Not my job
One of my first jobs was as a bartender in a pub. My supervisor, Ted, had what I then thought was a compulsive neatness habit. If he saw a chair was out of place, he would straighten it. If there was an empty glass on the table, he would take it. A cigarette on the floor, he would pick it up. He couldn’t abide it if the other staff didn’t do this too. He’d say to us “don’t just turn a blind eye because you’re a bartender and not a cleaner. We work as a team here; your job is everything.”
The bigger your organisation becomes; the more distributed your team or the more defined the roles, the easier it becomes to think “that’s not by job”. Just like the guy driving the line-marking car in the photo above, who figured getting out of the truck to move the branch was not his job.
What would you think of a striker who stood by and let the ball roll into the goals because the goalkeeper was on the ground? It’s not his job to protect the goal, right?
If you are working on a team building a product or an experience for a customer, then your job is to bring them that experience, and to have it be the best experience it can be. Your job is not just testing or writing code; it’s not just writing the help copy or managing the DNS configs. They are just things that you’re good at – your job is the product. If you see something that’s broken, then it’s your job to fix it. Your job is everything.
So when you see that crooked stool or that empty glass – what will you do?