They Let Me Do My Job

As do many of you, I travel a lot.

During the last couple of months, as I travel around, I’ve been asking people I come in contact with two questions:

1. Do you like your job?
2. Why or why not?

Creates some interesting conversations, I’ll tell you. Almost missed a flight out of Baltimore when my conversation with the Hertz counter rep went into overtime.

I jotted down fairly copious notes for these discussions. And though I realize the lack of statistical “rigor” in my survey methodologies, I think the results were interesting nonetheless.

In 47 days, I spoke with 72 people about this. Most readily answered my questions. Some, of course, seemed hesitant to respond candidly to such questions from an unknown traveler (go figure). Most, however, spilled their guts without a drop of hesitation.

31 people said “yes, I like my job.”
17 said “It’s OK,” or “It’s a job,” or something equally noncommittal and nonplussed.
21 replied “no,” or something equally negative. A few expletives were included in several.
(for you math whizzes, this doesn’t total 72; 3 would not answer the question at all)

The #1 reason given for “why?” with those 31 who said, “yes?”

They let me do my job.

Not “the money,” though most in this category did mention the pay was either “good” or that they felt paid “fairly.”

Not “it’s easy,” or “I don’t have to do much work.”

Nope, not those things we frequently imagine are in the minds of employees who seem satisfied, contended, or otherwise happy to work for us.

They let me do my job.

Never forget — the vast majority of successful leadership application is not some fancy buzzword, or the chapter title from some consultant’s new glossy book.

It’s the basics. It’s blocking and tackling.

So, what’s the take-away from this incredibly scientific, statistically strict employee survey?

1. Hire right. Attitude, integrity, intellect and work ethic… none can be trained, all must be hired.

2. Set and manage expectations. Keep it simple, folks.

3. Empower people to do their jobs, and expect that they will.

4. Rinse and repeat.

Don’t make this harder than it needs to be.

But that’s just me…


Kevin Berchelmann


  1. says

    Is that incredible, or what? I believe all leaders — particularly those removed from the field (corporate, regional, etc.) should follow the basic tenet of the hippocratic oath, “First, do no harm.”


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