There are no rewards for just doing your job

IT Business

Yesterday was a slow day, with all the 1st of the month stuff wrapped up people tend to sit back, refocus, adjust their appointments and plan for the week ahead so Monday morning doesn’t start on a bad note. It’s also time when we look at what others in the company are doing, developers look at support, support looks at ops and facilities it’s all a part of oiling the machine. At some point in the afternoon I get an IM:

Stamantha says:

Why is Sheldon updating tickets? I have him on vacation this week.

Now, what I’m about to share with you is not in any self-help book, HR guide, socialist pamphlet or Islamic fatwa. Perhaps it should be. Ready?

There is no award for doing your job.

There is no award for doing what you’re expected to. Meeting expectations is.. well.. a requirement to remain employed. If you sit on that line you will be the first one gone. Hate to break it down like that but it’s the truth. People who do the bare minimum do not get promoted, they do not get raises, they do not get bonuses.

Same goes for delivering services. If you simply do what you said you would do you’ve earned your pay. Nothing more. If the five people around you are doing the same but also picking up the slack, documenting their work, contacting the customer for courtesy followups, managing their schedule and their customers demands.. well, those people get more money.

Somewhere between stupidity (working harder than those around you) and insanity (knowingly working harder knowing that no raise or bonus is guaranteed) there is a little thing called work ethic and that is what elevates the excellence of the team, the company and the solutions we deliver. If that sounds like Dilbert’s pointy haired boss saying our people are our greatest asset then I’ve hit my mark, because…

… because for the most part that whole thing is total bs that companies give their employees to keep them under delusion of future for just one more day. Efficient and flexible companies are not built on psych profilers, blank incentives and meaningless perks. Employees are not motivated by a shocky stick and a output measure every 60 minutes. Companies driven in such a way guarantee only one thing: that your employees will only do the bare minimum required to get to the next step, and they will resent you when they do the bare minimum for the next step and do not receive the anticipated result. Those folks are not on the same mission you are, if that is how you value your people, in an inverse proportion (the less I pay you, the more I make) then your employees will work the same way (the less I work the less stressed I will be and I will be happier)

Companies are built by example. Define goals, define requirements, define the effort required and then publicly reward the people that align themselves with your mission. Reward them publicly and excessively – you will find more of your people taking the same path.

Companies are built by leadership. Why are people working on vacation? Why are they looking at their case work after hours or getting stuff done whenever they get a chance? Because they see me do it. We are on the same page. I don’t jump into a room, smack a deadline on the wall and say “We’re going to get this done – Oh by the way, I’ll be in Hawaii next week, please try not to bother me.” This is not a Michael Jordan commercial, this is the truth about the American enterprise – if you are any kind of a leader people will follow you and try to be like you. So why not give the best possible example of working towards the common goal?

Companies are built with hard work. This doesn’t go without saying, it has to be said: If this stuff were easy everyone would do it and we’d be making minimum wage. But it’s not, and for us to stay where we are and get even better we need to work hard. We are not in this to just manage, to get by, to slide, to coast, to barely register. We are in this to be the best and it’s not easy.

So back to the question, why is Sheldon working while he is on vacation? Maybe he is a fool. Or maybe he understands what we are all about and is dedicated to the same goals that we’re all dedicated to. That’s not something you can profile, thats not something you can influence with the minimalist salary baits for incremental improvement..  That is something you establish by example, leadership and hard work.

8 Responses to There are no rewards for just doing your job

  1. Dan Sherman says:

    Where were you while I was still in the workforce? Although none of my bosses ever went to Hawaii and left me/us holding the fort (bag), tee time was every afternoon at three.

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  4. -e- says:

    His “job” at that exact moment was to be on vacation, so he really wasn’t doing his job, and should be duly chastised for that.

    Seriously, when I’m on vacation, it is for a reason. If my job (as owner) cannot assumed by others, then I’ve done a poor job of delegating, setting a boundary, divorcing work from pleasure (unless they’re synonymous, in which case I probably shouldn’t get paid), and creating an environment where vacation time is truly vacation time. Work hard, play hard – I’ve heard you say it before. Enforcing it is another matter entirely.

  5. E,

    I don’t believe vacation means I have to divorce work…even though it wasn’t my responsibility to work, I enjoy it. I enjoy the company I work for and I take pride in making sure it continues to have a positive image. No one asked me to work, I chose to do so. I choose to take time away from my personal life to make sure things continue to run smoothly. Vlad on many occasions tells me to respect my personal time, but its my choice how to delegate my time.

  6. Chris Knight says:

    There IS an award for doing your job – it’s called getting paid. The bonus is a sense of accomplishment (indicates that you enjoy your job and you’re performing meaningful work).

    Yet another excellent post! Thanks for such a great blog!

  7. -e- says:

    Travis – you’re duly commended for being so diligent, loyal, and for liking your work.

    Now, we return you to your regularly scheduled vacation. 🙂


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