It’s Not My Job!

June 18, 2019

A business can have either (1) employees who are committed to help the business achieve its goals or (2) employees who have no real commitment to their employer and see their job as just a means to an end...a paycheck.


You've probably heard the following story or a variation of it. A man came across three masons. The first seemed totally unhappy and ready for the end of the workday to come. When asked what he was doing, the mason replied, "I'm cutting stones and can't wait for the day to be over." 

The second mason seemed a bit more interested in his work. He was hammering and chiseling away almost not even noticing what was going on around him. When asked what he was doing, the second mason replied, "I'm shaping these stones, so they can be used with other stones to construct a wall. Not the worst job in the world, but I'll be glad when it's quitting time." 

The third mason was carefully placing all the stones with precision exactly where they should be, fine tuning the rough edges, standing back to admire his work, and replacing and fine tuning where necessary. He obviously loved what he was doing and took pride in seeing the quality of his work. When asked what he was doing, he gazed toward the sky with a look of total satisfaction and proudly proclaimed, "I...I am building a cathedral!"

All the masons had the same job but quite different attitudes to say the least...three different men, three different attitudes, but all with the same job. Engagement made the difference. Employees must be engaged, and it is up to management to make sure employees are engaged. This might be through open-door communications, social activities, performance reviews, mentoring, or other forms of employer-employee interaction.

Not Only Masons

This same story might be changed by adding a different twist to it. You might walk through a business and ask several different individuals, "What is your job?" One might answer, "I'm a software engineer." Another might answer, "I'm in quality control." A third might answer, "I have specific responsibilities, but my ultimate job is helping my company succeed." It is easy to see in this scenario which employee is truly engaged.

The Difference

Regardless of the position or type of business, engaged employees make the difference between real success and mediocre success or even between mediocre success and, perhaps, business failure. At times, owners and managers might be focused strictly on bottom line profits but should realize that without committed and engaged employees, the net profit objectives will never be made. 

Whose Job Is It?

Ponder the second story for just a minute. Doesn’t it make sense for a business to stress to all employees how they can to help the business succeed in their own way by producing sales, striving to satisfy customers, assisting co-workers, etc.?

Whatever an individual's job title or responsibilities might be, everyone's job ultimately impacts sales, profit, and customer satisfaction in one way or another. It might be production, quality control, customer service, research and development, or marketing. An employee doesn't actually have to be in sales to help produce revenue. In fact, the contrary is true. It’s every employee’s job to “sell” for the business in one way or another.

The Key

Employee engagement at all levels is important. Whether in a top-level position or an entry-level job, the synergistic effect of everyone committed to company goals and working together is what propels a business to higher levels. Businesses that invest time and effort to engage employees see a great return on their investment with committed employees. 

It Is My Job

In fact, it’s everyone’s job in a business to help propel a business forward. Employees with the attitude of “It’s Not My Job” need to be mentored, engaged or, unfortunately, at times replaced. In any business, “It’s Not My Job” must be replaced with “It Is My Job!”

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