Sunday, November 15, 2009

It is a dirty job but somebody has got to do it

Not everybody likes the same kind of work. This is a great opportunity for people involved in a group, if it is recognized, and if communication about what everyone likes and dislikes is open.

I once heard a terrifying story of an old couple that celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. As one of the parts of the celebration they made the appointment that they would communicate for once about something they dislike about the other. The man starts: "my dearest, I love almost everything you do for me. But if there is one thing that I would like to change it is the way you cut the bread. You always serve me the heels of the bread, and I much prefer a normal center slice". Upon this, the woman nearly fainted. She had served her husband the heels of the bread for 40 years, only because this is the part she likes best.


In any enterprise it is important that all jobs are done, including the dirty ones. Sometimes we just have to do things we do not like. But in a collaborative effort, it is important to communicate about which parts of the work we like and dislike. Maybe, just maybe, a colleague would love to take over part of the work that you despise.