No One Is Just a “Just”

A few years ago, I took a new job where I was responsible for all company operations & functions in North and South America.

On my first day as I was getting acclimated to the company and meeting members of the HQ team, one lady came to my office to introduce herself.  As she knocked on door, she said, “Hi Bob, my name is ‘Melinda’ (not her real name) and I just wanted to welcome you to the company.”

I replied, ‘Hi Melinda.  Thanks for introducing yourself.  What do you do here?”

Melinda’s response was one I had never heard and hope not to hear again.  “I am just the receptionist.”

I told her, “Melinda, I am not sure what it’s been like in the past, but as long as I am here, there will be no job that starts with the word ‘just.’  Every job is critical or we would not hire someone to do the job.  In fact, your job is the likely the most important job in the company since you are the first person people see when they come to the office or the first one they talk to on the phone when they call.  The job as receptionist is a critically important job and not everyone can do your job.  So, thank you!”

Melinda became a loyal employee and good friend my years with the company and eventually she learned to take on additional responsibilities.  I remember when we promoted Melinda and hired a new receptionist.  I overheard Melinda training the new receptionist and she gave almost the exact word-for-word speech she had heard from me a few years earlier about the importance of the Receptionist job and there was no job that started with the work “just.”

Every job is a critical investment on the part of your employer, and no one is just a “just.”

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