Thursday, May 21, 2009

Go-getter or show-stopper?

So when was the last time you said, “IMPOSSIBLE” at your workplace? Of course, we have all been taught right from our 5th grades that uttering the “I” word is very uncool and with all the current layoffs reaching dizzying levels, not one person in his/her right senses would remotely come anywhere close to experimenting with that word, eh? ;)

But ‘Impossible’ is a word that comes in many hues: ‘It’s not my job’, ‘Why should I do it?’, ‘How does that concern me?’, ‘Who cares?’ are more or less lame variations of the very same word. The context could be any – a high profile client is on a visit to your office and your boss suddenly asks you to fetch coffee ignoring the fact that you are the top programmer in the team; an important proposal needs to be sent out ASAP and you are the one selected to fax it; or the more frequent instance where you realize you are just doing a chore that was actually assigned to your boss by his and he has in turn delegated it to you.

Many a time, you could get away with not doing it. You would even be justified in ignoring such requests because such tasks don’t actually enhance your CV and the incident is minor enough to be dismissed off, considering your other accomplishments.

An alternate way of looking at such situations is to let all the impulsive questions rise to your mind and then flip each one of them: ‘Why is it not my job?’, ‘Why shouldn’t I do it?’, ‘How can it not concern me?’, ‘Why shouldn’t I care?’ It is perhaps one of the few instances where introducing the negatives makes one see the bigger picture because if you give the flipped questions a little thought, you suddenly perceive the importance of this seemingly minor task and its implications to your organization. In short, you are displacing yourself from the “centre of the universe” and placing your organization in that spot. And at the end of it all, you also feel good about having done the task.

Not that you should grab the janitor’s mop first thing after reaching office tomorrow and replace him in the housekeeping department but the willingness to enable and expedite things, even when those tasks don’t directly figure in your list of responsibilities, is perhaps what differentiates a workplace go-getter from a show-stopper.


  1. Hey Vishwas, Nice topic. I remember one instance where in I was asked to get a glass of water when one of our clients had come down from the US. But my VP was kind enough to introduce me to him as a top performer. So I was quite happy.. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.


  2. @Sandeep-

    Glad you liked the post. :)