I work … a lot. I am happiest when I am helping others help themselves, whatever the task at-hand … be it my day-to-day job or my volunteering. Those closest to me know that this is a part of my genetic makeup, and that I am not going to change from being extremely dedicated to my clients and colleagues.
Last week, I received some constructive criticism during my yearly one-on-one. While a part of me definitely took the feedback to heart, another part of me (that strong “gut instinct”) couldn’t help but “know” that I had been denigrated because of my sex. My strong leadership qualities are being dismissed because of the high level of expectations to which I hold everyone (myself, included) — and the accountability and responsibility (or lack thereof) of others being brought to light. And what’s troubling is I cannot say anything about it at this time.
Today I saw the below list of “7 Things Never To Say To Your Boss”, and it truly drove home that punch in the gut. For you see, while I never have said any of the things on the list … nor have I thought any of these things … I have had them repeatedly spoken and written to me during my tenure (in fact, during my entire career).
As a matter-of-fact, I was so tired of hearing the #1 “no-no” at one company, that I did something daring. As a member of the Personnel Department, when asked to re-write over 300 job descriptions, I added the sentence “and other duties as assigned” to every employee’s — including the President & CEO’s. He completely approved and thought it showed great initiative. However, shortly thereafter I realized I was not a “people person,” when I had a picture of a finger-pointing outward with the words “Emote Elsewhere” taped to the front of my office door. (I’ll be the first to admit that I still have the occasional bluntness that needs to be smoothed around the edges.)
Without further ado, here’s the list:
1. “That’s not my job.” I believe we’ve covered this one. But if not, let me clarify. IF IT’S ASKED OF YOU IT’S YOUR JOB. Unless it’s illegal, then you should follow your organization’s “Whistleblower Policy. Perhaps, though, you’d prefer the “kinder, gentler” version of on an “as-needed basis.” Perhaps if you truly believe something is not your job, YOU will not be needed any longer. ‘Nuff said.
2. “It’s not my problem.” Even if you don’t give a flaming, flying rat’s patootie, show some compassion. Try to find someone who DOES care, and connect the person (client and/or colleague) with a resource who can help. This shows YOU as a “go-to”, dependable person, who — yeah — “cares.”
3. “It’s not my fault.” Who cares? One of my favorite quotes is, “Fix the problem, not the blame,” by Henry Ford, II. Most folks that I know (and with whom I deal) just want the problem fixed, as quickly as possible. Now when I make a mistake I own it. I accept accountability and responsibility in order to see the issue through to resolution. THAT’S appreciated. But actively blaming others instead of concentrating on finding a solution results in delays, which COSTS MONEY.
4. “I can only do one thing at a time.” In today’s economy if you have not learned how to multi-task you are most assuredly obsolete. Working with and through multiple projects and timelines — seamlessly — is a vital part of anyone’s job description. (See, #1.) If you are not as proficient in multi-tasking as some of your colleagues try team-tasking and working with a mentor to get up-to-speed. (Pithy, sarcastic t-shirts are occasionally appreciated. These words leaving your lips are not.)
5. “I am way overqualified for this job.” Really? Regardless if you have a Doctorate in Astrophysics with a Masters in Abnormal Psychology and are working at KinderCare (which kinda scares me as to what YOU’D do with those building blocks … but I digress), THAT’S where you’re working. You applied and accepted the position. Appreciate it. Continue looking for employment that’s more “suitable to your skill set,” if you wish. Panera Bread is hiring. Let me know if you get on there. I’ll stop in for lunch.
6. “This job is easy! Anyone could do it!” Are you a genius or stupid? I’m trying to decide. Can you explain? Oh wait … Let me figure it out. We’re “right-sizing” our staff. Based on your comments, we decided that YOU’RE correct. Interns, eager for real life work experience, will be performing your job at a fraction of the cost (or better yet — FOR FREE). Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Enjoy your two-weeks’ severence. Please let us know if you will be signing-up for COBRA benefits.
7. “It can’t be done.” Have you ever wanted to “dock” someone’s pay for a statement? This is my “docking pay statement.” I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to say “no” to my clients. Because of my working with all teams for creative solutions as well as setting realistic expectations for everyone, “no” is not a bad word. It carries weight and is respected. To me, this statement is obstinate and shows a lack of willingness to work towards making “it” happen — whatever “it” may be.
What about you? Are there any comments heard around the water cooler or kitchen microwave … or seen repeatedly … that drive YOU over-the-edge? Am I the only crazy workaholic who gets worked-up over non-working excuses?
And … is letting people know what you expect too much to expect?