Every now and then you find in life that there are moments which show the similarities between people, moments that have a clarity about them shining a light on things you may never have seen or noticed before. Others have a way of showing you the ways people are different. It’s one of these moments of difference that I am writing about today.
Many of these moments may be small and insignificant – others quite momentous. My moment came and almost went without my realisation – but was highlighted by a conversation with a friend which helped really draw it out.
How did I get this??
One day I was talking with my boss about the job I have and about how I got it. Normally, someone in my role would have at a minimum 5 years + experience and a Bachelor’s degree but I have just started in the role with under 2 years experience and a Diploma. It’s pretty uncommon to land a job like this – but it happened and I’m really happy - it is a little surreal sometimes!
It was out of this ‘surrealness’ one day, I asked my boss how was it that I had landed that job, what was it that pit me so well against all others and allowed for my unexpected rise. Her answer was so simple I almost dismissed it – “You do your job”. I was taken back a bit, I suppose expecting some grand answer heralded by angels in the sky. But no, it was that I simply did my job.
I didn’t really think about it much, until one day I was talking with a mate about life. And remembered what she said. And then I realised what she meant. I (actually) DO the job asked of me. Tasks are set, expectations made, and I meet them. It wasn’t that I was some miracle worker, it was that I was simply able to complete the tasks and do what was expected of me.
It was then it dawned on me about all those others that I thought would have been better in the job because of their experience or qualifications – didn’t get it because sometimes or at least all too often – they didn’t do their job. For whatever reason things weren’t checked, tasks left longer then they should have been and people left uncontacted.
Do what is required and/or communicate
And then it hit me – I got ahead of all these others simply on the basis of being “a doer” and not a “do not’er”. Thinking back on my experiences as a mechanic, studying youth work, being a youth worker, farm hand and handy man/junk mail deliverer – one thing stands out. Every time I was a “doer” things tended to go well: I was promoted and/or was well-liked and respected. Every time I was a “do not’er”: things went south and tended not to go well.
Since this time, I’ve remembered this epiphany and it seems to ring true over and over again. I hear about things happening or not happening for someone. Things they potentially have control over. Such as; not having enough money for a holiday at the end of the year, constantly getting sick, getting fired from a job or a relationship breaking down. At times, these things can be boiled down to one thing: not being a “do-er”.
Some easy fixes
Not enough money saved – turns out they weren’t saving enough each week. Constantly getting sick – turns out they’re not looking after their heath or constantly not getting enough sleep. Getting fired, turns out they weren’t doing what was expected of them. Relationship breakdown – turns out they weren’t spending any time with their partner or didn’t positively communicate. Such a simple thing – such major consequences, good – and bad.
Quite rightly sometimes these occurrences are outside of our control – sure that’s totally fair and valid. Many, many times things happen despite how well planned prepared, thorough and a ‘doer’ you may be. There seems to be plenty of times it is not down to outside forces, and the majority of an outcome is down to our choices and behaviour. It is these times we need to remember – there are those who do and those who do not. If you are one of those people who have a choice - who will you be?
Michael Enderby is a Youth Worker in the South-eastern suburbs of Melbourne working at a high school with a diverse group of young people from across the globe. He enjoys writing, spending quality time with friends and getting into the outdoors. His personal blog can be found here.
See all previous articles by Michael Enderby