Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. Proverbs 22:29 (NIV)
The modern workplace is blessed with unambitious reliable individuals who are content to provide solid output and dependable service. I honor people who do good work to receive fair compensation and good benefits. Work is a part of their life but not a life calling. Their income and benefits support personal ambition and passions. Managers should recognize such individuals and provide them sufficient challenge and fair compensation without pressuring or chiding them for a lack of professional drive. Take care of these rocks in your organization because they can be a good foundation of a stable business if you don’t let them stagnate.
The Curse of the “But I Did My Job!” Employee
Occasionally you will find the employees who, as they tell it, keep their heads down, do their jobs, and provide generally consistent output and predictable results. Yet these same employees are perplexed when overlooked for promotions or receive nominal pay increases. They protest the apparent injustice with “But I did my job!” They fail to see that the reward for “just doing your job” is simply a paycheck.
To advance and excel in the workplace one must go beyond “doing their job.” All workers, especially knowledge workers, must be engaged with their job and its impact on the organization. Consider how you would answer the following questions:
- In what specific ways do you bring value to your company, customers, and work group?
- Are you content with knowing the minimum processes of your job and work tools (i.e., software) or do you become a power user of your work tools and an expert in your field?
- Do you whine about inefficiencies or do you meet with managers to explain inefficiencies, make suggestions for improvement, and demonstrate the value of changes on productivity and profitability?
- Are you involved with professional organizations related to your job or industry and read trade publications?
- Do you work with your team, managers, and other organizations within the company or do you prefer to fight territorial battles and complain about how everyone makes your job more difficult?
I have heard the complaints and excuses:
- “The company will not pay for me to join professional organizations.”
- “I’m not paid to read books, blogs, or magazines outside of work hours that will expand my knowledge of my job, industry, and company.”
- “The company doesn’t pay enough to buy my loyalty or engagement.”
- “The company will not pay for me to become a power user of Microsoft Office or other tools.”
If you keep yourself warm with excuses and whining, don’t be surprised when you managers and co-workers are deaf to your complaining. Your professional development is your responsibility. Only you can increase your value in the labor marketplace. The time you invest developing productivity and general business skills, industry knowledge, and job skills will likely be repaid by advancement within the company, job offers from companies that see your value, or becoming your own boss.
Don’t just do your job, make a positive impact in your organization, industry, and professional life.