"It's not my job" and other Famous Last Words

There's a standard mantra repeatedly uttered at your company amongst your coworkers during meetings and typed in emails. It's a multi-purpose statement, sort of the corporate equivalent of "prego" in Italian. People use it as a greeting, a salutation, place filler, and most particularly a defense. Four simple words: it's not my job.

How many times do you encounter this on a daily basis? Or for that matter, how often do you say it? How frequently is this paltry flight from professionalism, this wholesale abandonment of any shred of personal integrity and dignity farted out of the facial rectums of the lowest common denominator who steal our oxygen?

There is no greater roadblock to productivity, no more glutinous inhibition to progress, than minds strangled by bullet points on a career planning document stuffed in a manila folder in a filing cabinet three cubicles away. These are small, feeble minds, uninterested in producing anything of quality, incapable of more than the bare minimum, and the shameful husk of something less than human. In a perfect world, the words "it's not my job" would be immediately followed with ritual disembowelment by wandering ronin.

It's possible my feelings are too strong on this, potentially unhealthy, even. And yet, I persist. Because those people are the scum of the Cosmos, and their genetic heritage should be eliminated.

It's not my job comes in different shapes and sizes. For instance, I don't work for youyou're not my boss, or best of all, the passive-aggressive that's not in my job description. These are just thin disguises for I don't wanna.

Wouldn't it be great to be dynamic? Maybe instead of petulantly refusing to help out, people might suggest solutions, or at the very least help usher things along the proper workflow? Be careful now, because here are three more words that just betray people for the lazy, ambition-lacking, morale black holes they are: I'm too busy. 

No. Put a stop to these sentiments right now. Solve problems, don't side step. For all the flaws of corporate culture, all the lies and prevarication in the realm of The Office, all the ways these constructs minimize and invalidate people, we mustn't lose sight of the fact that this same culture is fed by the people who inhabit it. As such, employees can choose to lower themselves to the petty stresses of The Job, or choose to raise The Job to their desired level of dignity.


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  • With the employment side of the economy not being what it was, say 4 years ago, I'm surprised that people still say this, unless they are like Wally who retains Dogbert to say that he'll sue, or their uncle is the Assistant Director of Developing Corporatespeak.

    Also, if they are under annual review with the goals and similar b.s, what do they put down "I might have come close to meeting expectations"?

    But then there is the CTA, and most other government jobs.

  • The more unpleasant working conditions get, and the more stretched employees are, the more frequently this line comes popping out. It'd almost be entertaining to watch a company shift from a culture of problem solving to a culture of obstinacy.

    That's my long-winded way of saying, "Yeah, people suck. A lot. And are also mostly dumb."

  • In reply to DayLabor:

    But dumb enough to take unemployment as an alternative? According to the right pane, some don't find unemployment that bad. That's why I figure those who exhibit this attitude must have something on the boss. Or are civil serpents.

  • In reply to jack:

    You're not wrong. It's also a bit of a morale issue. People have been dumped on in their jobs with "do more with less FOR less" nonsens for a long enough time now, that they are reactionary and surly. Or broken.

    It should be noted that the kinds of things we consider "fair" treatment now would not have flown five or six years ago. And for all the spirit of American determination and the idea that we do what we must and survive by adapting to difficult environments, settling for regression is a still a bad thing.

    Boy, I really am long winded today.

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