Rule #7 – Sometimes, “That’s not my job…” is the right answer

This was addressed a bit in the post on partners, but it is worth it’s own mini-post. Sometimes, despite your best intentions and hard work, it is important to realize that not everything is your responsibility, nor should it be. For starters, you aren’t helping the other members of your team by shouldering the whole load. You also are likely to wear out and collapse if you take on everything on your own.


A week or so ago, I had a partner in a venture tell me he wasn’t receiving emails from me to the account that was set up on our project URL. I suggested he contact our network admin to get it fixed and advised that I would be copying emails to his personal address in the meantime. Fast forward one week to this morning. He informs me that his email is still missing messages and writes that the problem absolutely MUST get fixed this week, to which I agree.

This afternoon, his email still isn’t working yet I have been emailed about it at least three times today. The individual with the email issue has not taken the time to learn about routing email addresses through the software he is using, nor has he contacted the network admin or service provider for assistance. In other words, the way he is trying to solve the problem is to declare that the problem exists to anyone who will listen with the hope that one of those folks will stop what they are doing to solve the problem on his behalf.


Don’t ever be the person who says, “That’s not my job” with regard to your company and business. Anything you can do to help further the team towards it’s goals should be done. Since you are likely the leader of this venture (it was your idea), you will be called upon to do more then anyone else. You should embrace this role and dive in to it, making it your mission to out-work everyone around you and lead by example. Be the kind of person that gets things done.

However, also be perceptive enough to realize when you are “getting things done” and when you are doing the opposite: enabling other people to NOT get things done. By fixing my co-founders email for him, I would be enabling his behavior of having someone else step in when things get the least bit out of his realm of expertise. By refusing to help, his only option is to learn about the software and fix it himself, which means that future software problems of this kind can be resolved more quickly and without such distraction.

One Response

  1. So it’s not… “that’s not my job”… it’s “do it your damn self”.



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