Are you willing to go above and beyond when it comes to doing additional tasks, even when it's outside your job description, or would you reply “it’s not my job”? Such a small little phrase, but it can be “career limiting” and have negative repercussions, if you regularly refuse to do work outside your remit.
Personally, I’ve always taken on additional duties when possible, even if they're outside my job description. Of course, only if I had the capacity and ability to successfully complete the tasks. I’ve no doubt that my flexibility paid off in the end and served me well when it came to promotions.
But let’s be clear here. I’m not saying you should never refuse additional work. You definitely need to be able to say NO as well. Having the confidence to refuse additional work is a strength if you have a genuine reason why you can’t do it, but it’s important that you approach the matter diplomatically and have a positive discussion with the parties involved. It's important to give valid reasons why you cannot accept the additional workload.
So, on a different note, what if you see a problem or something that needs urgent attention at work and it's "not your job"? Personally I believe it's everyone's responsibility to ensure that urgent matters are dealt with efficiently and effectively to reduce damage. At the very least we should report the issue to the appropriate team. If it’s a dangerous situation you will also need to ensure that measures are taken to reduce danger, to protect other people and business equipment and property. “Doing nothing” is not an option and you should never assume that someone else will address the problem just because you’re too busy “doing your own job”.
Here’s a great little story about this very situation;
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.
Video in Post on Social Media - Credit: Philippe Alcaras - CEO AirTies