You know, the one you use every day in the workplace. The one that tells you how to “do” your career, how to “do” your job. Nope – I didn’t get one of those, either. And while I know on-boarding is the new term for employee orientation (and not done effectively in some organizations), how many of us end up working for companies where “what they told us” isn’t exactly “how they do things”? Then there is the twist that everyone is a variation on the theme of whatever their job description is.
Yes, of course there are rules and regulations we must all engage in and safety standards which we must meet. So I have chapters on each of these factors in my own instruction manual. There are also moral and ethical principals which we bring to our lives and the workplace. I have some chapters on these topics – my core values – as well. We talk to colleagues, observe how they do their jobs and learn from them. We read books and participate in continuing education programs. Yet we all will incorporate a bit of “us” into our job and how we deliver to our customers. It’s our personal customization of what we bring to our jobs and to our customers that serves as our differentiator. It’s our “brand” of what we do. And our differentiation makes our customers, and our company, want to continue to do business with us. It’s a good thing if done well and doing this aspect of our jobs well is a high priority. So I have a chapter in my own instruction manual on “The Spin” I bring to the job.
Our instruction manual for “us” is rather elastic and synergistic. We keep adding ideas, concepts, news, trends and other factors into our personal “Black Box” to synthesize and re-synthesize “us.” Our fine tuning and adaptation of our job, so that we “own” it with comfort, is the difference between mediocrity and artistry. Artistry should not be equated with adding a lot of bells, whistles or deviation away from zero defects, either. Artistry can involve consistent and confident delivery of our skill set and knowledge base within stringent parameters. Artistry is the concern and care we bring to our jobs and what we deliver to our customers. We should always be a work in progress, adding onto our careers and how we “do” our jobs. So yes, there is a chapter on “Continuous Synthesis” in my personal instruction manual.
Our instruction manual should also have a chapter on “having fun.” Early on in my career, one of my mentors told me, “If it ain’t fun, don’t do it!” I always try to find the pleasant, fun and funny stuff in what I do. For some reason, I learn better when there’s some fun associated with the experience. It’s also less stressful. And I figure that my making my job fun and enjoyable translates, in turn, into productive and enjoyable customer experiences. It is part of what I bring to my career.
My instruction manual also incorporates a chapter on “handling hassles.” I even have a barometer I can use to determine whether there are factors influencing outcomes which are unreasonable and need to be addressed with colleagues and clients, sooner rather than later. The hassle factor relates back to my chapter in my instruction manual on “avoiding stress” and loops back into the chapter on “having fun.”
Just something to think about. What chapters would you have in your own instruction manual?