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Just Doing My Job

Maybe the correct phrase is, “Just doing my job, man!”

Or better yet, “No problem, just doing my job.”

Just Doing My Job

To give everyone the benefit of the doubt, I believe this is a phrase that is used unconsciously and with any thought or consideration.

Like when Superman, clad in blue with his red cape flowing behind him as he calmly holds off a building from falling on a cluster of rambunctious toddlers, and the teacher expresses gratitude whereby Superman, with a twinkle in his eye and a boyish grin on his face, responds, “Just doing my job.”

But on closer consideration, this phrase should not be true for any of us, not even Superman.

Problems with “Just Doing My Job”

  1. Your job needs to be about what you bring. Your job, at the minimum, is the list of tasks that your employer is paying you to perform. The effort that you put in above the call of duty and the results it produces is about YOU—your work ethic, your drive, your ingenuity, and your commitment.

Everybody can do what the job requires, but not everybody can add the smile, the response, and the attention.  Customers come back to your business because of the value you add to your job.

  1. It is really an excuse. “I’m just doing my job” is an all-purpose excuse by anyone who doesn’t want to take responsibility for their actions or even consider that what they’re doing might be wrong.

It’s as if the person who’s just doing their job isn’t a real person with the ability to make choices and moral decisions. Instead, they’re just an unthinking cog in the corporate machine with no more choice or responsibility than a photocopier or fax machine.

Fortunately, people aren’t cogs, and they aren’t machines. They need to stand up and take responsibility for their actions. They need to make choices and admit the choices they’ve made. They need to be prepared to defend those choices, and if they’re wrong and can’t honestly defend the choices they’ve made, they should be prepared to correct their mistakes.

  1. Displays your level of effort. Many people sadly do go about their day just putting in the minimum effort required to keep their job and nothing more. Those people are, in fact, “just doing their jobs.”

They work with the attitude that if the employer wants more out of them, they’ll deliver more when they are paid to do more. They will give no more than the minimum required unless it benefits them personally.

  1. For some people who are genuinely in need, their sincere thanks is the only thing they have to give.

It could be that they aren’t used to someone delivering on their behalf, and so saying thank you is a genuinely big deal for them. The response they are looking for is nothing more than a “you’re very welcome.”

When you say, “just doing my job,” the expected, “you’re welcome”; a social courtesy and norm is not communicated. In its place is a statement that might be received as “I only did it for you because I’m paid by my employer to do that. You’re no more special than anyone else I help. Don’t thank me for doing my job.”

Even Superman should have simply said, “Your welcome.”

The Bible

Luke 17:7-10 says,

“Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?  Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’?  Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?  So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'”

In this story, Jesus is wondering if the master will “thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?”

We are now wondering when the servant was thanked, would his answer be, “No problem, just doing my job?”  And what would Jesus say to that?

Successful businesses know that they cannot be known to “just doing my job.” Success comes from extra effort and attention.  Don’t ever just do your job.