“I’m just a…”



“I’m just a…”

Years ago my mother-in-law (a career educator) came for a visit.  We strolled the neighborhood one evening, and I was able to introduce her to one of our neighbors, Susan.

 During the course of our chat, my mother-in-law asked my neighbor, “What do you do?” Susan’s answer was, “Oh, I’m just a teacher in a small community in Ohio.”


As a former teacher, that’s a phrase that sends daggers through my heart.  Those little words are powerful indicators of how someone understands the value of his or her position in an organization. That phrase frames the self concept and reflects a person’s sense of self worth.

Where do we get the notion that our work is “just a…?”  Perhaps it comes from direct or indirect messages we receive from our supervisors or managers. Perhaps it is self imposed. Perhaps it is embedded in our culture. 

Whatever the contributing factor, how we understand the value of our contributions is at the heart of our individual and organizational success.

Your work matters.  If no one tells you so, find a way to remind yourself – on a daily basis.

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