“Hey, you got a minute?
I need a favor.
Are you available for a quick project?
I know it’s 5 pm on Friday, but this is important.
Boss wants it first thing Monday.
Oh, great, you don’t mind? You don’t mind working this weekend? All this weekend?
You’re the best. We knew we could count on you! Such a team-player!”
Hey, you. Yeah, YOU. Is this you?
The Don’t Worry, I’ll Take Care of It Employee?
The One Who Can Always Be Counted On to Come Through?
The Go-To Girl Who Gets Everything Done?
I know you. Because I was you.
You pride yourself on your ability to leave no task unfinished.
You describe yourself with words like “reliable,” “dependable,” “team-player.”
You raise your hand at every opportunity, hoping to demonstrate your value.
You derive your value from the work you do. So doing more of it must mean you are More Valuable, right?
Let me ask you a question, Go-To Girl.
What are they going to you for?
Are they going to you with the Big Project, the one that’s going to advance your career?
The Key Initiative you were hoping to land?
A seat at the table for the Major Meeting (where someone else is taking the notes)?
Or are they Going to You with other stuff…
You know, the stuff that no one else wants to do?
Do they Go to You with the credit when it’s due or does that always seem to go… elsewhere?
I get it, Go-To Girl…
You want to do a Good Job!
You convince yourself you don’t need the accolades, you’re just happy to be here!
And then, over time, you silently seethe as you watch the gates open for Gregarious Greg and Good Ol’ Gary while you… Get Back to Work.
You’re a Worker Bee! The buzz is certainly out about that.
You’re such a good worker, you get more…
Not More of What You Want, mind you. Nope – no Bigger Title, Preferable Projects, or Positive Promotion for you, Go-To Girl!
Just More of the same.
More last-minute requests.
More dropped balls for you to retrieve.
More holes in the dam you try to plug, hoping that nothing leaks through that you can’t mop up without notice.
I say damn that dam!
Let me ask you a question:
Do you like what you’re doing? Is it all that you were meant to do?
Or do you want more of something… More?
Well, Go Get It, Go-To Girl…
What if instead of doing only what everyone else wants of you, you started asking for what you want?
The very thought makes you uncomfortable.
You don’t want to be labeled unreliable or undependable!
But you no longer want to be undervalued.
If you’re the Team Player that’s always sitting on the bench for the Big Game, it’s time to start acting like the MVP.
Stop relying on the narrative that you have to constantly prove your worth.
You already are worthy.
You created that value, now claim it.
Remind them of your value and how you can create even more of it.
Next time they Go to You, go ask for something in return.
Sure, you can help with the last-minute project… and next week you’d love the opportunity to sit in on the strategizing at the Big Meeting.
Or, no, without advance notice you are not available for that last-minute project but with some access and oversight, you can help them avoid those Friday fire drills.
They can rely on you – depend on you – to help them get more done.
Go to It, Go-To Girl.
Don’t get stuck with your fingers in the dam.
Flood your future with more of what you want.
Valerie Gordon is an award-winning television producer and the founder of career and communications strategy firm Commander-in-She. She partners with corporations to train high-achievers on the storytelling strategies necessary to ascend the leadership ladder and speaks at conferences about the power of storytelling.