Job Description

In a world of unions and specialty skills, more and more I’m hearing the phrase, “Not my job.”

I get it. I really do. Especially if what is being asked to get done is, in fact, someone else’s job.

But what if it’s not?

What if the thing that needs to get done is a job without an owner? Or, what if the job’s owner is in over their head?

Recently I had the opportunity to sit in on an interview with David Kiser. David is not only a friend, but he also holds the title of Director of Talent for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Many questions were asked and many stories were told about his start with the circus as a clown, then his years as a Production Manager, and finally now his role of scouting and securing new talent for The Greatest Show on Earth. I highly recommend making a trip to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida to see and hear the interview in its entirety.

As they were finishing up, a question was asked about how his job and responsibilities with the circus had changed since he started in 1982 all the way to now. His response has stuck with me.

“With all the awesome things I have had the privilege to do, and the terrific and specific responsibilities I have held and seen through, my job description has not changed in over thirty years. My job is to do whatever it takes to make the show happen tonight.”

Did you catch that?

Whatever it takes.

I stood around after the interview with David and some of his colleagues and they all echoed the same sentiment, and began to tell stories of doing whatever it took to make the show happen that night.  Stories of things far above and far below their pay grade.

Whatever it takes.

When you’re working on a team, of course everyone should have specific jobs and responsibilities. That’s called organization. But a full trust and commitment to doing whatever it takes to make the project happen, that’s called passion and a responsibility to your art.

Sure, don’t take someone’s job away from them. But by all means, let your team know you have their backs and you’ll do whatever it takes to make the show happen tonight.

The curtain’s not up yet, but the doors to the house are open.

What still needs to get done?


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