workers got married over the weekend, and I’m covering for a large portion of her work this week while she’s on her honeymoon. While I feel she did a good job of training me during the month or so before she left, there are always things that come up that you didn’t learn. Also, the backup is never quite as proficient as the person they’re filling in for, so things that normally take her no time at all take me a bit longer simply because I haven’t done them as many times. In addition to that, there is a project for my own position that needs to be finalized by the end of this week. In other words, this week you won’t be seeing any posts over the lunch hour like I normally do. Instead, they’ll most likely be evening/night posts.
I know a good number of people that would take a very negative approach to this situation. They would complain the entire week about having to do someone else’s work. They may have to work through their lunch hour or stay a little late in the evening and moan and groan about it. But the reality is that being a backup for another position is one of the best things you can do at work. Here is why:
You Learn Additional Skills: Being the backup to another position means you’re learning things beyond your current job duties. This can help with better understanding the workflow in your department and having a better appreciation of what your co-workers do. It’s pretty easy to think your job is so much more involved than your co-workers until you’ve actually sat and done their job for a week. An expanded skillset means you are worth more to your employer. Even beyond your employer, those new skills can be just as useful if you’re seeking a move to another employer.
It Shows Your Manager Trusts You: Being the backup to another position means you’re manager thinks you are capable of handling additional tasks on top of your normal responsibilities (albeit on a temporary basis). This means a lot, especially if the person is going to miss a week or more of work. We’ve all seen someone at work that nobody wants as their backup. These are the people who do a poor job, so when you come back from your vacation you spend most of your first week back fixing all the mistakes that your backup made. Usually this only happens once, and the manager never asks them to be a backup again.
It’s Good to Really be Pushed Occasionally: Let’s face it. If you’ve worked the same job for a while, it’s easy to get complacent. Things can get pretty routine and even “boring”. Having to take on additional responsibilities every once in a while is a good change of pace. It gets your mind thinking in ways it doesn’t typically have to think, which is a good thing.
Have you ever had to perform backup duty at work? What’s your opinion on being someone’s backup?