Taking pride in our work
I was chatting with my dad recently and he shared a story about how his neighbor needed to fix their house roof. They did their research and contracted the best rated roofing contractor in the area. To access the roof, the contractor had to erect scaffolding to “fix” the roof. But in the process they damaged my parents’ roof, leaving a tile compromised, as well as construction scraps. My Dad asked that they fix their error, which they agreed to do, but still did not fix it properly. My Dad had to head up to the roof carrying his bucket of tools and fix it himself. In our conversation we discussed how as a roofer it is quite easy to hide poor craftsmanship as most of your customers cant/don’t want to inspect the job, but ultimately it begged the question for my Dad, where has pride in our work gone?
This aligns well with my previous blog on antifragility as one of the keys to an antifragile attitude is taking pride in your work. But it did get me thinking: why don’t more people naturally take pride in their work?
I feel that today there are some plausible causes that spring to mind for a lack of pride in what we do:
- Very few experiment enough in life to find their life purpose. We pass through the sausage machine of education straight into a job, and don’t follow our instincts to pursue what actually makes us happy and aligns with who we are or what we are good at.
- We are disconnected from our personal values and also struggle to identify organizations who have values we align with.
- Employment has largely shifted to being paid for hours worked vs paid for value created and the employer – employee relationship has become very transactional and impersonal.
- In the digital world we are becoming disconnected from the “product” (though this does not speak to the botched roof) and each other.
I don’t like excuses, and the bottom line is, if you take pride in who you are, what you stand for and what you create then the points above are simply that, excuses. But maybe as a proud individual who is an active change agent you can consider the possible barriers above and help those around you take the steps towards being more connected with themselves, their community, and their teams to contribute towards a thriving future and excellence. They say “pride” is an acronym for Personal Responsibility in Delivering Excellence.
Some of the rules that have served me well include:
- Find what you love and love what you do (either work or pleasure, but ideally both!).
- Live by your values (which can change!!) and find people and organizations to be a part of who share similar values.
- Be an active agent for change: don’t accept the status quo or be a passive and powerless bystander.
- There is no such thing as clocking on and off: do what it takes, deliver beyond people’s expectations, and create true value towards an agreed and aligned purpose/vision.
- Learn to listen to your gut, analyze less and say YES! If your gut says ‘yes’ it typically aligns with the other bullets above.
- Take risks and then figure it out. This is exciting, empowering, and really gets you fired up, passionate and ready to do amazing things!
This all links back to building your personal brand – knowing who you are and living your best life.
Do you take pride in your work, if so, what are your rules? If not, why not? I’d love to learn!
I now have a chance to play a critical role in shaping, at VECKTA, an environment and culture that inspires taking pride in our work, it has and will be an ongoing experiment, which I am super excited about.
My parents have always taught me to take pride in everything I do and if you are going to do something do it right or not at all!! Dad in particular, whether it is washing the car/motorbike, DIY at home, or working throughout his career, he is meticulous and always takes huge pride in his work. Not because it was expected but because he loves what he does, wants to excel and feel good about the process and end result. Amazing life lesson and one that I hope Mel and I can instill in our son E and you in your kids, colleagues, and network.
The positive outcome from the botched roof job was that Dad got to enjoy the view from the roof of the house on a beautiful day, there is always a silver lining :). I picture that scene in Shawshank Redemption when the convicts and guards after a long day of manual work, all enjoy a pure and simple moment drinking a beer on the roof together, feeling proud and free, if just for a passing moment! Enjoy these moments and make them more than just passing!
“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence” Jessica Guidobono
Photo credits: (Hunter Haley / Unsplash) (Castle Rock Entertainment)