Posts Tagged ‘YMCA’

Roles and Irresponsibilities

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Coffee Shop

This past Saturday I went to grab a cup of coffee at the local mom-n-pop coffee shop that I really like. There were no stirrers so I told the server that they were out.

“Yeah, we’ve been out for a few days. You can use a straw”.

“Why don’t you just go to the Smart and Final or the Von’s 30 feet away and grab a box”, I asked.

“I’m just the server, that’s not my job”.


On Sunday I was talking to Chuck, one of the other parents at the YMCA Adventure guides induction ceremony and boat regatta. Chuck works as an installer for AT&T and also does electrical jobs when he gets a chance.  He’s a hard worker, putting in six 12-14 hour days each week.

As we talked, I suggested that he could set out on his own, make more money and work less hours. Like Joe the Plumber.

“I don’t need the headaches. If something goes wrong on a job today, it’s not my problem. It’s my bosses problem. If I own a business, then it’s all my problem.  I’d rather someone just give me the job and I do what I’m told.”

My Client’s Large Company

I was trying to install Office Communicator the other day and there was something wrong with my account on the server. I called IT and the woman on the line tried to help me but could not figure out what was wrong.  So she closed my ticket, the one with her name on it, and opened a new one for a specialist in Office Communicator to look into it.

About a week later, someone else in IT called me up to help me with my issue.  He was able to figure out what was wrong, but lacked the permissions to make the fix.  So he closed out my ticket, the one with his name on it, and opened a new one for the person with permissions to fix the problem.

A few days later, I rebooted my laptop and Office Communicator was now working.  Later that day I got 3 emails from IT requesting me to fill out a short survey regarding the resolution of my issue.

A Person I Work With

The other day I urgently needed help to run an analysis on a chip I’m working on. So I asked one of the people on the team who knows how to do it quickly.

“That’s  not one of the things I’m responsible for.”


Am I the only person not afflicted by the “not my job” disease? Has this really become such an ingrained part of American and corporate life?

I’m sorry, I just don’t think that way. If I see a problem, then it’s my problem.  Maybe I’m anal or a perfectionist or neurotic and maybe I need to let go.  But I’m just not wired that way. And I don’t understand people who are.

harry the ASIC guy