Today’s New York Times has an article asking just that question. One reader wrote in to say
“There is nothing wrong with being an average (mediocre) employee. … The reality is that work is not the most important thing in everyone’s lives. People have more important things in their life than work. Work is simply a means to get the money we need to pay the mortgage and our other bills. Work is a low-priority event for most people. I’m only willing to do the bare minimum that it takes to get a paycheck every two weeks. As long as I am meeting the requirements of my job, than that is good enough. Don’t expect any more of me because I will not be a slave to any company…”
And she signed her name and location.
My own view is
1 – I think you’re crazy if you write anything about your career – especially admitting that you’re doing the bare minimum and work – anywhere your boss might see it. You’re really over the top if you publish your views and sign them in a major national newspaper.
2 – Sometimes doing the bare minimum makes a lot of sense. Your job may be short-term so you’re conserving your energy for a job hunt or a move to a job where you can really shine.
If you know you’re going to be laid off in a few months, you need to do just enough to avoid being fired (and maybe make sure you get a good reference, too). One of my clients told me, “I’m getting laid off in a few months and I don’t have time to look for a new job.” She admitted her boss was spending hours away from the office, covering his own butt.
And years ago I knew someone who was happy to get reviews that said, “Meets minimum standards.” He knew he wouldn’t stay in his current job. Once he found a job that used his talents, with upward potential, he soared.
Read the full article here … and then tell me what you think.