Serious strategisingBy Jason M. Jones

Many of us have been asked to serve on a committee, task force, or steering group and often jump on the chance to not only support our industry but more importantly, our colleagues. I always view it as a great honor to have someone reach out personally for my knowledge on a subject or initiative. But when are too many committees well enough? How do you say no? If you say no, will you be asked again?  These are all valid questions.

Committee or task-force work, as we are well aware, is in addition to our regular 9 – 5 jobs, which are actually 8 – 6 plus after-hours calls and emails. And as we know, we can only serve on so many committees if we want to be invested in the mission at hand. We’ve all been there, reviewing our notes from the last meeting 10 minutes before the next.

Where’s the balance? Serve on the work-related committees that are of most interest to you and be sure you can properly allocate the time needed. Before venturing onto a committee, just ask: What is the time commitment on a weekly/monthly basis, how long do you expect this committee to last, what do you expect the end result to be, are the meetings by conference call/site visits/office setting?

We all owe it to other committee members to be present and active, not just show up at the conference or final meeting and expect to be filled in or take credit for the A grade. You will get more respect and be offered more future opportunities by being honest than by accepting commitments you can’t fulfill.

Jason M. Jones is director of parking and mass transit services at the University at Albany.