Mezzanine Dork
11/18/22 2:04 p.m.

Background: There's a lot of details to this story that I'll spare you for brevity, but these are the highlights.

I gained significant new responsibilities at work just over a year ago and haven't had my pay adjusted to reflect it yet. My VP of HR and IT (the boss of my boss), asked me re-write my own job description. There was discussion about increasing my pay when I gained these new responsibilities, but these did not show up in my annual/merit pay increases. They suggested the pay adjustment might go back to when I submitted the revised job description, not to when I actually took on the duties (a difference of 6 months at least). Here are my questions: 

  1. Is it normal to ask an employee to write or edit their own job descriptions? I do this for all the employees that report to me, but find it strange to do it for my own job. 
  2. What are the chances they will compensate me for the 13 months that I did the additional work in addition to just increasing my pay going forward? How have you seen this work? 
Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso SuperDork
11/18/22 2:16 p.m.

1. I've never heard of that but it wouldn't surprise me if it is done in the work place. 

2. Zero. 

NY Nick
NY Nick Dork
11/18/22 2:24 p.m.

1- I think it is awful and I also think it is normal. I have been asked to do it for my last three roles. I also have had to write them for all of my employees, even ones that should have "standard job descriptions". This includes roles like Manufacturing Engineer (I,II, and III), ME Tech, Controls Engineer. I think it speaks to poor management of an organization when these are done by HR or senior leaders. 

2- I have never seen back pay for something like that but I hope you get it.  Also poor / short sighted management to not pay someone for what they are doing.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/18/22 2:36 p.m.

1. Never had to write my own job description.

2. I've received retroactive pay increases twice in my career, but the most retro was something like 2.5 months.  I don't remember how it was listed on my pay stub.

slefain UltimaDork
11/18/22 3:05 p.m.

I once pointed out that I was doing way more than my job description and my boss pointed to "....and other duties as needed..." in the description. So I'd leave that out if I were you.

Now I work for myself.

mtn MegaDork
11/18/22 3:19 p.m.

I have had to write my own job description in two situations: 

  1. Massive re-orgs and turnover that have resulted in my being moved to new teams
  2. When we're hiring for essentially the same position that I am in


For the first, I get as detailed as I can with the minutia of my daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly/annual tasks. I make it sound like I'm doing the work of 4 people, even if one of the tasks literally takes a minute a day. Use it to your own advantage. 

For the second, I am a big fan of it as I get to write the job description correctly for candidates, because more often than not, if we let HR or a manager write them, we'll end up with a generic list of vague business/finance/IT terms that don't really hone in on what an appropriate candidate looks like. 

z31maniac MegaDork
11/18/22 3:35 p.m.

1. Nope. Every place I've ever worked has well defined job roles and responsibilities for your current and future positions. My current place we even have a competency scale that goes 1-5 in 7 different competencies with each level defined in each competency, so you know what it is expected for a promotion. 


2. If someone in HR or a higher up in your department isn't doing it, like they should. I seriously doubt it. Might spend some time working on your resume as well if that's how they are going to treat you. 

ShawnG MegaDork
11/18/22 3:50 p.m.

1: Geez boss, I kinda feel like that's YOUR job.

This may be why I can't work a "real" job anymore.

procainestart SuperDork
11/18/22 4:19 p.m.

I'm going through this now. It may be that, if you have a diverse set of skills and responsibilities, they don't know how to compensate you. They could be looking at third-party salary guidance and can't find an equivalent job description. It's common for HR to use external resources to set salaries. 

Also, if your job title is atypical, then, when writing your description, also find a *common* job title that is not only somewhat close to what you're doing but, importantly, matches your salary expectations. It'll be easier for HR and/or your manager to determine salary. 

If nothing comes of it, then you'll have at least taken some first steps to finding your next job, as you've just created a useful list of what you do. And you'll have done so while on the clock.


EDIT: I second advice above about providing a list of everything do, in detail, including benefit to the employer. I drop something like this in every self-assessment I do for my reviews. 

Bibs New Reader
11/18/22 7:54 p.m.

This just sucks. Sorry you have to deal with it. Do you have leverage? Are you in a position where they really need you? Hard to replace?

You may consider pushing back. Draw a line. Be respectful and professional.

I had a similar position earlier this year. I've got a good handle on my territory, and have people working well and we're making good money. Growth, profit...all there.

I started with the company in 2019, and they just had a mass exodus, due to an acquisition. Lots of good people left. So now, my management know less than me, and are younger (I'm 48)

They posed a similar question to me, and asked me to come up with a job description and compensation suggestion. With a big smile, I told them I trusted them to come up with a fair and equitable offer. 
they did, and it was more than I could have wished for. Good employees have power, you may be able to use it. Last thing they need is to loose good people.
good luck. 

ProDarwin MegaDork
11/18/22 8:11 p.m.

I've written my own description before.  When you are forming a new department/division/etc. its seems pretty normal.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
11/19/22 7:51 a.m.

I wrote my job description. Small company. Recognizing the massive increase in responsibilities I'd taken on.

Depends on the type of company you work for, and the type of role you fill.

1... The job description is written by the person who best understands the role that is being filled at a company. Usually, that is the supervisor or head of the department. But if you *are* the head of what you do...

Sounds like this is probably your higher ups recognizing that you are the expert in what role you fill and why it is important to the company.

2... You're not seeing 13 months worth. I'd ask for a bonus to thank you for your hard work and a raise going forward, and/or some additional PTO.

Toyman! MegaDork
11/19/22 8:09 a.m.

My job description changes daily. Yesterday I fixed a toilet. 

TJL (Forum Supporter)
TJL (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/19/22 8:14 a.m.

TLDR,  dont bother complaining, they dont care.  I complained and got fired.

Sounds like you work for a large corporation.  The a-holes i worked for intentionally did not have actual job descriptions. At one point, when another employee brought up how all the crap being thrown on us wasnt part of the job, the piece of e36 m3 manager troll went and typed up a new description on the spot and said this is your job description.  It became standard for these trolls. I was a service tech on paper. That meant i did my job, managed my department because my manager was forced to manage a bunch of other crap. I was "inventory manager"(over a million in inventory) and had monthly cycle counts, ran the chat service, groundskeeper, safety manager and had to have regular meetings, shipping and receiving, handling all freight in/out and other stuff im forgetting. Keep in mind my actual job had me travelling and out of the office frequently.  But it still was not enough. Get treated as a punching bag while doing all this.  Also dealing with some losers who had been there for 30 years with nowhere else to go who LOVED to mess woth people. I mean daily, these idiots would come and insult, accuse and just be terrible people, but that made them great for the idiot managers. 


i was in a similar boat. It was understood that we were "short staffed" and it was once appreciated. Then they got rid of more people, or more people quit because it was a hellhole. Did not increase head count. It got to where my manager and my coworker, just us 3, we were filling an easy 15 positions with just us 3. 

After getting yelled at and harassed(on a video meeting with ALL of managment on it) by one of the 15 people of so that were not my boss but acted as my boss, i went to corporate HR where i was assured everyone was on the up and up.   

Shortly after that i was placed on a "improvement plan" with no measurables and of course "let go" shortly after that.  14 years with the company and a very key role for the industry and my customers gone because the absolutely moronic managers were too busy trying to suck up to the corporate boss and save money and their own jobs. 



SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
11/19/22 9:39 a.m.

This seems like much ado about nothing. 

It's simply a form of communication. When a company is hiring, they should write the description for what they think they need. 

But once you've been there for a while, your role morphs into something different. Having the opportunity to write your own description seems like a great way to communicate "Hey boss, things have changed". It's a chance to ask for pay increases, discuss complexities or needed changes, show your value. 

Are you hung up on the name?  If the boss had said, "Hey, I know a lot has changed since you started here. Can you give me a bullet point list of some of the things you are doing?", would that have felt better?

914Driver MegaDork
11/19/22 9:54 a.m.

1.  No, it's not normal, but an opportunity to sell yourself and/or point out accomplishments management may not be aware of.

2.  Depends on the company ....

A guy I know was disappointed with his job.  EVERY quarter he had to re-teach a coworker how to make a spreadsheet, even though she had less responsibility and made $50/year more.  He was going to apply for another job within the company but the Boss was not pleased to see him go.  Write up a new job description and I will push it up hill and get you recognized and better paid, please don't apply for that other job because I already know you will get it.

Lets see ho this ends .....

travellering HalfDork
11/19/22 10:18 a.m.

If they are not willing to do the work of providing you with a job description, I see no likelihood at all that they are going to do the work to figure out payroll taxes, deductions, and all ancillary paperwork with a retroactive pay raise that goes back over a single quarter, let alone a tax year.


I would interpret it, as others have in this thread that they are trusting enough of you to let you tell them what you do and what your worth to the company is. Whether that is indicative of laziness, or ignorance, on their part is immaterial.    If they have not provided you with a fitting job description after you outgrew the one you hired in under, then this is at least your opportunity to have your resume reflect your increased abilities and responsibilities, if not a direct route to a raise which would need to encapsulate the missed raise from the past 13 months. 

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
11/19/22 11:11 a.m.

Regarding the compensation...

13 months??  Sorry, that one's on you. You should have made an issue of it with your very first check. 

Let it go. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/19/22 3:19 p.m.

Yeah I don't see any issue with writing ones own job description. It's actually a huge opportunity. I have done it myself, though the actual words that ended up on the page were done by hr. (I listed the functions and capabilities and performance metrics, but let HR deal with education and experience requirements). 

I agree that on the salary for the past 13 months you might be boned. And that when you self-advocate on that their response will be very telling. But be creative. Try to learn what they want or need before you make a specific request (sometimes calling it "brainstorming possible solutions" can help). But for example they might be ok giving you a large one time payment instead of a higher salary because they have space in the 2022 or 2023 "project" budget but they don't have space for higher salaries in the "capital" budget or whatever. Or maybe they can give you stock, etc.

If you refuse to write the description, you will have almost zero leverage for the raise. "I go above and beyond for this company and deserve a raise; for example, I can't be bothered to spend an afternoon writing down what I do."

Tldr, write the description and then stand up for yourself on the raise.


APEowner UltraDork
11/19/22 4:09 p.m.

I don't know if it's normal or not but I've written my own job description several times.  I think it's more common the higher up the management chain you get, at least it was in my case.  I always thought that the opportunity to tailor the job to my skill set and highlight the contributions I make was a plus.  

I've done that both in the private sector with small and medium size companies and in federally funded research lab.  I do know that it's less common in latter.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/20/22 7:55 p.m.

As someone who has been giving 60-80 hours a week to my job, congratulations... you're a volunteer for all that extra.

I wrote my own job description, mostly because I work for a non-profit theater.  The board is comprised of lawyers, CEOs, engineers, and accountants who know nothing about theater other than they like to see plays and they get their name on another tax deduction.  They hired me to be a Tech Director, and who knows better what a TD does than the TD they just hired.  The board wrote the job description for the Exec Director, but the four of us on staff wrote our own.

This worked well because there are only 5 of us on the payroll and we have worked together for 8 years.  We know what we're doing (most of the time).  The job for which I just interviewed is a teaching TD at a school with thousands of employees.  In that case, they have clear and specific job descriptions they have already written based on their 80 years of doing stuff.  I wouldn't expect to write my own job in that situation.

Now, if that school decided to add a theater department where their wasn't one before, I would expect them to either consult other theaters or theater employees on the jobs/descriptions they need to fill, or even allow new incoming employees write their own to get the ball rolling.

759NRNG PowerDork
11/20/22 8:49 p.m.

Uh no, it is on my curriculum vitae ......what is this nonsense of what y'all speak......sheesh

Mezzanine Dork
11/22/22 3:00 p.m.


I sent an email to the director asking about the subject, and it made a big E36 M3storm because I used some HR trigger words. It resulted in a meeting with the director (director of HR and IT, mind you) and the HR person that is responsible for my division and my boss. As I said in the OP, there were a lot of details I didn't go into, but I basically caught them out for not following their own process. At the end of each year, they do a compensation review for anyone with significant changes to their functions. They did not do this review for my role at the end of last year as they should have, and I called them on it. They're starting the review process for this year now, so my compensation will be reviewed at this time. I can expect a pay raise and a bump in my bonus target, but the question of the last 13 months is undetermined... Now that HR is annoyed with me, I expect that's not going to make them inclined to help me here, but I've got the paper trail in place. 

My question about writing my own job description was merely a curiosity of if this happens elsewhere, not an indication that I didn't want to do it. I already wrote it and submitted it months ago, as indicated in the OP. I did indeed take advantage of the opportunity to add in all the responsibilities I've assumed. 

A few of you shared experience that sounds similar to mine: I'm in a unique position in the company and I do a lot of things that aren't done elsewhere in the org, so it wasn't like they could just pull a job description out of the file cabinet. 

JThw8 UltimaDork
11/22/22 8:08 p.m.

Glad you are finding resolution.

Just a bit of my own personal experience to add to the pile.  I've often been involved in the writing of my own JD.  Note I say "involved in"  its a process my manager and I do together as I have a unique role so she wishes to ensure I agree with what is written and can provide input to allow for an accurate description of the role.

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