It is your job

Matt Morgan
Jun 13, 2013

"It's not my job" or the like is a line we far-too-often hear. It is a phrase that needs purged from our lexicon. Unfortunately, its use is widespread.

We hear it from officials in Washington and other places of public power. We hear it from kids at their first place of employment. We hear it from the stereotype of a union laborer. We hear it from middle managers. Passing on or shirking responsibility knows no one strata of human being. That phrase may even exist in some hunter-gatherer, remote Amazon tribe!

The next time you are going to say it — DON'T! This is directed to any of you who are employEES by the way.

Employers, managers, and other leaders ... we can have a pow-wow later, but you are getting the benefit of the doubt that you should know better. If not, shame on you. There isn't time this week for that. Employees, take my advice here and let's see if we can't get you a raise, promotion, relocation, or other activity that will benefit you.

Make your job your job. Even if you are a fry cook. Learn about cooking fries, yes, but ask questions about the rest of the kitchen. The procedure. Read the rules as you may very well be able to point out to others above you, if only in rank, that there is a more efficient or correct way of doing something. Look for patterns, pace yourself, and never stop learning about what you do. Information in today's world is crucial, and ignorant people are a dime a dozen. When the deep fryer breaks down and you as the "mere" fry cook know about the make, model, and common troubleshooting solutions to your station; all of a sudden you become appreciated and valuable to those above you.

Inform and entertain yourself. This goes beyond learning the routine to clean a room as a housekeeper in under X minutes. Set personal goals even if you think the task is menial. Teach yourself how to provide a little flare. If it won't get you fired for policy violation do something like make little origami animals with spare pillowcases. Leave a personal touch like a small note saying "thanks" or with a tip like "you should try the restaurant's chicken." Make work fun yourself, if it isn't already! Also by educating yourself you can discuss more than just the usual gossip or low-information opinion. To an employer you go from a no one, to an anyone, to a someone, then to you as an individual instead of a floating name tag.

Learn to communicate. Communication makes the world go 'round and it will set you apart from others who can't in very dramatic ways. Speaking clearly with good body language, vocabulary, and tone WILL set you apart. Use tact and politeness in equal measure. You will be noticed more quickly, receive more compliments, and make more allies at your job. As a line cook it isn't your normal "job" to address guest complaints but you may have to do it. If you can without vulgarities, attitude, "like/um/uhhs," and such you will often find circumstances to be easier to control. This is just as true if you are an insurance salesman trying to explain complex and sometimes abstract numbers with a family looking to cover themselves in the worst case scenario.

Lastly, learn the "no, but." Stonewalling someone is impolite, and you probably don't like it when other people from friends and family to supervisors and bosses just flatly deny you. Take the initiative yourself. Learn options. Prove that you aren't just some worker. When someone asks you if you can give them a discount while ringing them up reply with something like, "No, but if you signed up for our card, it would give you discounts automatically."

"No, but we are having a sale on the other brand of X if you'd like that instead."

"No, but I appreciate you asking. Maybe someday soon I'll have that authority!"

Through dedication to your work and workplace, knowledge of it and other even remotely related things, and the ability to communicate your ideas, you will make yourself invaluable to a responsible employer. Make your place of employment yours while you are there. Command it, even if only from a desk with an earpiece or pallet jack in a back room.

Is it your job?



The Big Dog's back

Your reasoning is what's wrong with industry today. People doing jobs they aren't qualified to do because the "boss" ask them to.


Unassumer you got it right. Make your own way outside of work...sadly most employees aren't really valued.


This is overall a good article, very good advice to get through the day and stay positive. However, I also have to agree that it is no guarantee for getting ahead, getting a promotion, or getting better pay. The job market is terrible today, and many employers are just looking for "warm bodies." And see how far it got all the factory workers in this country. I wouldn't count on any employer anywhere for long-term loyalty.


Re: "...many employers are just looking for 'warm bodies.'"

"Warm bodies" that can pass a drug test and that will show up for work and on-time.

It's a MAJOR problem.


And they pass said drug test, show up on time, never miss a day, do over and above their job requirements, maybe even feel secure enough in the job to buy a decent vehicle or house, then BOOM, one day they go to work and the doors are locked. buh bye! Just pull yourself up by your 50 year old bootstraps after losing your car and your house, and work for minimum wage, happily!


Re: " day they go to work and the doors are locked. buh bye!"

So: Life's a b*tch and then you die huh?

Actually, they usually 'closed the doors' AFTER I (or my spouse) left. :)

The Big Dog's back

Run 'em into the ground huh.


^^^ “Feeling bad about yourself today?” - The Big Dog's back aka brutus smith, Nov. 24, 2010 :-7


Not being a victim here, just saying, it happens all the time. I do agree with the article to a certain extent. We need more positive thinking and a better work ethic overall. From all aspects, not just the workers at the bottom of the ladder.


Re: "We need more positive thinking and a better work ethic overall."

I was taught and learned long ago:

1. You work for the money.

2. If you're looking for ego gratification from a job, you're MOST DEFINATELY looking in the WRONG place.

3. Approx. 3% of management is "enlightened."


You work for the money, to buy insurance for your car, to get you to work, to buy insurance for the car...


4. Learn to live on 90% of your income and save & invest the remainder.

Someday, you'll be an senior and you DON'T wanna try to survive off of the "crumbs" that the govt. is gonna give ya.


Got that right! I'm at the very end of the Baby boomer generation, and figure that retirement may never happen. That's ok, there are worse things than working. Work is paid exercise, nothing in life is guaranteed, and don't put all your eggs in one basket! My mortgage might be paid off by the time I'm 80, and maybe then I can at least take a vacation!

Mr. D

Yeah, I was young and foolish once. Went the extra mile, always made a good showing by helping out someone else having a problem at their work station, doing more than my assigned job. Its all good. . . until you get hurt. Get written up for doing tasks not trained for. . . Written reprimand and suspension for doing work not assigned to you. . . Employer fights you on injury claim. . . Yeah, I learned early on that "It aint my job!!!"