My first “real” job was working as an ad taker in the classified department of a major metropolitan newspaper. I worked part-time while attending college, but this was my first taste of the world of work, rubbing elbows with journalists, sales and marketing and middle management.
One day the supervisor asked me to cover the real estate desk for someone who was out sick. No problem.
Covering the desk again the next day, a coworker sidled up and said, “You don’t have to do that; it’s not your job,” voice lowered to make her point.
In Seth Godin’s latest book,Linchpin: Are You Indispensible?, he offers the antidote to complacency, fear and dispassion – becoming a linchpin – the person who brings her body, mind and soul to the workplace.
“Emotional labor is art,” Godin writes.
I can hear the resistance now. “What? Art in the workplace?!”
Here are a few nuggets quoted from the book to help you reframe your workplace and create a pallet of possibilities:
1. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate and personal.
2. Art is about intent and communication.
3. Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient.
If Shakespeare were alive, would he be blogging? I believe he would be using the technology at his disposal to create, communicate and give to his audience, not unlike corporate bloggers today. “People do their art where they find it,” writes Godin, from cave painters to quantum physicists.
He argues that people have been selling themselves short; depth of knowledge combined with nuanced skills and insight are worth a lot. Those companies who have furloughed half their middle age workforce may have eliminated critical linchpins. The stress points are invisible to the eye but, eventually, those cheaper replacement parts will break down (on some level) and the organization will suffer as a result.
Godin adds linchpins to the typical teams of management and labor. These are the people who create order out of chaos, who figure out what to do when there’s no rule book.
Instead of becoming disposable, he suggests that you become indispensable. How? By pouring your best self into your job and overcoming the resistance that holds people back.
Great bosses and world class organizations hire motivated people, set high expectations and give their people room to become remarkable.
What would the world of work look like if you created exactly what you want?