Most of us have been raised with the basic understanding of what it means to be responsible. This will generally come from our parents, our friends’ parents, our grandparents and teachers. Hopefully that puts us in good stead for what comes next in life, entering the workforce and having a job. The baton is then passed to the employee and now fellow workmates will teach us what it means to be responsible at work.
What does that look like?
Having clean and styled hair, fresh makeup (if you are a woman), cleaned and ironed clothes (along with the appropriate attire for your workplace), arriving on time and generally, 15-30mins earlier to your actual start time, learning the skills and requirements of the job, adhering to workplace policy and procedures, adapting to the culture and adding to it in an affirming way, being respectful of fellow employees, taking direction and feedback from management, being a team player, sharing new ideas and teaching new employees your learnt skills.
What if responsibility was more than that, though? And the above was just the by-product, and in fact the bare minimum, of what true responsibility is?
What if true responsibility included how you prepared yourself the night before for your day at work, dealing with and clearing any/or all the stresses of the day just passed? Nurturing your body, completing your day and preparing for the next, rather than reaching for that glass of wine, beer or spirit to “take the edge off,” “forget about the day,” or “put the day behind you”? Maybe going for a walk, talking with a trusted friend or partner, and de-briefing the day and/or eating a light and nourishing meal instead?
What if true responsibility was in how you put your body and being to sleep at night, completely wound down and in an environment that supported deep rest? Instead of working from bed on emails, the Internet or social media, or falling asleep in front of the Television, Netflix and the like.
What if true responsibility was how you begin your day at home, before you even leave for the workplace? Rising early so there is plenty of time to get ready without any rush or anxiety, maybe completing some outstanding work from the day before or preparing for the day ahead? Going for a walk or visiting the gym, building a body that was ‘fit for life’s requirements’ and could enjoy the day without the need for stimulants like sugar, caffeine and salt. Having time to enjoy a shower or bath and dressing for work. Spending time with your loved ones, eating a healthy and supportive breakfast and preparing an equally yummy and supportive lunch box.
What if true responsibility involved how you conducted yourself in the workplace; not what tasks you completed, but how you went about completing them? That you were consciously present in all your movements so that you were able to bring complete focus and dedication to each task, along with a commitment to each and every task, not seeing any part as less, or more, important than the other.
What if true responsibility involved how you are in relationships? That you treated everyone as an equal from those less experienced than you, or more senior in their position and including those that had more or less tenure with the company. What if each person was equally accountable, regardless of their position? What if every single person pulled their weight, worked collaboratively without blame for another, nor apathy for the task at hand? Working with the understanding that every single person in a company is needed and without the full commitment and unity of all, no real success can be had.
What if true responsibility was all about being the real you and bringing your all to each moment in your day at work?
If responsibility in the workplace was much more than ticking the boxes of our job requirements and turning up to work on time, and more about how we lived as a whole, then we can see that our home life, social life and work life is no different. In fact one impacts the other, and how we are in each area of life then impacts all the people in our lives.
One thing is for certain; everything that we do, say, think and feel has an impact on everyone we come into contact with, and beyond. That is, imagine what it is like for you when you have had a ‘bad day’ at work – you’re tired from the night before, have unresolved conflict with another, or are sick and run down from poor diet and lack of nutrition and so on and so on. How do you then interact with everyone you come in contact with? Now imagine, if most of us are having a bad day – how many more people get affected by this?
It is only reasonable to say then that true responsibility in the workplace is more about how we are within ourselves, and the quality in which we go about our day, not what we do.
By Terri-Anne Connors, aged 40, Melbourne, VIC