“It’s not my job!”
Have you heard that lately? Said that lately? Well I’ve said both, felt both and possibly encouraged both. Why is that? Is it necessarily even a bad thing? Let’s dive in!
Let’s start off with determining the validity of the statement. There are times for the statement, “It’s not my job” to be used in realistic, productive way. Especially in conditions or circumstances where you are physically or mentally ill-equipped to perform a task. In order to be productive though, you need not include a snarky tone, implicating that the job is beneath you. Maybe stick closer to something like “Unfortunately, I can’t perform that task. Let me find someone who can!” That sounds a little more polite and is far more productive than stating a cold fact.
Let’s be honest with ourselves though. The phrase is often uttered as a way to put off responsibility and promulgate disdain for one’s environment. You might not be properly compensated for the work you do, which may lead to bitterness, which may lead to unfulfilling productivity, which leads you to dissatisfaction, and so on. Simplistic, and maybe you don’t fully spiral down into despair, but it still trends negatively. Even if you disdain where you work, do your work well! I think picking up garbage is an easy example. If you see it, pick it up, help a janitor out! It might be part of their responsibility (job), but if everyone helps everyone, then all our loads get a little lighter.
What actually sparked this thought in me was a visit with my wife for her 16 week pregnancy checkup. Does having a baby cost a small fortune or what!?! I think some of that expense comes from the it’s not my job attitude, indoctrinated and imparted upon the healthcare industry. There is a ton of compartmentalization in the healthcare system, so job titles and descriptions are often narrowly defined which leads to, if allowed, It’s not my job sentiment. And if it’s not my job, or your job, then we need to hire someone to do it. That adds cost to the system, and that cost get’s forwarded to the people seeking services.
I say, if allowed, because it really is a culture thing. There will always be that poor sour apple someplace that gripes about completing a tangential task, but when it is persistent throughout a workplace culture, it festers into a wound of bitterness. Culture is cultivated and either that sour apple of an employee need some pruning, or a new perspective cast upon their life.
So where does that put this little nugget? Well, to start off, the next time you fain to say, “it’s not my job!” Think twice. Might you actually be able to handle the task? Is there any harm if you do? Beyond that, look for ways to say, “what else can I do?” I’m not telling you to take on all the world’s problems, but if you can help someone out, then by all means! For some of us, that is easier, but for all of us, there’s always something we can do take weight off someone’s shoulders. Maybe someday, someone will lift the weight off your shoulders too.