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6/19/08

My Job Is...

In our society we often define people by what they do. A common meet and greet question is, “What do you do?” In the process of doing, we fail to become. You cannot always choose the consequences, but you can choose your choices. You did not make a conscious decision to be fired, get divorced, become incarcerated, or sink into financial ruin; however, in the choices you did make you chose the difficult road.

Mrs. Brown (not her real name) was hired to be a Quality Control Specialist at – her definition – “the roach motel”. She was dreading the job. She was certain they were going to be difficult to work with because they did not really want change. We did a simple exercise to determine her responsibilities verses the business’s responsibilities and to not get the two confused.

My Job Is… My Job Is Not: Mrs. Brown’s job is to assess the current situation and make recommendations to management. Her job is to leave the decision with them and not try to force the owners to follow her sage advice.

Give up the judgmental attitude. Surface situations do not indicate intent. Looking at circumstances in a disparaging manner blocks the obvious aim of management to make improvements or they would not have put the job position into the budget or made the effort to hire a Quality Control Specialist.

Discard the “I'll-fix-it” mindset. My definition of synergy is “all of us are smarter than any of us.” It really does take a village – in child rearing, in community efforts and in business endeavors. Be open to options by co-workers and actively seek outside advice. Be willing to accept the fact that if it is working – even at a limp – management may not want it fixed.

The final decision lies with the one in authority. Hiring is a two way street; you choose to work for the company and the company chooses to hire you. When you accept a position, their goal automatically becomes your goal and the final decision lies in their hands, thus taking the stress off of you. It becomes a symbolic relationship of meeting your need to serve as well as your financial obligations and meeting the establishment’s need to provide service/products and to make a profit.

It’s all about relationship. In my younger years and in my, my-way-or-my-way attitude, I set out to correct the inefficiency in the handling of mass monthly mailings. The supervisor was set in her ways and resistaed my organizational suggestions. It became a dreaded project and tension headaches. One day I decided that since I could not control the situation anyway I might as well give up control and enjoy the lady’s company. It was a routine task so we began to exchange funny stories, recipes and dreams. The duty became enjoyable, helter/skelter though it was, as I looked forward to working with my friend. And one day she asked if I had any ideas as to how the system could flow smoother.

In our society we often define people by what they do, and the more you do the more successful you are. Only in the process of doing, we fail to get to know who we are and who we can become. Who we are determines the type of job we choose, the quality of work we perform, the attitude toward our labors and the stress level we carry.

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