Are there any jobs or tasks which you believe to be beneath you? Are there any jobs or tasks which you would refuse to do on the principle that someone of your caliber, education or position shouldn’t be required to subject themselves to tasks of that nature? I learned a great lesson on humility 14 years ago from a mentor named Mr W.
I had a pretty cushy job at the time where many of the undesirable tasks that needed doing could be resolved with a phone call and having someone sent up to do it. As a child I was taught to do things when they required action but in this role I learned that people’s roles serve different purposes so let those responsible handle their assigned tasks. A great mentor named Mr W made me question this advice.
I was working a shift one day in a busy area when Mr W, the supervisor at the time, came through and noticed the area was untidy. I went to call for a cleaner to attend at once but Mr W said it was fine and collected a broom and swept the area himself. He had only been walking through the area to check on staff but took it upon himself to clean the area for those of us positioned there. I felt ashamed and awkward as I watched this senior member clean while a group of physically fit young men stood there saying and doing nothing. From that moment on I told myself that if I’m able to do something I will.
I started actioning things a lot more and only called on others if I didn’t have the skills or time to do so myself. I think ego was a problem beforehand, thinking that my peers would think less of me if I performed tasks that I foolishly believed we’re beneath me. These days, I don’t have an issue performing tasks. As long as I have the ability to do so and the safety measures are sound, I’ll gladly pull my sleeves up. Having said that, I still try to minimise the amount of dirty nappies I change, even after 10 years, some tasks don’t get any better!
Thanks to Mr W’s actions and for leading by example, I’ve been able to get on with many tasks which would have had barriers previously. Demonstrating self-sufficiency and good judgement is a great example of a reliable person and can only help improve your value in the workplace.
Have a think about any tasks you have previously avoided because of bias and jump in head first. Get it done and make the environment for you and those around you better. A clean workspace is a great start and can lead to many greater encounters.