Wednesday 29 February 2012

Is there such a thing as being too helpful?

Today I am taking part in the Multi-Coloured Blog Swap Carnival that is the brainchild of Troubles Mummy over at Trouble Doubled. You can see my post over at It Takes A Women and it is about why I am longing for the summer..

But for today you can find the lovely Fay blogging here, I expect many of my readers may know Fay already, as she is a regular on Reasons to be Cheerful.  I'll let her introduce herself properly to you....

I'm a glass half full type of girl who started the blog in March 2011 to help me through illness and weight loss. FayC Glass Half Full helped me put some order to the chaotic thoughts going through my head and turn things around and see things in a positive light. Writing about my hysterectomy to treat uterine cancer, losing weight and getting fit has shaped the randomness of the blog but the thread woven through is optimism. I participate in various meme's including Michelle's Reasons to be Cheerful so there are some regular post types in there too!

I was recently diagnosed with kidney cancer (I know, what are the chances of that! Some might say unlucky but it was found by chance, that is luck!) so expect more of the same!!!

The Oxford online dictionary says Helpful:
Image Credit
giving or ready to give help:
people are friendly and helpful
helpful staff

We’ve got a brilliant system as work called ‘Shout.’ It’s an online tool where anyone in the company can send a colleague a shout for being brilliant. It’s a non-monetary recognition scheme and I love it. If I feel someone went above and beyond and really made my life easier that day, I will ‘Shout’ them. It takes a couple of minutes and formally recognises when they’ve been great. And I love getting Shouts back.

I recently had to reapply for a position at work and needed to go through the interview process. I was luckily successful (phew!) and took the opportunity to ask for feedback from the interview panel. Now for me this is a big deal and I was little bit apprehensive about what would come back.

I know I shouldn’t, but I really care what people think about me so I have an aversion to asking for feedback. What if they don’t like me? What if I really annoy them!? I would rather live in ignorance sometimes!

Luckily most things were positive (maybe I asked for feedback this time round because I can’t have done too badly if I got the job right…?) The one thing which was pointed out though, really stuck in my head;
‘Maybe I make myself too accessible to people? Something for me to consider going forward’

And at my end of year review, a couple of months later, my Manager mentioned the number of Shouts I received; ‘Was this maybe getting in the way of me doing my job?’

What? How ridiculous! I am a warm human being, who likes to be liked (see above).

What’s the problem in being helpful? Surely it’s a good thing to be? What planet are they on?

Am I being too helpful?

Is being helpful a bad thing?

My role is a support function, I PA for the director and complete all the administration for our team. Plus I manage the co-ordination of a schedule of management courses for the company, so I get to talk to a lot of people! I like being helpful, I get pleasure from doing my job, doing my job well and where possible doing a little bit more to make their job a bit easier

Surely being helpful is just being considerate, and if I can complete a task quickly why make them do it.

So why did I get feedback to say maybe I was too helpful? Surely I was doing the right thing, to be helpful and in the process makimg me feel warm and fuzzy inside?

It’s taken a while, but I think I’ve worked out what they were getting at.

If I complete a task for someone, a task they can easily complete themselves, am I really helping? Next time the task is due, they may be more likely to ask me (come on you know it’s true, be honest, we are all guilty of doing it!)

What if I’m not there, what if I haven’t got the time to do it? Where does that leave us both? I potentially will feel awful having to say no or worse, get bogged down with more work than I can cope with. Or if I’m not around, they have to find someone else to help and potentially the cycle starts again with some other poor soul.

So maybe my being helpful isn’t so helpful in the long term.

There’s a fine line, a balancing act to be done. I’ve needed to learn to teach people to fish so they can feed themselves a life time, rather than just for the day. This has worked for me as I still get the fuzzy glow (and the need to please and get people to like me!) but still be helpful.

But what do you think?

Picture 13
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