Just do your job already!


I must’ve walked over these leaves a half dozen times before I really looked down. There, in a pile of leaves blown up against the stoop, were two leaves unlike all the others. Somewhere, a sycamore had dropped its huge leaves, but there is no sycamore around; not in the yard or the neighboring yard of magnolias; not across the street, not down the street. Yet, there they are, two sycamore leaves, joined with the countless others piled up against the back door step. That’s the mystery, the story behind this photo, and a pretty good symbol of what my mind has been caught up with.

Questions I’ve struggled with often rose up to the surface yet again today as I walked my usual steps through the day. These are the questions that I find ultimately separate me from a good number of my fellow human beings. No matter how many times I ask these questions, I never find a suitable answer.

How can you go to work day after day and not enjoy what you do?

I can’t do that. I tried it once and never did it again. Oh sure, I’ve had jobs that weren’t the most optimal, but there was always something about those jobs that I enjoyed. And sure, a few of them took a bit of imagination to produce a positive side to the job. But today, here and now, my job is doing what I believe in, what I enjoy and what I’m good at.

How can you go to work day after day and not do your job?

This one gets me every time I notice it happening. I can’t imagine going to work, being “on the clock” and not doing what I am being paid to do. To go in to work and not work while you are being paid to work is thievery! It’s theft, plain and simple. OK, in my case it might be petty theft, but it’s still stealing. This is beyond the scope of doing work that is not your best; this is doing work, any work at all.

How can you do a job and not actually help the people you were hired to help?

This is a question that actually puts the first two questions together, but asks a bit more by asking it. If you work in an agency that delivers a specific service to a specific segment of people with a particular need, then those people coming into the office are the sole reason you have a job to begin with. So, why resent when those people come in? Why resent that people actually have the particular need you are there to help fulfill?  What, are you “better” because you don’t happen to have this particular need at the moment? Really?

How can you do a job and do a half-assed job?

My God, Jim! If you’re going to start it, finish it, do the whole thing, get ‘er done, do it all! Why? Well, you’re getting paid to do the job, the whole job and nothing but the job. Not doing the whole job leaves your work for someone else to do, and most likely be far more difficult to complete because of the problems caused by not doing it right the first time. Can’t do it? Then go find another job!

Then I think back to the picture of the leaves, those two lone sycamore leaves on top of a pile of the countless other, common remnants of swinging in the breezes. Going all Freudian, is that big leaf me? It felt like it today. I hope those leaves aren’t there tomorrow so that I’m not reminded again of all these burning questions with no answers. I might never find the answers, but the solution is obvious:

Just do your damned job already!
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