As a leader, I think the words “just a job” are in the top ten worst things I can hear. Sure – there is the obvious damage to the product/service this person is providing. However, that’s not what guts me when I hear this statement.
When I know a person is capable of achieving so much, hearing “just a job” means that they are settling. They are not being challenged. They are not seeking challenges. They are not growing their potential. They are not being supported to grow their potential. They have settled on this is all it can be – hence just a job to get finished each day as quickly as possible.
This devastates me. People, who enter my industry, are problem solvers. They are driven. They are educated and willing to learn. Settling means they slowly lose a part of what them and eventually impacts their results as well.
Now I realize that there are some periods in life when “just a job” is a means of getting through the days. After my son died, my career very much became a job. Something to keep me busy and distracted but not something I cared about in the least bit. I was growing in other ways and didn’t have any more energy to give. However, after some time, this started to change. I can’t imagine if I had let myself finish my working years experiencing “just a job” mentality.
I also realize that sometimes the situation at work doesn’t provide many options other than to begin viewing their role as “just a job”. Maybe leadership is not leading, maybe mixed messages are happening, etc. If that’s the case, search elsewhere. Maybe for a new job – maybe not, but at least something that can be added to provide you some challenges. Is there a local meet up or conference you can volunteer to help run/organize? Are there speaking opportunities nearby or afar? Is there a training you could take? Is there a professional book you could read? Is there someone that you could be helping?
How do you help yourself/others out of the “just a job” mentality?