Why “I’m just doing my job” Shouldn’t Be Your Mantra



And how to be remarkable instead, like this venue.


In this day and age where there are so many choices,  I could hardly believe the level of service I’ve recently received with a popular airline vendor. I felt bad for the person saying it, since it was pretty clear she wasn’t happy with her job to begin with.

Never should anyone lame out with a “I’m just doing my job.” What’s funny is that the same airline after 2 calls totaling over an hour and a half, one of their customer service agents told me that I can “argue all day” about an issue I was having.

We are all here to serve each other. I certainly wouldn’t speak that way to our customers. Being human is the differentiator in business.
Not following scripts and efficiency manuals.

Experience is the new economy. Getting a low price is nice but look at what was different:

1 – paying more than double for the flight fare

2 – getting hassled about the size of my carry on bag

3 – no snacks unless you pay

4 – no wifi

5 – majority of staff seemingly in a bad mood

That last point is critical. When status quo shapes your organization, don’t expect people to try to shoot for the stars.

I was originally going to stop the post here, but why not end on a positive note?

The next leg of the trip was MUCH better. I was in Miami for The Holmes Report Global PR conference (highly recommended! first timer
here) with our friends at Five Blocks, the event was held at the fabulous St. Regis Bal Harbor Resort.

Their ability to nearly help you before you yourself need help was astounding. Every single person working there I interacted with had impeccable manners and respect.  St. Regis’ social media response team was so swift and incredible for so many guests, their marketing manager was asked to come on stage during David Meerman Scott’s session on real time marketing. They were that good.

Woo Hoo! It's the energetic real-time crowd at #InsightSynergy @insightent

@dmscott‘s selife with the #PRsummit attendees.

It’s important to note that corporate culture plays a big role in how your employees interact with and are perceived by your customers.  It may be nice to have training and guidance on resolving customer service issues, but it is equally important to hire the right people and give them leeway to resolve issues according to each unique situation.  Imagine how much better the flight situation would have been if that customer service representative had options to exercise other than standing there bearing the full brunt of every customer’s frustration.  Shaping a corporate culture that allows your employees freedom to be the linchpin is the key to customer service success.

I’ll leave you with this. Whether you are a company founder or work for someone else, you should strive to do your best and be remarkable.
Or as Seth Godin would say – be a Linchpin.  Godin delivers a clarion call to us all to become indispensable. And this doesn’t mean that would need to start your own company. The linchpins is what keeps everything together.

What are you doing to be a Linchpin?

Maggie Kimberl also contributed to this post. You can find her on Twitter @LouGirl502.



  1. Kari


  2. David Meerman Scott

    I posted an Instagram and tagged @StRegisBHresort and they responded in moments. How wonderful! And how rare. Thanks for mentioning me in the post.

  3. Brian Wallace

    Same here! The St. Regis Bal Harbour was incredible in person and on social. So rare indeed. Great job on stage and you’re quite welcome!

  4. gabydewilde

    We have to remember our world is divided into things set in stone and things open for human creativity. With so much automation the part of our civilisation still “suffering” human influence is getting smaller all the time. Those moments where we get to be a person rather than the extension of a machine are more precious than we tend to give them credit for. It is an art to see to what extend you may express yourself as *you*. It could even be that those small windows combined define who you are? Then, to make it all the more magical, your “shit” reflects on everyone around you. If their mood isn’t worth sharing treat people like a canvas, tell a joke or a story. Employees paid to serve you certainly must listen to your attempt at humor. The robot people are usually quite open to being turned back into human beings. Doing that to people is much more satisfying than the experience of being treated politely by some drone stuck in an act. You have to imagine how it rubs off on everyone the person interacts with, who will carry the “disease” of happiness to the end of the world and beyond – to places without wifi where no man has gone before!

  5. Brian Wallace

    Well put – we need fewer robot people for sure 🙂

  6. chrismarklee

    My Mantra is how can I start a task early and finish it early. Proactive in everything is the key to life. I plan ahead. Example I built relationships all year long on my Facebook Business page getting ready for the 2015 Income Tax season.

    Owner CEL Financial Services
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  7. Candace

    “Never should anyone lame out with a “I’m just doing my job.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. Most customer service agents are genuinely emphatic and want to help, however at the end of the day, we’re all at the mercy of the rules and regulations of the people who employ us, and sometimes people need to be reminded of that, particularly abusive customers who love to treat customer service agents like they’re the enemy. What it is NOT acceptable is when someone is unwilling to do their job better. Those are the people who might say “I’m just doing my job” when denying you something you want/need, but in reality, if they worked a little bit harder and cared a little bit more about someone they were serving, they might be able to find a creative way to make everyone in that situation happy.

  8. Brian Wallace

    We can agree to disagree. 🙂

    While I hear your point that customer service agents have to deal with difficult situations and people, I’m specifically talking about agents that really show they don’t care about what they are doing. If you don’t want to give service, it probably isn’t the right job for you.

    That said, the whole “customer is always right” mantra is wrong. Many customers are downright abusive, deserving, and totally unreasonable. Let’s be clear that I am not condoning that CSR’s should have to take that.

    My point is that if you’re going to do a job, you should look to do it well.