You need to know something...

Charm only works for the duration of brief exchanges with people, after that you should know and offer something of value in anything you are working on or talking about. This is especially true, in this new economic environment, at work. Pure knowledge alone is no longer enough if you are to be of real value, no matter what you do, in any organization. Doing the minimum required or going by the book is not working either, for you or any employer, whether you or they realize it or not.

It's up to us to make work more interesting and become more valuable in the job we're in or for the one we want. Others can't do that for us and neither can the amount, large or small, that we're paid. These days we need to know more than just our field of expertise, whether it's bending steel or programming bits or interacting with the public or managing people. We also need to make good decisions with our knowledge when we apply it and add value to the people we work with by quality interactions with them. That quality enriches everyone. Knowing the mechanics of what we do, whether it's machining a part, answering calls, guiding tours or directing the work of others, is only the ground level of what we do.

If you're doing something, even if it isn't your ideal situation, it always benefits you to make it worthwhile by going the extra step and adding quality. Otherwise minutes and hours are pure drudgery and you gain nothing and lose a lot. If you put a little creative thought into even the most rote task, doing more than following the policies and procedures to the letter, overcomes just being a piece part in the business. Even if it's not immediately apparent and only a small amount, you learn something by making it more challenging, adding to the job, totaling up to making your unique addition more valuable to yourself and who you work with.

It also keeps every day interesting. If you invest in what you're doing, it is returned to you in positive reactions by co-workers, a reciprocal beneficial reward.


  1. I agree with everything you say here, sir.

    Looking back, I don't think I ever was under the assumption that I DIDN'T have to be more than the job description, whatever the job was. When I was a kid wheeling concrete around during the summers for my grandfather (who was a very fair and VERY hard working boss) I...learned to appreciate the value of any little bit of anything I could add to the job. And here's where it gets weird, because it wasn't like I knew I was adding anything sometimes. It could be as simple as really listening to the stories he and the other workers told on our occasional breaks; as crazy as that might sound I did enjoy listening to them and I think my interest might have made all of our days go by better. That people 30, 40, 50 years older than me could think I was an OK worker was something I was proud of, because they were people who KNEW how to work. But I still think the other "intangibles" were very important, too.

    That was decades ago, but it still strike me that if you can find something you like about a job and are willing to listen and just get along with people, you're going to be ahead of the game. I also think it helps to-if you have a job that's mathematical, for instance-sometimes look at it as an art; keep the inviolable stuff in your head but play around with the rest. I can't imagine how many times I've invented ways of doing things that supervisors, etc., said couldn't be done, just by looking at all the possible tools and letting things gel awhile...and I don't know if it works the other way around, bringing science in to solve artistic-type problems, but I don't see why it couldn't.

    Toss that in with never fearing making mistakes, and you are definitely onto something.

    Anyway, forgive my excessive testimony. It's much more brief than it could have been. Small consolation, I'm sure.

    As always: great post, JR.

  2. You mention getting along with people and looking at a job as an art...I think you hit the nail on the head with that term. No job or endeavor is merely an exact science, the ART of communications and human interaction is essential and vice versa. Great comment, food for thought. Thanks!