In my personal life, helping others has always had a high priority. Whether it was part of the Midwestern landscape of my youth or a hallmark of the spiritual training from my parents and church, coming early or staying late to set up chairs or wash dishes was just what we did.
But in my work life, I haven’t always been so generous with my time.
Part of my hesitation stemmed from an immature view of work responsibilities. Once, during a work review very early in my professional life, I was told that other employees didn’t think I was very flexible and willing to help. I didn’t disagree. I had thought that if I helped them, it would mean compromising the time I had to commit to my own workload. Wouldn’t that be detrimental to the company?
Another reason I was reluctant to be too helpful at work was the fear that I wouldn’t get enough of the credit for the job, or worse, that my helpfulness would leave me stuck doing tasks that I didn’t even like or that were beneath my pay grade. Both have happened to me. And I feel like a heel even mentioning it.
Over the years, though, being helpful at work is a value I have grown into.