Mandatory vs Individualist
This is a small vent and question post on the words “mandatory” and “everyone”. Two simple words that seem to upset people.
Recently, I had to schedule a series of training sessions. I was told to say it was mandatory for everyone. Regardless of whether they were already using the program as a beta tester or never even heard of it, they were to attend.
Since then I’ve had to explain that MANDATORY means you HAVE to do it and EVERYONE means every. single. associate. From the founding officers to the newest associate on the roster. Mandatory means mandatory and everyone means everyone. These are not complicated concepts.
If you read the word “mandatory” do your hackles rise? Do you feel the need to assert your independence and individualism? Do you think you’re excluded for some special reason? I’m wondering if our current society has become so focused on entrepreneurship, individuality and uniqueness that being told something is “mandatory” automatically makes us cringe inside and fight against it.
If it’s not a sense of entitlement or individualism, is it just busyness? Are we so heads-down focused that we can’t make time for a 45-minute training session? Are our days so packed that we wouldn’t actually desire the 45-minute break from the norm to reset and add something that might actually make our workdays easier?
Or is it arrogance? Are we so sure of our knowledge and skills that we don’t think there’s a single thing we could learn in a training session?
Don’t get me wrong! I know I’ve been guilty of saying “Not me” when someone says “mandatory for everyone”. I try to go along with the rules for the most part, but so much of what I do falls into the exceptions. Not by choice but out of necessity. Most times, I would prefer my work fall in line because standardization & procedures are part of my inherent make-up. But it doesn’t always fall that way. And, for the record, I feel crappy every time I have to say “that doesn’t apply to me (or my projects)”.
Anyway, I’m just venting and trying to understand the psychology behind the replies I get. You may now return to your regularly scheduled day…
XO – T.
PS – I adore my coworkers and where I work. This is not directed to any single person nor does it express any work-related issue. It’s merely an observational post. What makes us do the things that we do?