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Sandor Dargo
Sandor Dargo

Posted on

Do your job

It's so easy to tell anyone that he shouldn't care about this and that. He shouldn't complain what the other does, shouldn't care about the inhibitory conditions. But do you do your own job when you are doing this?

As sportscaster Adam Lefkoe said about one of NFL’s most renowned coaches in an interview with The Daily Stoic,

β€œI find Belichick’s mantra β€œDo Your Job” to be a three-word embodiment of Stoicism. He is defined by his intense focus and dispassionate nature. He lives for process. He prepares for any possible situation or outcome. He works harder than any other coach in the NFL and doesn’t have time to worry about losses... he’s β€œon to Cincinnati.”

"Marcus Aurelius says to approach each task as if it were your last, because it very well could be. And even if it isn’t, botching what’s right in front of you doesn’t help anything. Find clarity in the simplicity of doing your job today" adds Ryan Holiday.

During my not so long career I've seen so many people who will just find any excuse in order not to do their job. These people will always find something that they can complain about. Something that they can use as a shelter trying to hide from the tasks coming towards them. Or if those duties eventually make them work, them same excuses will serve as poor justifications for low quality work.

I try to avoid interacting with them as much as possible.

I just don't agree with their approach and I think most of the time it is impossible to change someone through arguments. You can try to teach someone if that person asks for some guidance. In that case, it's always better to teach them how to fish than giving them one or even a huge swarm.

But if nobody asks for your opinion, better to keep it for yourself and to focus on your job. The only through way of educating people is showing a good example anyway.

Just as you should care that much about what your colleagues do, you shouldn't be emotionally attached to the output of your work. Do you worry about whether your code will be loaded this week or next week to production? You shouldn't care as long as you did your best writing the code and submitting it for the necessary loads. You did your part, it's not your problem anymore - if it really isn't based on your processes. Just pick a new problem ticket/user story/whatever and continue doing your job as good as you can.

This approach helps you not getting stressed about things you are not responsible for and it helps you keep the focus on your job and actually to keep a better work/life balance.

This article has been originally published on my blog.

Top comments (9)

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jaymeedwards profile image
Jayme Edwards πŸƒπŸ’»

There are some great insights here, thanks for sharing.

The mindset you describe is similar to the one I advocate for with a caveat - how safe is it to make mistakes? This has only been my experience, but people who resist commitment have usually been mistreated because of a past mistake and so now they try to avoid responsibility.

Unless they get an apology sometimes it’s better to let these people move on to somewhere that doesn’t have the same emotional baggage. Unfortunately these folks will sometimes stay too long and get ousted when management realizes they are disengaged.

YMMV

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

Sorry for the late reply, I'm traveling with my family and have little time.

You made a very important point about feelings safe even when you make mistakes. What's your way of helping such environments to form?

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jaymeedwards profile image
Jayme Edwards πŸƒπŸ’»

Great question.

I’ve never had much success personally creating safety within an unsafe company at the leadership level.

I’ve found ways to create pockets of safety for people I’m leading myself though and at least demonstrate forgiving mistakes others make as a way to plant the seed.

I did a video about this last year where I shared my philosophy around mistakes and a few ideas about what we can do.

The dev.to post (with link to the video) is here:

dev.to/jaymeedwards/how-mistakes-m...

If you find some time to watch/listen and have any feedback or questions, hit me up here or on YouTube.

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deyshin profile image
Daniel Shin

Extending the opinion of @yucer , I want to add my view.
I think there is a big difference between finding a reason not to work versus expressing the concern about the way the work is done

Let me be clear that I strongly believe in doing your job first. But there can be the second step to address the team's concerns, right?

At least from my personal experience of getting my job done while expressing concerns about the way the organization is managed (and why that may hinder myself and others' performance), and seeing those organization going down, I think it's unproductive to dismiss complaints of average workers as 'making excuses not to work'.

After all, I think everyone wants to do a good job. (though I may be wrong with my utopian view)

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

Thanks for your comment. I agree on the big difference you mentioned. And I wish I could agree that everyone wants to do a good job. But I think people can have other motivations. I think social pressure/good example and a high level of automated quality assurance can help a bit.

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lmolivera profile image
Lucas Olivera

I can relate to this. People always search for a excuse not to work. As a result of this, every time I start in a new company my excitement is lowered everyday because nobody wants to work or they take too much time to do everything, it is very frustrating.

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alanmbarr profile image
Alan Barr

Good stuff. I have run into people that say wow this stuff is hard. It is. That's what we are here to do. Focus on the value you provide and don't worry about everything else outside your control.

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