Some days our jobs feel mundane. The work has become repetitive, our colleagues predictable, and our roles unchanging. Our don’t-rock-the-boat boss gives us less and less room to be creative or engaged beyond our daily tasks.
When this happens, it’s tempting to just put your nose to the grindstone, follow the job description to the letter, and lower your career expectations.
Deep down, you know this strategy isn’t good for you.
It’s your job, so work it.
Remember how important it was to get your job and the effort it took? Whether your job is one of a kind or one of many, it’s a specific area of the business that’s in your care. The way you perform matters.
If your job weren’t important, the company wouldn’t be willing to pay you for it. While your job description states the duties, you, personally, bring your standards, commitment, and honor to the work.
Recently, some terrible tragedies have been in the news. In the U.S., there was a devastating hurricane and an unfathomable mass shooting of elementary school children and their educators.
No first responder or school teacher has a job description that includes duties to perform when threats to human life fall upon him/her in enormous and unanticipated scale.
Most of us don’t have to face life and death situations in our jobs. But there are situations that we won’t/can’t tolerate–circumstances that call us to action.
It might be:
- Bullying, bias, or discrimination of coworkers
- Business decisions based on faulty or incomplete information
- Product defects, known or suspected
- Unsafe equipment or procedures
- A sudden calamity in your work area, a stricken coworker, or destructive weather
When we’re faced with such situations, we discover how invested we are in our jobs based on the actions we take.
7 intervening actions
Owning our jobs in a crisis is not about being a hero or heroine. It’s about responding in ways that align our strengths and capabilities with needs.
The teacher who steps in front of a gunman to protect her students and the first responder who wades through waist-deep water to save a life follow an inner drive compatible with the calling that drew them to their jobs.
We have a calling too. You may know today how far you would go to intervene in a crisis while others of us may not know until we’re in that crisis moment.
Here are 7 actions to consider. One or more may be what you’d be prepared to do:
- Step forward–Take charge; lead others; put fear aside and do what you believe is right
- Buy time–Deflect incoming negatives; implement stop-gap measures; negotiate options
- Steady the ship–Follow established procedures/protocols; create stability through regimen; reduce panic by reliance on routine
- Provide comfort–Keep a cool head; settle others using calm counsel; meet the emotional and physical needs of others; rally optimism
- Gather forces–Foster collaboration; collect and share input needed for decision-making; engage others able to help; create community
- Test solutions–Pilot test potential remedies; get feedback; fine-tune the fixes; build on successes; capture lessons learned
- Communicate relentlessly–Develop and deliver credible messages; keep everyone in the loop; listen and address questions/concerns; reduce the stress of not knowing
I’ve always felt like I owned the responsibilities stated or unstated in my jobs. If I saw a workplace injustice, I spoke up and then tried to do something about it. When people were upset about major workplace changes, I offered perspectives that would help ease the worry.
We all have some kind of help to offer in a crisis.
Embrace the moment
All crises are not created equal. No matter how big or small, when things go wrong, those affected are off-balance, fearful, uncertain, and even confused. That’s probably you too. But you have a chance to embrace the situation in your own way, using your skills and instincts to help fix things.
Please take a moment to think about your job and your investment it. What do you think you’d do in a crisis? I suspect it will be something very good.
Photo from mycos2012 via Flickr