You simply left her meeting v your boss, and also your head is spinning. She assigned you to a new project and you feeling super unclear about several aspects of it.

You are watching: You have been given an assignment by your supervisor

I’ve been here before—a lot. The not very fun. And while it’s right for supervisors to current their employees with all the crucial details indigenous the start, it doesn’t constantly happen.

So due to the fact that I hate emotion destined because that failure, i have outlined four questions I constantly when I’m provided a job with tiny to no instruction. Not only is that a good way to show initiative, yet it provides the totality project a lot much less painful.

1. When Is the Due?

There’s a very large difference between something early by the finish of today and a attributed of “next month” or “by following year in ~ this time.”

When I began my present gig, my director told me every the purposes she had actually for our team and also my position. I walked the five yards ago to mine office, looked at my list, and immediately placed the push on myself come finish every little thing right now, ASAP, through the end of the day, or else!

When I ultimately expressed exactly how overwhelmed ns was to her, she clarified that, no, she didn’t suppose me to it is in a miracle worker. Because while part things, choose the “Safe spring Break” event, necessary to be completed by a certain date (like, um, before feather break), others had much more lenient timelines—or none at all.

You don’t desire to assume it needs to be done best this an extremely moment and drop everything else to tackle it, nor perform you desire to run under the presumption that that not urgent (because if the is—and girlfriend don’t complete it ~ above time—well, that’s a problem. And awkward).

2. Is there Anyone rather I should Talk to about This?

There very well might be civilization who’ve worked on this precise assignment before. You’ll desire to recognize if yes sir a certain place you should pick up, if there are methods they tried the didn’t work, or if castle have any type of other advantageous tips because that you.

Furthermore, there might be people who you have to be collaborating and also splitting the workload with. You don’t should take top top every solitary assignment totally solo. (Because you don’t have to be a miracle worker, either!)

Lastly, it’ll aid ensure girlfriend gain any type of approval needed. For example, if i’m told to provide a statement come the university paper about something in our office, I have to run the by the communications director prior to I make any sort that peep.

3. Why Am ns Doing This?

I know, i know—this appears snarky in ~ first. Yet in no method do ns intend for you come lace this inquiry with sass. What ns do intend is because that you come ask your ceo for the objective of what she assigned you.

Not only do ns think this can aid you tie an ext value to the job-related you’re doing, however it can also carry out important context that’ll help you decision which direction to steer in.

For instance, if ns asked to setup a stress administration tips workshop and also leave the room without questioning the question, I’ll danger going around it the wrong way. Since if the target audience is undergraduate students, ns most most likely going to select an evening time slot when many don’t have class. It’ll referral the usual stressors students face—balancing schedules for class, organizations, studying for finals, and so forth.

If it’s for the staff, though, i’ll schedule it during the usual of 9-to-5 workday and address topics together as managing an impossible co-worker, work-life balance, taking treatment of the kids or an aging household member, etc.

If i don’t understand who the regimen is for, it’s difficult to make it relatable.

4. What exactly Are girlfriend Expecting native Me?

At the start of the fall semester, my manager inquiry me to assist with a student company fair. Ns ensured some of our college student signed up to job-related at the table and gathered all the materials.

And then, the day before, I had actually a slim freak out. Oh crap, ns thought. I completely forgot to book the really table because that this event, and the scheduling device usually bring away at least three days come confirm!

A few hours later, i learned my supervisor had currently done the part. Phew! but if I’d well-known from the start which items to be on her to-do list and also which ones were on mine, I could have skipped the two hours of do the efforts to lug down really elevated heart rate.

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Yes, as I stated before, the nice once your manager lays out every little thing for friend from the get go. But here’s the thing: You may not have a good boss. And, even if friend do, he’s most likely not perfect, and also he probably has a lot walking on. It’s also component of your responsibility to be questioning the best questions and also to get as much info as possible. Setting yourself up for success is fun—I promise!—and these four questions will assist you do so.


Abby is a writer, job coach, and also health educator life in Portland, Maine. Once she’s not trying to make the civilization a happier and healthier place, friend can discover her cuddling with her cats, hunting down the city"s best coffee and grilled cheese, or dipping her toes in the Atlantic. Say hello on Twitter .