This is a little off my normal topic of personal finance, but whether you love or hate your job, my message today is for you.
Today I want to talk to those of you out there who have a “real job” – you know; the job where you show up, stay for a while and participate in some type of profit-generating activity and eventually go home. As a result of this, you get a paycheck from someone who finds your work valuable enough to pay you for it. This is where most of us find ourselves after graduation from high school or college. We grow up, realize we need an income to pay bills, so we go find a job.
Some of us are blessed to have an awesome job where we love to get up in the mornings to face the new challenge. Others of us get sick to our stomach every Sunday night realizing the weekend is coming to a close. The thing about it is: no matter where you are or where you work, you don’t get a pass on doing a good job. You don’t get to skip out on being an excellent employee. If you hate your job, find another one!
I’ve become extremely tired of the attitude that permeates a lot of us as employees. With phrases such as, “I just work here,” everyone suffers. Maybe you have been trained to think this way by your employer. Some employers are truly of the mindset that each person is simply another object toward profit and should have no say in the day-to-day activities of what’s going on. If that’s the case, that employer needs to get over himself/herself and realize that a good employee won’t stick around long if he/she has no voice.
For the rest of us, though, “I just work here” screams “I don’t really want to contribute any more than absolutely necessary to get the measly check the employer promised me when he/she made the mistake of hiring me.”
When one of the guys on my team said “I just work here” as a joke in one of our informal chats recently, here was my verbatim response:
“I just work here” is the phrase that will get you smacked in my department. Saying “I just work here” will get a reply of, “exactly, and that’s why you can do something about [issue xyz].” If I’m paying you to “just work here,” then I’m not getting a good deal for my money. I’m paying you to be a representative of our company, an ambassador for our brand and a team member who will improve our team overall.
He wasn’t making a complaint. In fact, this guy is a fantastic team member and that’s why I knew I could say that to him. That’s why I knew he and I would be able to laugh about the silliness of those who are of that mindset. But it sure did put me on a soap box. So while I’m still up on my soap box, here are a few phrases you should never say (or even think) unless you’re ready to find another job. Why? Because these phrases are toxic to your ability to do an excellent job as an employee and frankly, no employer should want employees with this attitude.
- “I just work here”
- “That’s above my pay grade”
- “They don’t pay me enough to do that”
- “That’s not my job”
- “You have a problem”
- “We’ve always done it that way”
- “It’s not my fault”
- “I’m bored”
If you’re around me for long, you know I’m not one who gets up in arms about someone who is struggling. If you are having a bad day, I’m there to help. But I don’t tolerate negativity or laziness very well. When somebody starts down that path I start to lose my patience quickly. I’ve worked at jobs I’ve loved and jobs I’ve hated and you know what I learned? My attitude is going to determine about 90% of whether or not I’m a good employee or a joyful person. None of us can prevent things from happening to us, but it is up to us to deal with them and move forward or pick another path completely.
*Barry steps down from his soap box – rant complete*