The Dangers of “I didn’t know!”

  • The Dangers of “I didn’t know!”

The Dangers of “I didn’t know!”

Have you ever heard the quote “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”? The person who said this, Thomas Edison, was no stranger to hard work. After all, he invented the light bulb, among other things. We tend to avoid anything that resembles work, and we often say things like I didn’t know!, nobody told me or it wasn’t my job! So many people avoid responsibility by simply turning a blind eye, pretending not to know about a problem or steering clear of tasks that need to be done. The problem with this is it can damage your career more than you think…

  • Sheep vs. Problem Solvers – Unfortunately, society has become rather lazy. It’s easy to just go to work, do what you get paid to do and go home. It requires minimal effort. This sheepish mentality won’t get you anywhere. The people who are chosen for promotions are the ones who choose not to turn a blind eye, the ones that actually turn their attention to solving the problem, and to get the job done.  The ones who ‘didn’t know’ just stay exactly where they are.
  • No Action, No Growth – The ones who choose to expose themselves to this added responsibility are the ones who come out wiser and more skilled in the end. Why? Because you will never learn anything if you don’t expose yourself to the added pressure. The ones who choose to face these problems head-on know that they might fail or have to do more work, but they don’t care. They’re smart enough to face challenges that grow their skills.
  • But I Won’t Get Paid More – Definitely not with that attitude, you won’t. Is it really up to your Manager to approach you and give you more work? Do you really expect an increase with every single extra task assigned to you? You really shouldn’t. Smart people know that action and hard work comes first, and reward comes later. Don’t pretend not to know about the extra work – just get it done! You’ll be surprised how well this can turn out for you.
  • I Didn’t Know This Was Wrong – Have you ever been in trouble for something that you didn’t know was against the rules? Your first instinct would likely be to throw your hands up in the air and act as innocent as possible. This is an easy way to shift responsibility, when in fact, it was your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the rules in the first place. Were you given a manual or a list of policies and procedures? Read it! Not sure of something? Ask!
  • It’s Not Even My Job – And it probably never will be. In fact, you’ll probably be stuck in the same job for a very, very long time if that’s the way you feel about it. People who do well in their career understand that it’s a team effort. They don’t do things because it’s in their job description, they do it because they know it needs to be done. They take accountability for not only their own tasks, but also the tasks avoided by everyone else.

The next time you feel like running away from a task or steering clear of responsibility, think about what that will mean for your career in the long run. Do you really want to stay in your comfort zone with no responsibility and never learn anything new, or do you want to take on a brand new challenge, something you never thought you’d accomplish? Always choose the latter – the rewards will surely follow.

Speaking of reward – if you have read this article, go see Alexi and he’ll buy you a cup of coffee!

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