What do you want to be when you grow up?
An 18 wheel truck driver
I like trucks and they have lots of wheels.
I don’t think the conversation went exactly that way. In fact, if I had to guess, it was probably a finger painting exercise.
This was kindergarten.
I’m grown up now, sort of, and I’m not what I thought I wanted to be.
I had expressed what I love, not yet inhibited by societal norms and expectations. I’ve thought about this and tried to ascribe meaning to it.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the desire to be a truck driver is not what mattered, it was the curiosity.
I was curious about trucks. They were big, they moved, they carried stuff. I wondered what was inside, where they were going, what it was like to see all kinds of places. There was a mystery about the truck. I wanted to know more.
I’ve never driven a truck, but I see them every day. They are no longer a mystery, but I’m left asking…
What still has mystery for me today? What do I want to be when I grow up?
What do you want to be?
“That’s not my job!”, she said.
My daughter resisted a request to help her brother get ready to leave for a birthday party. It was a curious statement that gave me pause.
She doesn’t have a job description written down somewhere. She doesn’t get paid for things she does around the house, but somewhere along the way she has picked up that she has a role to play and that their is line that can be crossed. And if that line is crossed, she will resist.
I wondered. What is your job? Who tells you what it is? and How should you respond to things that are outside the scope of those boundaries?
In a professional environment, there is a job description that includes roles and responsibilities. They are guidelines for your area of expertise and what people can depend on you for.
The reality of what you do and what is written down on paper rarely matches. Work is fluid. It’s constantly changing and requires you to adapt and to change to it. But there is work to be done and it’s the value you add to the work that you get paid for.
What would happen if employees lived by the letter of the job description? What would happen in the workplace if everyone only did what was written down for them? Would we do better work? Would there be less conflict because everyone colored inside their lines? Maybe. But what happens when work changes? Something must adapt, the people or the job description. Perhaps both.
At some point there is work that needs to get done and it’s up to us to decide if we want to do it. Saying that’s not my job is not helpful and it takes the responsibility off of you and puts it on the piece of paper or the person who wrote the job description.
The truth is, my daughter didn’t want to do the job. We must decide, do we want to do the job or not. Updating the job description, that’s secondary.