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How Managers and Employees Can Navigate the True Demands of the Job

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Fri, Mar 14, 2014

Beyond the Job Description

by Jesse Sostrin, PhD (HOC '08)

Remember back to your first few days in a new job. If you’re like most people, you quickly discovered that the “job description” that explained your role was quite different from the reality you faced.

Jesse SostrinNobody told you this, but the day you were hired you actually accepted two jobs. The first was the position you interviewed for, including the title and all of the responsibilities outlined on paper. The second “job-within-the-job” included the unspoken work that required you to manage constant change, effectively collaborate with difficult people, navigate confusing workplace politics, and get your best work done in an environment of shrinking resources and increasing demands.

In Beyond the Job Description: How Managers and Employees Can Meet the True Demands of the Job (Palgrave Macmillan; December 17, 2013), I explain what this double reality means for managers and employees and why this is what matters most.

In today’s competitive landscape, standing out, getting ahead of the change curve, and staying relevant at work comes from the ability to go beyond your job description and continuously improve your learning and performance as you confront the hidden demands of work. These two factors—the need for continuous learning and performance and the presence of performance barriers—form what Sostrin calls the hidden curriculum of work.

The book provides research-driven insights, diagnostic tools, and stories of employees and leaders who have managed to turn their greatest challenges at work into opportunities for breakthrough performance. It is no longer an option to simply ignore the hidden curriculum of work.

Beyond the Job Description translates the world of work and leads readers on a critical path to:beyond cover resized 600

  • Discover the mutual agenda where your individual values and aspirations align with the needs of the team and the goals of your organization;
  • Know what is most important right now and focus on the vital purpose and value-added contributions that can help you stand out and stay ahead of the change curve;
  • Establish a system to identify hidden challenges that undermine your performance and learn to transform those barriers into opportunities for improved learning and performance; and
  • Develop a clear vision and plan to achieve the working life you want.

What we read on our job descriptions and on our business cards, and what we encounter in the actual workplace, are two very different things. This is the double-reality of work in action. My passion is to help people identify their hidden curriculum of work®, learn how to manage it, and start on the path to Future-Proof their careers by standing out, staying ahead of the change curve, and remaining relevant on the job.

When we face the hidden curriculum of work without a plan we often fail to contribute our best effort, we lose sight of the things that inspire us, and we disengage. Beyond the Job Description can help you translate your frustrations at work into useful insights that boost your learning and performance and increase the value of your contributions to the team and organization.

About the Author: Jesse Sostrin is a consultant, writer, and speaker working at the intersection of individual and organizational success. He is best known for translating complex ideas about the workplace into simple language and useful tools. He is the Founder and President of Sostrin Consulting, a leadership and organization development practice and he previously served as the Vice President of Workforce, Leadership & Organization Development at Wilshire Health & Community Services in San Luis Obispo, CA. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as education, government, and non-profit sector organizations including University of Arizona, InfoGard Laboratories, PR Newswire, Hyatt, MillerCoors, Walmart, ConAgra, Microsoft, and Allstate. Sostrin is also an experienced academic, teaching courses at UC Davis and serving as an adjunct faculty member at the Orfalea College of business at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He is the author of another book Re-Making Communication at Work. He has a PhD in Human and Organizational Systems, and a MA in Organization Management & Development. 

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In Beyond the Job Description: How Managers and Employees Can Meet the True Demands of the Job