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The “That’s Not My Job” Mentality

Thats Not My Job (1)


In a world that thrives on specialization and collaboration, the phrase "that's not my job" or "that doesn't apply to me" can act as a SELF-IMPOSED barrier to personal and professional growth. This limiting mindset often prevents individuals from exploring new opportunities, acquiring diverse skills, and contributing beyond their immediate roles. Plus, it’s really annoying!  Let’s look at how this mentality can hinder progress and explore a few ways to overcome this mindset.


With this mentality,

you are missing opportunities for growth.

When people confine themselves to the strict boundaries of their designated roles, they miss out on chances to learn and develop new skills. In the eye care industry’s rapidly evolving landscape, adaptability is key, and a refusal to engage with tasks beyond one's immediate scope can hinder personal growth and career advancement.


you are stifling team spirit.

A culture of collaboration is essential for the success of any organization. Optometry is often a team effort, involving not only practitioners but also support staff. When everyone buys into the processes, a cohesive environment is created where all team members understand their roles, responsibilities, and how their contributions fit into the larger picture. Embracing tasks outside of one's usual responsibilities fosters teamwork and demonstrates a willingness to support colleagues. Conversely, the "not my job" attitude can create silos and hinder effective teamwork. 


you are afraid.

Engaging with tasks beyond your comfort zone opens up new horizons and perspectives. It allows you to see the bigger picture, understand how different parts of an organization function, and make more informed decisions. Tackling unfamiliar tasks encourages individuals to think creatively and problem-solve in new ways. The ability to adapt and find solutions in uncharted territory is a valuable skill in any profession, especially ours. 


Ask yourself:  “Am I feeling this way because I don’t know how?

Or is it because I don’t want to know how?”


Break free from the mentality


It’s time to embrace a new way.

Cultivate a mindset that welcomes challenges as opportunities for growth. Understand that trying new things, even if they don't seem directly related to your role, can enrich your skill set. In our industry, being dynamic is a great quality. Those who willingly step up and take on diverse challenges are often viewed as versatile and proactive. This can lead to recognition, more opportunities, and increased job satisfaction. 


Stop hiding. Look for opportunities.

Most small practices don’t have multiple employees for the same position. So, practices need employees that are willing to jump into another role and, even if they don’t know everything, give it their best effort. Actively seek out learning experiences, whether through workshops, courses, or collaboration with colleagues from different departments. This continuous learning approach enhances your value to the team. 


Communicate. Collaborate. Question.

Engage in open communication with your team and superiors. Express your willingness to take on new challenges and contribute to projects that fall outside your usual scope. Question the assumptions that underlie the "not my job" mentality. 


To sum it up..

The phrase, "that's not my area", might appear harmless, but it carries a profound message that transcends its words. It signals a lack of investment, passion, and commitment. However, refusing to be confined by the narrow walls of this mindset, you send a resounding message that you are ready for anything. Your co-workers will see a reliable ally, your superiors will witness an invaluable asset, and you, yourself, will experience the profound satisfaction of knowing that your efforts are not confined by boundaries, but propelled by purpose.


In essence, the shift in mindset from detachment to ownership is not just a mere lesson; it's a transformative journey. It signifies that you genuinely care – about your work, your team, and yourself.