What you do matters

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Think of a job that you would rather let someone else do. Something that you know is important but you would rather not be the one doing it. Then reflect on what you think of people who are employed in this position. How do you perceive them?

Cleaning is one such profession. We all know the importance of cleanliness and we are disgusted by dirty toilets and stained floors. Most of us would never consider cleaning public toilets as a career. Cleaners are often treated with lesser respect than people working in most other professions. Cleaners have low salaries and are under-appreciated. Yet it is very important that cleaners do their job well. How they perform their work really matters to us. Their negligence will leave us exposed to many deadly diseases and this in turn will result in hefty medical bill and lost productivity.

A CBC documentary undercover camera showed a cleaner using the same brush to clean the toilet bowl and the sink. The same documentary also showed signs that cleaners took shortcuts or did not clean the hotel rooms as they should have. As a consequence, traces of a highly lethal and infectious bacteria were discovered in high-touch surfaces.

Everyone's job is there for a reason. The job is there to fulfill a requirement. It is work that matters. Why else would someone pay to get that job done. Not performing the task to the best of our abilities would result in consequences for others. So it is important that we all perform our duties to the best of our abilities and always strive to do it better. Martin Luther King once said "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he sweep streets as Michaelangelo painted, Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry."

Everyone makes a difference. To see what kind of difference you make, imagine what would happen if you don't do your job well. Negligent cleaners expose others to diseases. Negligent electricians can create fire hazards. Negligent pipeline technicians increase risks of pipeline spills.

Everyone talks about hard work, quality work, diligence, and honesty. But only you can choose to peform quality work, to be diligent, and to be honest. Only you can choose to perform you job in an exceptional way. No one is preventing you from being exceptional. It would require more hard work but it would result in greater satisfaction for yourself and more value for others. Setting a higher standard is always more challenging that achieving the status quo.

Indifferent people do the bare minimum or even less. Don't be indifferent. Care about others. Strive to provide value and benefits to others through your work. Often the difference between getting the job done and doing a better job is only a few minutes. If your assignment is to write a document, it would only take minutes to proofread it, only minutes to improve the formatting, and only minutes to add metadata. By doing a better job in increments, you would eventually get into the habit of doing an excellent job.

If you are in a management position, your work is people. Managers succeed when they realize the people they are managing are humans. Effective managers are able to inspire their workers to perform exceptional work. To inspire someone, you need to do lead by example, and demonstrate the benefits of exceptional work. Managers also need to ensure that their workers have access to all the necessary resources and training to perform exceptional work and provide exceptional service.

What you do matters. If you do your job well, you will gain greater satisfaction from it and provide value to others. Abraham Lincoln said "Whatever you are, be a good one". Only you can choose to be a "good one".


Please feel free to publish this article, free of charge, as long as this resource box is visibly published. Copyright Nazim Rahman (c) http://www.selfimprovement.ch

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