The Most Overused Phrase in Corporate America

“It’s Not My Job!”

Let’s face it – it’s probably the most overused phrase in every work environment – corporate, non-profit, your kids!   I was under the impression this wasn’t really used anymore – it was just an old joke – an urban legend.  But it’s not – people are still really using this.  I speak a lot in the fall and I make a joke in one of my presentations about HR not wanting to plan the company picnic – “It’s not our Job!” and we all get a big laugh.  My point is – it should be your job – you should want to plan the company picnic – it will get you noticed – own it, do it better than anyone has ever done – make it EPIC!

“It’s Not My Job”

I have a friend that shared a little story about this type of attitude this past week.  She has a younger sister who is lucky enough to have an administrative job paying a decent wage – no college education – but she’s found good work, not great pay, decent benefits – she can eat and pay her bills.  Sounds like a lot of people in the world.  My friend, though, shared that her sister, who is 27, called her to complain about her job – again nothing new – that’s what sisters are for – you can bitch about life and move on – but this issue really was more of a this-is-why-your-life-sucks issue – it was a “It’s not my job” issue.  Her sister, who is an administrative assistant, was complaining because in her office she has to use a fax machine to get some of her work done and the freaking fax machine wasn’t working.  My friends response – get it fixed.  Simple enough.  Her sister’s response – and I quote – “It’s Not My Job!”

“It’s Not My Job”

If it’s not your job – who the hell’s job is it?!?!  Who fucking job is it to fix the damn fax machine?!?!  Oh, that’s right – it’s Ted the Fax-Machine-Repair-Guy who we keep on staff full-time and pay a salary to so when our one fax machine breaks down he can run over from playing solitaire on his computer and make sure you’re up in running in minutes!  NO!!!! You do it!  It is your job – it’s your job because it’s no one else’s job.   That how the real world works.  When it’s not in your job description, and it’s not in somebody elses job description – you do it.  You’re an adult – that’s how it works.

“It’s Not My Job”

Makes me want to shoot people.  Not figuratively, literally – I know it’s not in my job description to shoot people but I’m a team player that way – I’ll happily pick up the gun and the bullets and put idiots out of their misery.  I’ll fill that need for my company – it makes me feel good that I can pick that up and no one else will have to do it.  I’m in HR – I’ll get my hands dirty.

FILL THE VOID PEOPLE!  In every one of our work environments we have voids – and those voids need to be filled by – YOU – not someone else – YOU.  Your organization is waiting for you to fill that void – no, your are correct – it’s not on your Job Description – that’s alright – come here, give me a crayola and I’ll add it to the bottom if that makes you feel better.  There – how’s that – now go do it.

5 thoughts on “The Most Overused Phrase in Corporate America

  1. I’ve sometimes referred to the “all other duties as assigned” clause in the JD when having these conversations. Or telling them that since the menial task IS in my JD I’ll get right on it. That helps them realize the err of their way.

  2. Nice. What people don’t realize is that is an opportunity to make yourself more valuable to the company. Like you said it is a void that needs to be filled. When times get lean, guess who stays off the chopping block, the person who is filling a lot of voids. Someone who makes themselves indispensable is creating job security. There are not many opportunities to do that these days. I have more to say, but I have to go fill up the water jug in the fridge and put a fresh roll of toilet paper on the holder in the men’s bathroom.

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