“Its Not My Job”: A Corporate Syndrome

Few days ago, me and one of our avid readers of the blog were talking about various management situations and sharing anecdotes. Surprisingly, we were speaking about possible changes in the workplace to make the environment happier, more fun and efficient. One of the roadblocks identified was “Its not my job” attitude of many people around us. It made me think, we all have seen situations where people have used these 4 letters in this sequence for all right and wrong reasons. We all have used it in some form or the other in our careers (including me). Hence, I thought about it to write for everyone to have a good read.

“It’s not my job” has become a phrase commonly used in the workplace or sometimes even in personal lives. But that doesn’t mean it should be. Sure, this attitude may help you avoid doing extra work, but it’ll probably also prevent you from advancing in your career since you’ll be labelled as someone unwilling to go above and beyond. Not to mention, it could also get you labelled as lazy and unaccommodating, making you unpopular in your team. This will also increase toxicity of the work culture. Toxic work culture gobbles up good ideas and good people [speaking from personal experience]. Just wondering, why do people really use this? What exactly is achieved by using this phrase? It feels like, people use it mainly to duck the extra work, or they are already disengaged from current work and continue to do what they are assigned to do, or even sometimes overwork.

What people are forgetting is the amount of negativity they bring into their work relationships by using such statements. In the age of hyper-connectivity, this may even result into a career limiting decisions. When a co-worker or even your family members ask for help, please do make an honest effort to help them. Your help may go unnoticed for a while but will be acknowledged soon by others. In today’s world, you should always feel lucky if you can make an impact or help others around you. Otherwise such opportunities are hard to come by. Such helps, and assistances will not only cement the societal and familial bonds but also create a positive aura around you which may lead to something bigger in life.

On the contrary, do note just because you are saying you shouldn’t make regular use of those four words doesn’t mean I think you should always say yes and automatically pick up the slack for others. What I am saying is that, rather than letting these words slip out of your mouth, you should learn how to say yes or no in a way that works for both parties involved.

The dream would be, imagine your workplace if no one uttered the phrase “that’s not my job.” Imagine how productive and efficient your workplace could be! There are a few ways to change the “that’s not my job” mindset and remove the phrase from everyday use within the organisation.

  • First, one must acknowledge the bigger picture in a given situation.
  • Second, one must show initiative and must act.
  • Last, one must not be afraid to act and ask questions.

The more you practise not saying “Not my Job”, the more you will reap benefits from work situations and life in general.


Nihit Mohan

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Who is Nihit Mohan?

Nihit Mohan is a banker, author and a TEDx speaker. He was born & raised in the cradle of cultural diversity of India, & currently resides in Singapore. He did his education from seven schools spread across multiple cities & cultures. He is an engineer by education & has made a successful career in the financial services industry. He hails from a family of engineers, bureaucrats & academicians.

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