How to avoid doing something you're good at?

So uh, let’s say your company finds out you’re good at something, so they ask you to do it. You hate it, but as a gesture of goodwill you do it, but then it gradually becomes the only thing you do because you’re really good at it and no one else knows how to do it. Kind of makes me want to pretend that I don’t know how to do it.

But you’re really interested in doing other things that you see as being the future of your career. How do you go about doing more of that instead?

Can you automate it or document it and pass it on to someone else as a “learning experience”, cross- training, etc.?

I could, but the thing is they’re really big fans of this proprietary no-code software which is good for mocking up things really fast but bad for long-term maintainability. First time I was like okay fine but I’m not doing it again and then…

If I had my way I would use the hi-code solution, in an open-source language, which is easier to maintain, can be automated, but does take a bit longer to set up.

  1. Document the process.
  2. Make sure that someone else is trained in the process.
  3. Talk to the boss and explain that you’d like more variety in your work.
  4. Take a long enough vacation to make sure that someone else does it at least a little bit.

If this doesn’t work you may need to look for a different job.

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I think the problem is they want me to keep using the process to build new stuff, I actually want to use a different framework that solves/avoids many of the deficiencies of that process. I actually think training someone in the current process is like teaching a new parent to spank their kid when that’s kind of not how things should be done these days.

If you were really good at it, then you’d know how to do it “just good enough” to look competent but “just bad enough” that they’re going to look for someone else to do it better.

Having been a part of a number of major software implementations, unfortunately the decision makers that pull the trigger on said purchases often aren’t the most knowledgeable. That ship has sailed, and the decision makers would like the current infrastructure/employees to validate what a good deal they struck.

If this product is something you don’t want to play with, I agree that training others would be a good approach. It could lead to strong job security if you will be the guy to use the product to build new stuff.

Hmmm, it’s kind of like giving a microwave to a chef and telling him to use that because it cooks all the food faster and anyone can use it. And then they want you to train all the future generations of aspiring chefs to use the microwave. No way man! I got this nice grill here and I know how to use it.

Somebody spent $5M on that microwave. If it’s fast, efficient, and if anyone can use it they’d argue it’s money well spent vs the private chef that will prepare the dish perfectly. They’ll argue that regardless, as they already spent the money. The politics around software amortization can be a PITA. Carry that piano around for years, vs cut your losses and take the hit now.

Tell my wife to clean the dishes. Yes, I’m better at it, but I don’t like what it does to my delicate hands.

Wait, this is the NOT The Sandbox, is it?

So, do it your way and their way. Then, make it look like you’re doing it their way.
Do it both ways, time yourself, then tell your boss how much time you are wasting doing it their way.
if these fail, then start looking for another job.



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what if the customer really likes pizza pockets?

Not the best solution, but I personally solved this problem by switching jobs and then not telling anybody at the new job my skills at doing X thing that I hated to do, and focusing on my other more enjoyable skills in the interview and at the job. Staying at old job endlessly had me being pulled back into the work I disliked but was good at.

Dat time I worked in a garden center and the boss kept insisting I was so good at weeding.

That’s cool and all but what do you do if the subject comes up in the future?

Like someone at your new company says, “hey lllj have you heard of this thing called XYZ, it’s really cool!”

Would you be like, “oh man, here we go again…uh XYZ? Oh that, uh that sounds umm…hard, way out of my league, yeah…”


Can you demonstrate how the system will break and how your solution will be more sustainable?

It’s all about the jargon, man. If you use words like “development opportunity” and “collaborative delegation” and “key person risk” (hey that one is actually real) and crap like that, you’ll convince the people making decisions that it’s in their best interest to have other people learn how to do it.

Or…you could just have an honest conversation about your role and expectations and what you would need from them to make this a formal part of your role, and what you’d need to offload, and let them see it’s not worth your time to take it on.