unCUlturers: musings on organizational culture & development (and stuff about credit unions too)




I’m just a bank teller. I’m just an customer service rep. I’m just a trainer. I’m just a new hire. I’m just a receptionist. I’m just a clerk. I’m just one executive. I’m just one manager.

If you repeat things like that long enough, they may become true.

Sometimes I really hate the word just. I’ve been trying to pin down exactly why I detest it so much in some instances, and I think it has something to do with what people mean when they employ the word.

Think about the examples above. If someone says they’re just a customer service rep, what are they actually saying? What they often mean is that there’s something they can’t do, initiative they can’t take, dreams they can’t accomplish, change they can’t create, or goals they can’t attain. There’s usually a whole lot of can’t behind the word just.

I hate the word because it downplays the potential any given individual has. Now, do I mean that if people believe or want something strongly enough that they can always get or do it? No. Of course not. I really wanted to be Superman when I was a kid, but you’ll notice that the outfit I’m wearing today is more Clark Kent than Superman.  A tie isn’t nearly as fun as a cape, by the way.

But now that I’ve gotten that disclaimer out of the way, I hope you’ll understand this: when you say you’re just this or that, it’s really like you’re taking your own legs out from underneath you. Instead of being an empowered, creative, positive, motivated individual, you’ve reduced yourself to being just something (whatever that happens to be).

So don’t fall for it. Don’t fall into the mental trap that so many fall into. You’re not just your position. You’re an integral part of your organization. You’re an individual with goals, dreams, abilities, and ideas. You can be a motivated, empowered, positive, valuable member of the team if you just decide to put forth the effort and work it takes to be those things. 

Don’t settle for just.

10/26/2010 19:27

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10/26/2010 23:37

The way of life is wonderful: it is by abandonment.


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