I frequently give Tim Sieck a hard time about one of our top ranking blog articles. The name of the blog article is What is a Stretch Assignment? It really is a great article so you should take a few minutes and read it if you haven’t already. The article defines what a stretch assignment is and explains how managers can use stretch assignments to develop their employees. You may be wondering why I give Tim such a hard time about such a successful blog article. Let me explain a little bit.
First of all, as far as blog articles go, this particular one is pretty short and sweet. Good information and right to the point. Secondly, when this article started to gain a lot of traction, I was convinced that it was a mistake and that Googlers were actually searching for information about stretching and not truly about stretch assignments. This is one time when I will admit that I was wrong. It turns out that many managers and employees are truly searching for more information about stretch assignments.
Now this topic has become an ongoing joke between the two of us. For example, a few weeks ago Tim texted me to say that Fast Company had reached out to him to ask a few questions about stretch assignments. I, of course, laughed and wondered if they would be writing an article about stretching and stress relief for executives. As it turns out, they wanted to hear what Tim had to say about when it makes sense to turn down assignments at work. You can read the full article, When It’s a Better Career Move to Turn Down a Big Assignment from Your Boss, but here are some reasons to think about saying no:
- You know you are going to fail.
- Your boss is making a pattern of these “stretch” assignments by dumping on you.
- The assignment doesn’t feed a passion or fit with your career goals.
- It’s unethical or illegal.
- You are already overloaded.