Phoning it in

Why it’s the worst possible thing for you to do

I once worked at a beautiful location, the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, doing shows every night.

Photo Matthew Field from Wikimedia

The guides at this tourist attraction and favorite local venue (for the view), like me, drove up every day. Then, they spent most of the day complaining about just about everything. I wonder if any of them are at all happy today? They reminded me of the experience you get when you go to a mall to buy something, and the store is staffed by high school kids with summer jobs. Sure, they’d rather be doing anything but working in this awful place, so they shout “I hate this job” at each other from different sides of the store. Barely phoning it in.


The problem with this is, when you work even crap jobs, you are forming lifetime habits. Phoning it in is something you carry with you forever. You’ll be faking it at times when you really shouldn’t. Most people will not go on to become huge stars while doing exactly what makes them passionate about life. These days, people are lucky to find jobs, let alone passionate ones. Passion can take many forms, and I think success at anything depends on wanting to do whatever you happen to be tasked with the best you can. I once had to do a week of data entry because we couldn’t find and train someone to do it in time. I wasn’t passionate about tying in line after line of meaningless (to me) titles and figures,, but I wasn’t fuming either, I was building something. This activity earned us a million dollar contract over three years. Now that was worth doing. And I got the habit of trying to avoid doing things half-assed, phoning it in. Those who understand the concept will likely go further than the sad sacks who don’t.

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