Not My Job – I’m Not Buying It

The biggest mistake anyone can make while working in any job is to focus purely on their own job description. To get the fullest understanding of the company and industry you work in, you truly need to also know just as much about every other job within the organization. Now, I am not telling you that you need to perform every job within the company and shirk your own duties – not at all. First and foremost, you need to understand your job and perform it at the highest level. But once you have a solid fix on what you are doing and what you have to accomplish, you then need to understand just as much about every job possible within the entire organization. That will enable you to perform better at everything you do in regard to your particular responsibilities and to become much more of an asset to the company.

When I first started in radio, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do or what job suited me best. I thought I wanted to be an on–air sports reporter, but didn’t like the odds of doing that in Boston, and I had no desire to move to another state. I began my radio career as a producer, and my responsibilities ranged from pulling music for the on-air talent to driving the mobile studio and setting up for on-location broadcasts. When my shift was over, I went to the folks running promotions, marketing, sales, traffic & continuity or engineering to see if they needed help with any aspects of their job. Quite often, they did need assistance, and over the course of time, I got some experience in every department. Certain skills that I acquired helped in my job as well as in the specific department I was assisting; while there were areas in which I was not highly proficient, I still got a feel for what that department was actually accomplishing.

As the years passed and I was promoted into management at the radio station, knowing the different nuances of each department helped me in meetings as well as in the planning and execution of the area I was responsible for. I understood the domino effect of how my department’s plans affected other parts of the radio station; during project planning, I knew when we needed “buy in” from multiple departments. My understanding of the different departments and proactive manner helped immensely when planning my department’s initiatives. In addition, it made my recommendations more credible; when I made concrete statements regarding how something could be accomplished and what was required, there was little resistance, and acceptance was easier.

Ultimately, it allowed me to switch from running programming to running marketing. In addition, my knowledge of programming, listeners, and callers made me better understand how to market to them. While I produced shows and screened callers to go on air, it was as if I had my own private focus group to help me fully understand the psyche of the Sports Radio listener. Knowing their opinions and getting a feel for their likes and dislikes made me a much more powerful marketer. The full understanding of the radio station and the synergies among all the departments fuelled me with comprehensive knowledge that enabled me to market the station differently from traditional marketers. My willingness to fully understand all aspects of the radio station clearly allowed me to be better at my job.

When I hear someone say, “that’s not my job,” I quickly assume they are probably not as good at their job as they could be if they had the attitude that learning about every job in the company could help them excel at their own responsibilities. So, when someone makes that kind of statement, I see laziness and a person who is failing, not only at their job, but in their career. “Not my job” – I’m not buying it.

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  1. During my corporate career I ran into this constantly which always surprised me since I worked in the seemingly dynamic world of B2B tech in Seattle. No industry is immune to “it’s not my job.” However now that I am running my own company and work with other entrepreneurs it is critical to establish a culture that does not tolerate this behavior. The organizations that will win in their category or location are the ones staffed with people who have a can-do and will-do culture that stems from the top.

    Brian Hansford

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