I once worked with someone who had an incredible amount of passion for her job. She would work weekends. She would work nights and early mornings. She would carry her passion into everything she did.
She cared so deeply to get things done that she would often fall out with colleagues. Sometimes she would shit-talk them behind their backs about their attitude. She had standards. Not surprisingly this sometimes caused friction. The truth is that a lot of people found her energetic but a little bit scary. To care so much about a piece of software – who did she care for really?
Was it really the clients?
Did she feel responsible for their experience?
Or was this just the ego of the self-important – “only I can save the day” attitude of hers?
Well, sure sometimes there was a hint of ego but we are all guilty of that sometimes. When we care sometimes we feel that we are the only person who can fix it.
However, mostly she cared too much. Her attitude was genuine. She cared with every part of her fibre. She had to be sure that the system that she was helping deliver was the best experience for the clients. She was disappointed when the system didn’t work faultlessly and we didn’t continuously improve. Did her frustration come about because she was locked in a system where none of her ideas were taken seriously? No, because her ideas were often good and were often implemented. Did her frustration come about because she didn’t like her colleagues? No, she was actually very popular and well liked.
Is it our purpose to be liked in a job or to do a good job for our customers? How do we find fulfilment?
How do you find fulfilment in your job? Is it the completion of something? Is it the delivery of something? Is it the way others work with you? Is it the way they have a different attitude to how you complete your work? Is completing work important to you?
When I see a group of passionate individuals attempting to make sense of a complex and potentially failing system, my instinct is to break down their process into small pieces and let them rebuild it. Sometimes I recommend that they abandon it and start again. But often, the individuals don’t want or need saving. They don’t want to fix it. They don’t want to build their own process. They just want to do their jobs.
The process isn’t broken, it’s just the way it works. That’s just how it is.