It evokes the feeling of a chore, a burden; something that you have to do to get by, not something you want to do. A way to pay the bills. A place where you count the hours, days or months until you can escape.
It certainly does not convey a place where you feel you add value or are valued.
This makes it a perfect acronym for three of the most dangerous words to your career:
Used repeatedly, these are not merely words – they become a mindset.
“I am just a … (insert title here)”
“I only … (insert value here)”
“I want to move forward, but… (insert reason here)”
When you say statements like the ones above, you are letting your audience know that you do not value yourself. More importantly, you are telling yourself the same thing.
If you do not see value in what you do, how can someone else? Why would they?
I am not a big fan of titles. I give a lot of talks and seminars about not introducing yourself as your title. It limits your value based upon your audience’s perception of that title. If you find yourself introducing yourself as just a title name – eliminate the just. Once you have comfortably mastered that, then you can move on to stop introducing yourself as your title and start introducing yourself by describing the value you provide.
If you are getting paid to perform a service, there is value in it. I do not care if you put widgets in a doohickey, you are providing value. Think about what your position entails and how it creates value for others. Instead of saying “I only answer the phones” try “I am the telephone gate keeper – I get to welcome our clients to our company on the phone and keep the solicitors away from our team.” Does it sound a little goofy? Maybe. But if you met someone who said this, I bet you would remember them because they sound like they enjoy what they do and see value in it rather than a task.
This one is the worse. Using “but” in a sentence divides that sentence into two parts with everything after the ‘but’ cancelling out everything before it. Our minds make a quick switch when we hear the word ‘but’. Our unconscious immediate reaction is to immediately recognize the first part of the sentence did not count, it is what is after the ‘but’ that is the speakers true intention.
If you are getting feedback and hear “I think you are doing a good job, but you need to improve your programming skills” what does that really tell you? Your reviewer is not happy with your programming skills and said something nice to soften the blow, without necessarily meaning it. Think about the “I really like you and think you are awesome, but I just want to be friends” line in dating. Same concept.
When you say you want to move forward or accomplish a goal but there is this thing preventing it you are telling others – and more importantly yourself – that the thing stopping you is more important and of greater value than your desire.
Sometimes there are legitimate reasons, for example if you want to get your degree but you do not have the money at this time. Even in this situation using word but that lessons the desire for wanting your degree.
How to you trick the mind of yourself or others listening to accept the first part of the sentence? Exchange ‘but’ or ‘and’ for ‘however’ – and say it nicer.
“You are doing a good job and I think with more improvement on your programming skills you will be doing a great job.”
“I like the work you are doing; however, I need to make some changes.”
One word can make a difference in meaning. When someone wants to lessen the impact of a negative they will often use the words ‘just’, ‘only’ or ‘but’.
“We only lost one game” – never mind it was the Super Bowl
“It is just a temporary downturn” – speaking as to the worst drop in numbers this year.
“You are doing a great job, but we have to let you go.”
Words are powerful. They are notes that come together to create music. They elicit emotions and reactions. Eliminating the three words of JOB can take your song from off-key to a beautiful melody.