10 Signs You’re Just Getting By at Work

Writer Kristine Kathryn Rusch recently blogged about an epiphany she had about people who get by at work and those who do so much more. Her epiphany resulted from realizing that a lesson she learned at day jobs (waitress, editing, publishing, etc.) over the years applies to writing. Specifically, she has found that writing is just as filled with get-by workers as any other field.

Based on her observations and my own, I present the 10 signs you may be a ‘get by’ worker:

  1. Expect recognition for effort or time investment
  2. Talk a good game but have a poor track record
  3. Miss deadlines or other expectations regularly, but always for a good reason
  4. Wait for the boss to assign work/stretch work to fill up the day
  5. Dodge sticks and carrots to improve your performance
  6. Do the minimum necessary to avoid being fired
  7. Do the maximum necessary to avoid more responsibility
  8. Expend a lot of energy acting busy
  9. Convince others to do your work for you
  10. Feel threatened by automation, efficiency, or a perceptive boss

There are get-by workers in every organization, from construction sites to management teams to writers. I’m not completely sold on the idea that they are all bad and that society needs drive them from the work force. I’m fairly sold on the idea that many of them have given up on the job, themselves, or life in general and may be one inspiration away from passing by rather than getting by. Oh, and without them, hard workers wouldn’t look nearly as great by comparison.

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