Tuesday, May 26, 2009

That's Not My Job

Everyone Knows It's Windy
Originally uploaded by drewmaniac

Aside from my neighborhood lawn mowing service as a kid, the first job I ever had was through a Retail & Marketing class I took my senior year in high school. We had various options in a retail environment that we could take as part of the month long job program. It was a temp job, but often led to summer jobs for seniors who liked making the cash. For some reason I chose Pizza Hut. Don't ask me why.

Because of the hours of the program and my classes I actually ended up opening for them as the cook. I made pizzas all morning for their buffet and then would wash dishes before heading back to classes for the afternoon.

One morning I finished a few minutes early. I didn't feel like standing around with the cook who was training, nay, using me as he sat at the desk in the back listening to music. So I went to the dining area and started putting the place mats and silverware on the tables. I only finished one table before the cook came up and asked me what I was doing. When I explained he said, "No. That's the waitress's job. They'll be in later."

You've heard it before. Hopefully you've never said it before.

The "That's not my job" (TNMJ) attitude, is one of the most dangerous diseases that can infect the work place. It discourages teamwork and is the source of useless animosity. Sure, there are times when someone isn't carrying their weight and you may have to pick up the slack, but is that reason to sour the whole apple cart?

The thing about TNMJ disease is it can come in many forms and can spread quickly. It can be passed on very casually. As in my case at Pizza Hut. I didn't finish preparing the tables even though I didn't think the cook's attitude was right. In the remaining days of my job, I never did attempt to do more than my job again. I had been infected.

Some examples of TNMJ.

  • "Someone else will do it."
  • "Someone else will speak up."
  • "I'm not responsible for that."
  • "I can't make a change."
  • "I'm not any good at that."
  • "I don't want to learn that."
  • "I'm already swamped."
  • "I don't have time."
  • "I don't know anything about that job."
I hope you are never caught repeating some of these. If so, decide today to rid yourself of TNMJ and work to change the attitude of your team or office.


Clay Elmore said...

Personal responsibility is one of my pet campaign slogans these days, having observed how few people are willing to have any. Too many people think it's acceptable to pass the buck on their duties at work, in relationships, or even in their mistakes. In regard to mistakes: even if you don't know the solution, own your mistakes. You learn nothing if you blame someone else and make him or her responsible for fixing it. (Zig Ziglar's six most important words: "I'm sorry, I made a mistake")

Andrew Weaver said...

"Own your mistake". That's the biggest thing in all of the whole no excuses thing. If you start taking responsibility for your mistakes, excuses will be a lot harder to come by.