I recently started a new job. I love the work that I am tasked to do and for the most part I really like the organization and most other people that I work with.

My supervisor asked me in the interview if I would not mind training other colleagues to do my job to help with their capacity development. I said I was fine with this as I really wanted the job.

In the three weeks since I started I have found my colleagues apathetic about their jobs, and they do not equally share information with me regarding their roles and responsibilities. However, my biggest concern is training a colleague to take over and do my job. Additionally, my colleagues have been working with my supervisor longer than I have and they already have a good relationship with my supervisor.

I work in a small department, so I have no other choice but to train these colleagues. What perspective should I take on being asked to train other colleagues to do my work – is this a good thing or a bad thing? How should I proceed to train such colleagues, yet ensure my own job security in the future?

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6 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    You will get farthest in your career if you believe the best about everyone. Believe your coworkers are smart and capable and believe that you are, too. So you can share all you knowledge because you coworkers are good people who can work alongside you, and anyway, you will move onto do more challenging tasks.

    Don’t hoard knowledge. Its terrible for your career. It makes you look fearful instead of confident and petty instead of generous. Confident, helpful people are the ones who have true job security.

    Penelope

  2. Anna
    Anna says:

    I was thinking the same thing. Just move forward in faith. But then I thought maybe I was being naive. Penelope’s perspective confirmed my original instincts. Very interesting question and good advice.

  3. Pirate Jo
    Pirate Jo says:

    What Penelope said. Another good thing to be able to tell an interviewer in a job interview is that you are good at training people and documenting your procedures.

    Everyone hates documenting their procedures, but it’s one of a manager’s biggest fears that someone will leave the company and everyone will spend weeks scrambling to figure out what that person was doing and putting out fires.

    In my current contract role, there were no instructions anywhere for the job. It was very frustrating because someone was showing me how to do everything and I had to sit there and take all my own notes at the same time that I was trying to pay attention to what my trainer was telling me. She kept getting impatient and irritated at the time I spent writing things down.

    That isn’t going to happen when I train someone else. I already have everything documented and saved that needs to be written down. I can print it out for the new person to refer to, and then they can spend their time paying attention to me and asking questions. I’ve done this at probably half a dozen places already and different workplaces and am not afraid to bring it up in an interview. It’s solid gold from an interviewer’s perspective.

  4. Anna
    Anna says:

    Pirate Jo,

    That is good, practical advice on the topic–not just “should”, but specific “how”. It is advice I plan to take with me, in my back pocket, as a reminder. Thanks!

  5. Charles Binnington
    Charles Binnington says:

    Hopefully this is not about what to tell an interviewer to get a job.
    Sharing knowledge is one of the greatest gifts we have to give.
    I am assuming that all of your colleagues have their work to do. There is obviously enough to go around or else you would not have been hired. To with hold that is to live in fear and lack when you could be experiencing such great feelings of connection and contribution from sharing. My suspicions are that when people truly embrace what makes them tick at work then they reach that level of satisfaction and happiness that we all search for.
    I believe that Penelope is a good example of this and someone to emulate.
    I hope you can embrace that potential to connect and enjoy sharing of your knowledge and skill with others. Who knows you may uncover another skill.
    Charles

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