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« The first stage in the acceptance of a new idea ... | Main | Tell me how you'll measure me - and I'll tell you how I'll behave ... »

August 30, 2007



One thing to mention is the amazing creativity and new ideas that can come from abandoning standard job description and procedures and "acting like the CEO".

One example from my experience is a new junior software person who's sole job was to maintain some legacy applications for one specific business group.

The previous guy got fired for constantly complaining about how bad the code quality was and demanding that it be completely rewritten (at great expense of resources).

This new girl did some benchmarking and found out that a similar group in the company was using a very similar software application already. She proposed "sharing" this application between groups and pooling resources ... a brave move since any PHB would see this as a great opportunity to put the maintenance person out of a job!

Instead, turns out the managers were so impressed by her presentation about how much time and money would be saved to the company, that they put her in charge of improving other business systems ... with the corresponding salary hike in the next review!


If you embrace "not-in-my-job-description" tasks you could end up slaving without thanks, so make sure your efforts are recognised and rewarded or you're not doing yourself a favour.

Tracie Byers

Wow! What a way to look at your job? Am I really an engineer or from now on a busiess woman enganged in the businss of managing engineering? Tomorrow I could be managing a totally different field with this thinking....Let me practice this for a few months and get back to you..Thanks T

Ramon M

"If you change the way we look at things, things we look at change" This is really profound...I think you messed up my big weekend.


Awesome article. I have been looking at my job like this for the last 3-4 years. I have to say that I have gained a lot in that time. I go promoted twice last year alone and I gained 7,000 dollars more in pay. I also completely switched my career path to Application development with no college degree.

Really, from a business standpoint I think I could do better. That is the beauty of this point of view.

I call this trancending your company. When you do you are no longer afraid of being fired. You realize the connection between your skills, your job and your opportunities. Plus it very well may prepare you for starting your own business one day.


While this is good advice, it has to compete with some very strong arguments against this worldview.

The reason most employees do not already have this mentality is because they are hired to be cogs in a machine. They are expected to execute upon predictable inputs as part of a defined process. Rewards and punishments are passed down from management based on the overall company or project, and not the employee's individual contribution.

This creates a degree of learned helplessness, a serious psychological issue, and describes the majority of blue and white collar employees today.

Adopting this perspective in that sort of environment leads to paranoia, fear, and mistrust - as you try harder, take on more, and are still rewarded and punished randomly. Thus, the employee is less likely to try harder next time.

Additionally, many may argue that employees should not act in this manner, precisely because their efforts will not bring any degree of ownership. They will still walk away from the job without owning anything, regardless of how much they built. A salary is never the same as equity.

I'm not saying any of these views are correct, but some may be more or less beneficial in various circumstances.

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