NROP: … And perform other duties as assigned. – A tale of extracurricular job duties.

Have you ever read a job description while looking for a new position and saw: “And perform other duties as assigned”? That translates to: “I am not sure what other duties this position engages in, so I will leave it open-ended”. While this seems to be common (managers not having a complete understanding of what their employees actually do), it raises a red flag for me. “Other duties”? That sounds like just about anything. Try and tell someone that whatever they asked you to do is not in your job description. You will here: “Last bullet point on your job description: “Other duties AS ASSIGNED” Now calm down and carry on with whatever I just told you to do.” Granted, I was never asked to analyze moon dust (outside of my scope/ job description), but I have been asked plenty of times to do things I thought I should not have been doing.

This post has been a long time coming, but there was always something else that I decided to write about. (Pro tip: Sometimes you are just not meant to write it at that time. Sometimes you should wait, other times you should discard the topic altogether. Pro tip no.2 keep a running list of those topics.) Funnily enough, throughout the past week or two I kept hearing more of the related stories. Now is the time. Here we go.

As you can already tell, this will be mainly about employees going above and beyond their scope of duties. The employees in this case are all police officers. First of all, I would like to say that I respect cops and am grateful for what they do to keep us safe. Second of all, I know they have plenty of things to do as is. If you have been in the workforce for more than a day, you know how busy your job can be. Granted, it might not be all day, every day, but I do not know anyone who had not complained about being busy in their work life.

A 5-year-old boy called 911… to order fast food. “Can you bring me McDonald’s?” – he asked when the dispatcher asked what his emergency was. Before you say that he is just a kid and he did not know what he was doing, keep reading. Naturally, it is the duty of the police to check on the kid to see if he was not in danger. So a cop was dispatched. On his way to the boys home, he stopped and got some McDonald’s for the kid. What if the kid actually was in danger? That couple of minutes wasted at the Drive-through might have made a life or death difference. Once no one answered the door at the boy’s address, the officer knocked on the window only to be told: “My grandma’s gonna be so mad, can you please go away?” So he DID know you should not call 911 for food delivery. Thankfully, the story ended with a happy ending. The grandmother, who was sleeping earlier and oblivious to this whole thing, was awakened, and the kid was counseled on when to call 911 and when not to do it. Do you know how the boy was able to call 911? He supposedly connected a deactivated phone to a wireless network. It seems like kids are born with all the tech knowledge nowadays.

This time around, a 6-year-old boy called 911 to report that loneliness was his emergency. (As I wrote that sentence, I realized it sounded a little bit like a mental crisis situation. Potentially. I will treat it as if it was not, though. While it is appropriate to call 911 for suicidal/ homicidal issues, one should exhaust other avenues first.) The boy reported being upset and needing a friend (911 is not for speed dating, son). Again, like in the example above, the cop had to respond and check on the well-being of the kid. Once he arrived, he was asked if he could be the boys friend. How sweet is that? The officer agreed without thinking twice. The article reports that “Officer White gave the boy a stuffed animal and even tied his shoes for him. The young man also got to sit in White’s patrol car and turn on the lights.” The boy was also promised welfare checks in the future whenever the officer would be in the area.

It is my hope that these two were taught a lesson – not to call 911 for non-emergencies. However, it seems that both of these boy’s whims were indulged, making them think there was nothing bad in what they did. Do they know that cops are often spread thin, and maybe while these boys were tended to, someone was getting shot because the patrolman was not where he was supposed to be?

The last story should warm your heart, because it proves there are good people in the world. A police officer was on his patrol when he spotted an elderly woman struggling with her lawn mower. He jumped out of his car and mowed the lawn for her. A passerby snapped a picture and posted in on Facebook in order to spotlight the act of kindness.

What I am particularly worried about is the after – effect. Sure, the publicity is good (we need citizens to be on the police’s side and not on that of criminals), but what happens when the dust settles? You know what I have been told before when I did some extracurricular activities? “Here is some more work. You can do it. No extra pay available. Go in peace.”, or “Well, if you have time to do all these extra things then you do not have enough to do. We either need you to do more, or cut your hours.” You seem how these are negative responses to positive actions? What do you think the person approving the funding for the police force will say when new budget is being drafted? “We can cut some of the personnel, because they have nothing to do other than mowing people’s lawns.”

Do you feel like your job requires “other duties”?

Are you OK with performing such?

Do you go above and beyond on your own volition?

How far do you go?

What do you think of those thoughtful police officers?

Stay golden,

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17 thoughts on “NROP: … And perform other duties as assigned. – A tale of extracurricular job duties.

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  1. I love your pro writing tips! I agree with you on the after effects of these stories. I think that the boy who called regarding loneliness did right for asking for help. Being so young, at least he knew where to ask for help.

    Going above and beyond is such a tricky topic for me. There’s always some way we can put more effort, do more for others, go the extra mile for them. For me, it’s about finding a balance to it. For example, if I have the time and energy I usually don’t mind to go the extra mile, but when I don’t that expectation of going the extra mile only adds stress.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Goldie! Excellent post! I did plenty of extracurricular duties in my job. Why? Because I believed it will bring good results. What did it bring? More and more tasks. It started with: “I would need your help with…”. I wanted to impress my client or my manager proving I can do it. But then, when something went wrong, I was the one blamed for the failure.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great stories. I live with a retired cop that did stuff like that…not those, specifically but, similar. He was sharing a story with me, tonight, regarding one of his *stops*. He stopped a guy with a license plate that didn’t look quite right. As it turned out, the guy had an insurance lapse and his plate was revoked for 30 days. He needed to get to work so…he created his own plate, with incredible detail (an actual painting, no less). Ken realized something was odd about the plate but, he wasn’t sure what…until he pulled it off and examined it. The date sticker was not complete as the guy stated that he didn’t have a paint brush small enough for that. Ken confiscated the plate, kept it, had the guy’s car towed…and took him to work. He didn’t even write him a citation. He had an appreciation for the guy’s talent…and desperation to go to work. The guy couldn’t afford to pay the fee to get his plate reinstated. He had to wait the full 30 days. Ken suggested other means than painted plates or else, the two might go thru this, again.

    Those kids…I call that bad parenting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for sharing that story. Wow. That guy really WAS dedicated. And I’m glad your partner was able to help. Respect for both. I hope the guy doesn’t go on thinking that cops are cab drivers now that he got a ride.

      As a kid, I would have never thought of doing such a thing. I don’t want to think what would have happened to me if I attempted anything remotely like that…

      Like

      1. Hard to tell if the guy expected other cops to act like Ken. That incident happened at least 25, 30 years ago.

        Considering I was raised in LE, I learned about all that stuff early on. But, yeah. I would have been in serious trouble for all that nonsense.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. This reminds me of that time last year when I was teaching so many subjects at a secondary school. It was the beginning of the term. School normally ends by 3:30 PM (for secondary schools) on Mondays through to Fridays, except those times when the senior students are asked to wait for after-school lessons. In such cases, school would end by 5 PM.

    After-school lessons usually don’t start until five weeks after resumption, and I wasn’t supposed to be the one who’d be taking them after-school lessons. Another teacher was going to be PAID to do it.

    But during my first week, I felt like I could organise MY after-school lesson for my students for the five weeks they weren’t supposed to do them. Of course, I asked them first if they liked the idea or not, and they said they did. The goal was to cover more grounds since they were lagging behind in their syllabus.

    The school didn’t pay me for my after-school lessons, and I didn’t expect them to, anyway. (Remember in Coffee’s podcast that I said I taught people for free on Saturdays? This is what inspired that idea.)

    What am I getting at? Five weeks after school resumed, the teacher who was supposed to take them their after-school lessons didn’t show up. Apparently, the school had noticed the effect my teaching was having on students’ performance, so they asked me to continue those lessons till the end of the term. And hey, they didn’t pay me for it. I was also asked to teach on Saturdays from 8AM till 12PM, but I would always teach till 3PM because I enjoyed teaching. The kids made the whole experience so much fun.

    You asked how far I can go? I’ve had so many jobs where I was asked to do something I felt like I shouldn’t be doing. In most of those cases, I’d always protested; although my protests usually fell on deaf ears. But I guess when those “other duties” are something you naturally enjoy doing (like teaching for extra hours, in my case), things become much easier.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. See, that is what bothers me – Why were they ready to pay someone, but not you? Why instead of rewarding dedication, they choose to abuse it? It’s just not fair. I don’t think it’s right. I think it’s immoral.

      I know what you mean by “deaf ears”. In the end, they know that we will still get the job done. It does make it a whole lot easier if you’re passionate about something. Still no reason for others to take advantage of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. No good deed goes unpunished!
    Sadly the more you do for some, the more they expect and the less they appreciate. I’ve had far too many bosses and coworkers like that. Case in point: the day I took my citizenship my boss only let me have the morning off. I wanted to whole day to celebrate but she made a hair appointment forgetting I had booked the time off – so guess who had to be accommodating?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was exactly what I was going to write (about deeds and punishment), but it must have escaped my fingers.

      I’d give you a day off and throw you a party the next day. I think it’s a great reason to celebrate.

      Yup. Totally relate.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Thank you!|

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It depends what you’re trying to write about. Having inspiration definitely helps. Sitting down with no ideas can be hard. I’d recommend carrying a notebook and a pen with you wherever you go and jotting down ideas, which you can then use for a post. Being relaxed helps, too. If I don’t know how to start, I think about what I would say if I was talking to myself.

      Like

  7. Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Feel free to reach out to me through the Contact page. Setting up a blog is rather easy. There’s more or less involved depending on which platform you choose, etc. Let me know your thoughts in a private message and I will help however I can.

      Like

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Rachael Ritchey

Worlds of Fiction

from famine to feast

recovery and growth, things that interest me, occasional deep-thoughts, and semi-regular poetry

Skeptical Heartism

Views from a skeptical heart

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