Never make the coffee. I’m gearing this short article toward the more introverted among us. Too often, we attempt to fit in by taking on tasks and “small favors” for which we were not hired or even suited. Such behavior is never good for your career.
Working at the Entrepreneurial Institute at New Mexico State University, our CEO and former state governor would, in fact, come in and make the coffee. But academia tends to have flatter hierarchies – at least among staff. They are less risk-averse and have more open communication structures than most institutions. Students and administrative assistants regularly attended high-level meetings and not to take notes. Their perspectives and experiences were valued equally as part of the conversation.
Associates know and remember you by your most immediate utility.
Most businesses, outside of more progressive industries such as high tech, are understandably more risk averse. Roles and the inherent value of those roles are starkly defined. Introverts will, in a misguided attempt to seem outgoing or even to ingratiate themselves, too often volunteer for mundane duties. If you are a young engineer or graphic designer who volunteers to take notes at a particular meeting, be prepared to find your role become that of Official Keeper of the Minutes.