Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Your work

Some people approach their work like this: "I come in on time, even a little early.  I do what the boss asks, and even faster than they expect.  I often stay late, I'm hard working, and loyal."

Another way would be, "What isn't the boss asking me to do that I can do, learn from, make an impact, and possibly fail (yet not be fired)?

Both mindsets are good, but the approach in the first example doesn't mean your indispensable.  Gone are the days were showing up and putting in a honest days work meant job security, advancement, or satisfaction (just ask any public school teacher).  

When I was about 10 years old, my dad was lifting a heavy garden tiller into a truck.  I kinda just stood and watched.  He ended up dropping the tiller, and then yelled at me, "Don't just sit there - help me!"  Although I didn't appreciate the sternness at the time, he helped me understand that I shouldn't have waited for him to ask for help.  I should have been able to see the problem and jumped in without him asking.  Because I did nothing, I had to receive a consequence. 

Hard work used to be working long days with physical labor.  Hard work now involves your brain - seeing a problem and taking a chance on a solution.  This shift means the opportunity lies in problem solving, especially when there isn't an evident problem.  I also think that opportunity will lead to you liking your job more, while creating a job that no one but you can do.  Making you very difficult to replace.

What will you do?
Put in longer hours, do what your told, and be replaceable OR solve the problem the boss doesn't ask and be irreplaceable?

So what problem would you like to solve at work today?

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