Meir Ezra: “It’s Not My Job!”

According to an Inc. magazine survey, most executives hate hearing this statement: “It’s not my job.”

The same survey found most employees hate it when they are pulled off to do someone else’s job.

For example, the employees of a famous restaurant in are members of a labor union. They dislike doing other people’s work so much that their union contract covers this point. “We will not do anyone else’s job.”

So if someone drops food or dishes on the floor, the food servers, busboys and cooks may not clean up the mess. The restaurant manager must either clean the mess or call in a janitor.

The restaurant owner said, “I was eating with a group of friends to celebrate my wife’s birthday when a waiter dropped a bottle of wine. He just looked at the mess and walked away. No one would clean it up because of the union contract. So I got up from my meal, grabbed a mop and cleaned up the wine while the restaurant employees, and my friends, all watched.”

Another restaurant has the opposite problem. These employees are not union members and do not have a union contract, but the place is a mad house.

You walk in and see a full restaurant, but no workers. Everyone is off doing something else. The chef comes out of the bathroom, notices you standing there and yells at a busboy to help you. The busboy wipes his hands, grabs two menus and takes you to a messy table. The hostess runs over and helps the busboy clean up while you watch. Your waitress runs by to answer the telephone. Everyone is doing all the jobs.

So which approach is best? “No one may do other people’s jobs” or “Everyone should do all the jobs.”

Of course, neither approach is correct.

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