I just want to do my job

downloadWhen people would like to say, “That’s not my job,” but are aware of how toxic and uncooperative that sounds, they invoke a close relative of the phrase, saying, “I just want to do my job.”

It sounds reasonable, even assiduous. Stop putting these onerous expectations on her! She just wants to do good work. Who could blame her for being upset?

The trouble is that your jobĀ is done within context. Minding team dynamics, ensuring other team members are successful, focusing on team goals (not just your personal goals) is critical. Individual contributors cannot succeed with their jobs if the team fails. The context is critical to that success, and it is everyone’s job.

There is little room in the economy for isolated players. If your job is so siloed that it truly doesn’t require engagement with the context, then you’re either an irreplaceable genius or, more likely, soon to be replaced.

One comment

  1. I think there’s more room for individual contributors than you’re admitting. Not every project is a group project. I’ve seen companies waste so much time and money assigning a project to a team that could easily be done by one competent person. Even when a team does work well together, you find that the individual contributors actually did all the work, while the loud-mouths who actually have few skills beyond talking take all the credit. Yes there are projects that require a team and those that just need some expertise. The boss needs to have enough wisdom to know the difference, and assign the right people to the right tasks. You will piss off all your individual contributors if you slow them down by insisting they work with anchors (i.e., non-productive people) around their necks.

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