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Getting Released from a Work Project

Getting released from a work project or task can be a tough situation.  While seemingly straightforward, you will only want to do so after careful consideration and internal deliberations.  Getting released from a work project will also require direct approval from your manager, meaning that you will need to assess how to bring up your wish in a tactful and professional manner.

Requesting to be released from a work project, task, or situation can be done in a handful of ways.  Typically, most people will opt to speak to their manager directly.  Alternatively, many people opt to formalize their request via email, letting their manager know of their wishes and providing a slew of reasons why they believe their skills would be better suited for different projects and tasks.

How to Approach Your Manager

Discussing a release from a work project with your manager can be a scary proposition.  Many managers allocate their staff to certain projects and tasks, believing that their unique skillsets are best enhanced in that particular role.  By approaching your manager for a release, you are not only requesting a change, but also requesting that your manager move around resources to accommodate your request.

Therefore, before approaching your manager with a request to be released from a work project, you should place yourself in your managers shoes.  If you were managing the different projects, tasks, and company needs, how would you allocate resources and employee engagements?  Jot your ideas down and come up with a plan of action.  This plan will be useful and helpful in assisting you when presenting your request to your manager.

Deciding on how to approach your manager with a release request is highly dependent on the relationship you have with them.  Typically, however, it is recommended and preferred to discuss a release from a work project directly and face-to-face with your manager.  Doing so will show a level of professionalism and will allow you to better explain the reasons behind why you want to be released.

However, in some instances, it is acceptable to put in a release request via email.  Though not preferred, it may be the only means possible, especially if you are working remotely or do not have much access with your manager.  However, doing so via email should be done succinctly and should be a direct request, without beating around the bush.

Getting Released from a Work Project

Approaching Your Manager Directly

Approaching your manager directly is the preferred and most professional approach.  When approaching your manager requesting a release from a work project, you should do so directly and provide a list of reasons why you believe your removal would be best for both yourself and the team.

When discussing a release from a work project, you should provide substantial evidence and reason why your removal would benefit the project and the team working on the project.  Simply indicating that you would like a removal due to a disagreement or a lack of project vision is not enough. 

Providing your manager with evidence that your participation in another project would be a better use of your skills and time is the best approach.  By showing your manager that your skillsets are better used and can be more beneficial for the company elsewhere will be compelling reasons to accommodate your request.

In addition, coming to your manager with a list of other projects that are better suited for your skillsets will help them to make a more informed decision.  You will be able to show how your specific skillsets can be put to better use on other projects and tasks, allowing them to make a more informed decision.

Approaching Your Manager Via Email

Alternatively, you can reach out to your manager via email requesting getting released from a work project.  Although not preferred, it can be done if you have limited exposure and access to your manager.  When emailing your manager the request, you should do so succinctly and in a direct manner.  Let your manager know why you are putting in the request and where you believe your skills are better suited.

Within the body of the email, you should indicate a willingness to meet directly.  This will give your manager some time to review your request and to formulate an appropriate response.  They will be able to meet with you and can discuss the nuances of your request in person.

You can use the below email sample as a reference to compose your own email to your manager:

“Dear [Manager’s Name],

I truly appreciate the chance and opportunity to work on this current project.  However, I am concerned that my skills are not being fully utilized or appropriated in a manner beneficial to the completion of the project.  I would highly appreciate the chance and opportunity to move to a project that better suits my skills.

Would you be available to meet later this week or early next week to discuss in-person?  I have compiled a list of other projects which I believe I am better suited for and would be able to make a more meaningful impact on.  I have listed those projects below.

Thank you for taking the time to review and looking forward to meeting in-person to discuss further.

Thank you,

[Your Name]”

What to do if Your Request is Denied?

If your request to get released from a work project is denied, then you have two options.  The first is to simply resign from the company.  This is not always the best option and is one that can be difficult to make.  Depending on your circumstances, this decision could lead you to months of unemployment and without a source of income.

Your second option is to simply see through the end of the project.  Although not ideal, it is the safer option.  When choosing this option, you should attempt to reexamine your impact on the project and look for unique angles to approach the situation.  Although your request may have been denied, you should take it as an opportunity to learn further on the project and the company.

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