“Grunt work” is a term often used to describe the boring, meaningless tasks assigned to interns or entry-level employees. These tasks usually have nothing to do with the projects you were hired for, and can seem like they are a waste of your time and talents.
Common examples of office grunt work include alphabetizing and filing documents, unpacking or sorting supplies, getting coffee, data entry, and answering phones or covering the front desk while someone is on a break.
These tasks aren’t exciting, but they are not meaningless.
The next time a supervisor give you grunt work, say a silent “thank you.” You were just handed the opportunity to boost your career.
Here are 10 reasons to be happy about grunt work.
- You said you are a team player. This is your chance to prove it.
- Doing a menial task without complaining or procrastinating shows maturity and responsibility.
- If you are doing an unpleasant task with another person, it’s a good chance to get to know each other better.
- Just because a task isn’t challenging doesn’t mean that it’s not important to the company’s operations.
- Many grunt jobs are highly visible. The boss will notice when it’s done — and you will get the credit.
- Some tasks allow you the chance to learn more about the company’s history, operations or main clients.
- Completing the task on time shows that you are able to manage your time.
- You’ve proven that you are a “go-to” person, and are more likely to be trusted with more responsibility or “better” projects.
- If you don’t do the grunt job, your boss or someone else will have to. By doing it, however, you are solving a problem for him or her, and that’s a good thing.
- Some tasks are a nice break from your routine. You get to walk around, go outside, visit another office, or just get away from the computer screen for a while.
Grunt work is not just for entry-level employees. Most people have some tasks that they’d rather not do. As editor of a publication, I’m responsible for all aspects of its production and distribution — including occasionally printing up labels and mailing copies to customers. It’s not pretty, but it is necessary.
If you feel like your supervisor is asking you to do more menial tasks than other coworkers at your level, or you are spending more time doing grunt work than the projects you were hired to do, then talk with your supervisor. Let him or her know that you will do your fair share of the “boring stuff,” but you’d like the opportunity to use the skills you were hired to use.
Bottom line: When you do a good job, no matter how small the task is, your supervisors and coworkers will think positively about you. The same is true when you don’t do a good job, or fail to complete something.
Even if you think the grunt work is no big deal, it could make a dent — or boost — in your career.