But I’m going to suggest, instead, that the word “work” is just fine; rather, “job” is my four letter word. Because a job is something that you do to minimal standards:
- You arrive at your job no later than a certain time
- You leave no earlier than a certain time
- You perform certain tasks or fulfill certain responsibilities
- Or you complete a certain tasks or a certain number of tasks during your shift
Do you see? "Jobs" are all about simply meeting standard expectations, pursuing “good enough” instead of something more fulfilling.
In fact, most written job descriptions are full of nothing BUT minimal expectations.You’ll show up on time, you’ll do these tasks, you’ll meet these minimal measures, and you’ll answer to these people. What’s more, most of these job descriptions are based on minimal expectations, because they aren’t written with over-achievers in mind, at all.
In fact, the way that most job descriptions are worded makes them sound as though they were written with the presumption that without these written minimal standards, an employee wouldn’t even try to work up to the mark. They’re written as though they assume that any employee would try to do the least amount of work possible on any given day if these lists of responsibilities weren’t provided for them.
Not exactly the basis for an inspiring, mutually beneficial relationship.
There’s nothing particularly fulfilling about meeting minimal standards as an employee. And the other side of the equation is just as bad, because there’s nothing about an employer-employee agreement for meeting minimal standards in exchange for pay that lends itself to continuous improvement and the pursuit of excellence, the pursuit of extra-ordinary.
Here’s what I propose instead, from both sides of the employee/employer relationship: don’t work your job. Instead, no matter what your job, set out to work your calling.
So what’s the difference? A job is something you can do (a competence) and probably something you have to do for financial reasons; but your calling is something you want to do -- and the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Many times people think of callings as grand vocations, the reason that people become doctors or ministers or public servants. But those aren’t callings, those are jobs, roles that people are drawn to because they are called to help and heal, to spread a message that is bigger than themselves, to give assistance to people who can’t help themselves, etc. In other words, their calling is facilitated by the role they chose to use to fulfill it.
No matter what your job is, you can still work your calling. Think of your calling as those things you most love doing, those things that give you the most personal satisfaction, those things that stimulate your creativity and passion. And no matter what your job, work your calling.
This might require that you revisit the terms of your employment and negotiate with your boss to modify your job in ways that will allow this. It might even require that you seek a new role within your organization or outside of it. If you are an individual who has proven themselves not only against the minimal standards of your job description but as someone who is willing to exceed them, your employer may be open to the idea.
If you are an employer, you should grab onto this concept as well. If you write employment terms in traditional job descriptions and manage and measure your employees by a set of minimal standards, that’s what you’ll receive in return – employees who return the minimum of what you expect.
If you really want to get more from your employees, provide the means by which that can happen!
You have to be willing to take a chance on people. Demonstrate that you trust your staff to not only do what is expected, but that you trust them to work from their passions to do more. Help your employees discover their passions and strengths and then work creatively to craft roles by which they can exercise them. And reward and acknowledge people in return for the investment that they make with their passions – the contributions that come from their hearts and souls.
Can you imagine working for a company like this? Can you imagine running your company like this, and all of the places that it could take your business?
“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure. You have no security unless you can live bravely, excitingly, and imaginatively; unless you can choose a challenge instead of a competence.”
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) American humanitarian and UN diplomat
Elizabeth Kraus is the author of 365 Days of Marketing.
If you want to build a business which provides the maximum when it comes to customer and employee satisfaction and loyalty as well as profitability, change the way that you understand and use marketing. 365 Days of Marketing is available on amazon.com or save $5 off the list price when you use the Code USH9VPJG and purchase on my site at 12monthsofmarketing.net.