I'm not sure I do
I called a locksmith a couple of weeks ago to ask about changing the front door lock on our flat.
We bought it in June last year, and it's had the same lock for over twenty-five years. A lot of the time it's been rented out to various people, so who knows how many copies of the key are floating around ;)
Anyway, the guy came round and brought a couple of samples. I asked him a lot of questions (turns out locks are really interesting -expect a more detailed post once I actually decide on one and get it installed).
The locksmith was a nice guy, kind of quiet, with a pleasant demeanor.
The thing that really struck me though, is that he didn't seem to understand what his job was in this particular situation.
He thought that his job was to bring the 2-3 locks he thought I might want (determined solely by price), and install them.
What I wanted from the interaction was for him to listen to my concerns and understand our situation, then make a knowledgeable recommendation.
What we ended up with was me asking a lot of questions that started something like: "I was reading online and I saw ____, is that true?", and him saying "yes" or giving a similarly short answer.
I think we both came away frustrated. I got a quote for a couple of locks, but didn't feel ready to install one yet. He didn't get an order.
If he had understood his job better, he would have made an expensive sale (I am not price-sensitive for things that might matter and last a long time), but he thought his job was just to fit locks.
And this made me wonder: am I getting my job wrong at times?
Seth Godin writes really great little daily blog posts about things like this (subscribe to get them every day), and made one of my favourite TED talks:
How about you? Do you know what your job is?