I hear non-stop from well-spoken leaders and writers about choosing a job where I’ll love my work. By doing something that I am passionate about, I will be happy and fulfilled. Yay, rainbows and happy people abound!
In reality, there is more to a job than just the stuff you love. Even within a role that you love will often be the annoying details, the frustrating side issues, and the back-office (or front-office) aspects that have to be dealt with that you may not enjoy. Some may say, “hire someone else”, but that’s not always possible, nor is it necessarily a good idea to outsource a particular task. And in other situations, you simply can’t get rid of a disliked task, as it is a fundamental part of your job.
Just because you don’t like doing something, or its not part of your passion, doesn’t mean its not part of your job. This apply’s to anyone, in any role. You’re always (I hope) going to have aspects of your job that you love. If that’s the case, fantastic. But even in your absolute favorite job, you will have some tasks and responsibilities that you’ll be less than thrilled about.
Don’t not do part of your job just because you don’t like to do it.
You are a consultant, and part of your job is to fill out time sheets (boring…!). So you don’t fill them out. And you can rationalize it away in so many ways. But, until you fill out those time-sheets, the company billing team can’t bill your clients and the company doesn’t get paid. So, a disliked part of you job, has a large potential impact on the company.
You’re a leader. You have an employee who is doing shoddy work. You’ve watched the employee get moved around a number of times before being assigned to you. You hear they always do shoddy work, but no one wants to deal with firing them because every manager so far has dislike the idea of firing someone. The shoddy work that this employee has done, has propagated into customer data, and looking back, can’t really be trusted. So the first manager that decide to move the employee rather than terminate that person, didn’t do the work they didn’t like. Letting someone go is a tough, awful choice. But that shoddy work is bad for the company, bad for morale for the rest of the employees and bad for your customers. Don’t like firing someone who does a terrible job in their role? Too bad, as a manager, its part of your job.
You’re a marketer. What are the parts you aren’t that thrilled about doing? For some, the social media is the fun part and metrics the bane of their existence. For others, the data is the cool part and writing copy is awful. And for yet others, writing is their passion, but setting up the social media calendar and tracking posts is miserable. Still part of your job.
Perhaps you’re an intern? Being an intern can be an incredible learning experience. You generally have plenty of meetings with senior executives, and you get to see many different aspects of a role. On the flip side, you have to get your project done, and present it well to your leadership. Just doing the job isn’t enough, you have to actually have a good presentation and a good write-up. You may not think the presentation is important, but its likely the only impression many leaders in the company will have of you. Part of your job.
And yes, even students. As a student there are probably plenty of parts you really dislike about school. Maybe there are some you like? Hopefully you like at least a few aspects of your classes. You may think to yourself, when will I even do math again? One word: taxes. Or if you’re a grad student, you may think, just doing great science should be enough. But you know its not. Keeping legible, understandable notes is your job as well. The concept that even the parts you don’t like are part of your ‘job’ as a student are still part of your job is one best learned early.
No matter the role, I hope you’ll have parts of your job that you love and bring you joy. But regardless of how fantastic most of your job may be, there will be aspects that you dislike, maybe abhor, or even hate. They are still part of your job. And choosing to ignore them in the hope they will go away almost always backfires.
One more time: just because you don’t like to do it, doesn’t mean it isn’t part of your job.
What tasks have you seen colleagues not do because they don’t like to do them? Share your experiences in the comments!
(This post is an expanded version of one published on LinkedIn 1-27-2016)