It’s Not My Job

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The other day some blowhard posted on LinkedIn “Never say it’s not my job. It’s arrogant”.


What’s “arrogant” is someone not hiring enough staff and making their employees shoulder the load; then acting like they’re a big success.

Sure, if you’re part of a team with a mission and an end in sight then go for it. Pull your weight or even a little more. Go the extra mile for your teammates, for the thing that everyone is gonna benefit from. That’s called being an adult. It’s called being a good human being.

The problem comes when you start doing things that weren’t part of your job description and you start to “absorb” them. You are doing more than you are being paid to do. Employment is a two way street. You are working for capitalists and they will get the most they can out of you for the money. You need to be a capitalist too and make sure you’re getting everything you deserve.

If you don’t set boundaries you will get more and more dumped on you when the company should be hiring someone else. If they say they can’t afford to hire someone, then it sounds like they really aren’t viable. If they are making a profit without putting the right resources in place that’s sham profit going into someone’s pocket at the expense of overworked staff.

They’ll call it a development opportunity. They’ll call it being a good team player.

I call it being punked. I call it being pimped.

Boundaries are good for your emotional and physical health. Your employer sure as hell sets boundaries don’t they?

My father, uncles and all my grandparents were union. Electricians, garment workers, tool and die makers, bakers. You did the job you were paid to do and you did it well. You did it safely and you didn’t cut corners. You didn’t let anyone else do your job because they weren’t trained and certified by the union and most importantly you didn’t do someone else’s job. You didn’t carry equipment up the 10 flights of stairs because that’s someone else’s job. You do their job and one day someone says they’re not needed. That’s how you protected each other’s jobs.

Remember secretaries, assistants, etc.? Those were decent jobs with good benefits. Jobs that could be had by a clever person with a High School diploma. They did tons of administrative type things…booking travel, settling expense reports, writing memos with little or no input, arranging events and just generally helping everyone be more productive. But they’re mostly gone now and as a consequence we dedicate huge chunks of time filling the gaps. Less productivity for everyone and lots of good paying jobs down the shitter. Why? Because we were too chicken shit to say “that’s not my job”.

Don’t take no for an answer. You can be patient, but make sure they know the clock is ticking. Tell them to stuff their salary bands…there is no law there. Thats a company policy. And if they say that then they would have to give everyone a raise? Just shrug like that’s not your problem. Because it is not.

A long time ago, when I was a programmer, about 20 of us got together. No one had been promoted to Programmer Analyst in a long time and we decided it was bullshit. I was elected spokesperson. I did it professionally but I told our management that we wanted promotions, we had earned them, and we wanted them now. I don’t know what was standing in the way but whatever it was, it magically disappeared.

You can do it.

But wait…maybe the company is hurting. It could go under. So what? Remember when they cut the call center out and outsourced it all overseas? And they told you that those people will be okay…sure there are gonna be some losers in the new global economy but most people will be better off in the long run. It’s good for the economy overall.

What’s good for the goose…

© Glenn R Keller 2021, All Rights Reserved

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