ASK HR: Should there be a layoff, you will be the first out the door

Thursday September 14 2017

On most days, I am usually done with my

On most days, I am usually done with my assignments by midday. I spend the rest of the afternoon listening to music on YouTube. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JANE MUIRURI
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Q. I am in my early 30s and work as a secretary in a local engineering firm. I have secretarial qualifications. There are also two more secretaries in other departments. On most days, I am usually done with my assignments by midday. I spend the rest of the afternoon listening to music on YouTube. I feel that I should put these hours to proper use by looking for online jobs. Should I request my boss permission to start a side hustle or do it secretly? My boss knows that seldom do I have work-related assignments in the afternoon.

We’re in the digital age, so most managers are able to do their own work and therefore do not need secretaries. As a result, the role of a secretary is gradually being eliminated in most organisations.

I have seen secretaries who have progressed through the career ladder to higher roles within the organisation, mostly in administration. You are still a young woman, so I encourage you to check within the organisation to determine which role you would be interested in.

Meanwhile, ask your supervisor for more responsibilities to keep you occupied the entire day. You could also offer your services in the administration department to gain more skills, which will make you a candidate for future promotion within the organisation. How about also enrolling for a part-time degree program to upgrade your education? This is a better way to spend your afternoon.

The other option is to look for another job where your skills will be fully utilised.

That said, I need to point out that you are paid to work within certain hours, so your being idle could be considered indirectly robbing your employer.

When times are difficult for organisations the people who are considered for layoff are the ones that do not add value to the organisation. From what you say, your role is not contributing to the organisation in a critical manner, and would therefore most probably be one of the roles to be eliminated.

About the side hustle, I doubt if any organisation would allow staff to pursue other jobs during working hours, therefore I would advise that you don’t pursue that route, otherwise you might just be declaring yourself “redundant”.