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Welcome to Merge's Monthly Mega Minute - a bite-sized, yet substantial and practical, nugget of information that you can use immediately to enhance your professional and personal success.

Are you doing your job or are you doing your work?

Job and work. Is there a difference? Absolutely.

A restaurant owner’s job is to produce great food. But the best restaurants are the ones that also focus on giving their patrons an enjoyable dining experience. That’s the owner’s work.

The front-desk receptionist’s primary responsibility may be to answer the phone pleasantly. That’s his job. But he also needs to think critically to solve problems, and adapt to shifting priorities. That’s his work.

What about a doctor? Sure, her job is to diagnose and cure diseases. But the best doctors are the ones who ask questions, listen to the answers, and take the time to invest emotionally in their patients. That’s her work.

The job is the hard skills, the expertise or the technical knowledge to get things done. It’s what most of us study and train for. But work incorporates the soft skills. So it’s not just about getting things done, but how you get things done. Soft skills, also known as people skills, are a diverse range of aptitudes including communication, problem-solving, listening, leadership, and team-building skills, as well as diplomacy, creativity, flexibility, adaptability, and self-awareness. A salesperson with superlative product and market knowledge will have little success if he doesn’t have the interpersonal skills needed to close deals and retain clients. And an outstanding leader needs to be able to listen to employees, build teams, and think creatively in order to get organizational goals achieved.

The reality is that in virtually every working environment, hard skills alone are not enough to be truly effective. Soft skills are what separate the exceptional from the merely average. Doing your job is not the same as doing the work. Your job is just the baseline. Your work is what defines you as a successful professional. Your work is what makes you credible, respected and relevant. You may have studied and trained for years to do your job. But unless you’ve mastered the soft skills, you will not be credible or relevant, and no one will respect you for doing your job. Your work is the ticket you must buy for the privilege of doing your job.

So what do you think? Job versus work – do I have it right? What have been your experiences?  Perhaps more importantly, as a leader, what are you doing to encourage your people to do their work, not just their jobs? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please share your perspectives directly on the blog at

Want respect at work? Here are eight ways to earn it

Respect at work is earned. Are you doing the right things, or inadvertently sabotaging yourself? Merge’s first column for 2020 in The Globe and Mail gives you eight ways to get the respect you deserve.  Read Want respect at work? Here are eight ways to earn it.

Productivity tools for leaders

Our first blog post of 2020 kicks off a brand-new video series.  During the next twelve months, Merge will be producing short video tips, each one a specific and practical technique to reclaim control of your time, or improve your productivity, or get more done through others, or all of the above.  Watch the kick-off video launched on January 9.

Turning Managers into Leaders

  • Video: Productivity tools for leaders.
    Our brand-new video tip series for 2020 will focus on productivity tools specifically for those in leadership positions. Find out more in this short video.

That Merge is celebrating her 6th anniversary as a columnist for The Globe and Mail?

Since January 2014, Merge has been a regular columnist for The Globe and Mail's Report on Business section, penning articles on a wide variety of leadership topics, all under the umbrella of Leadership Matters. Her first column – How to be the boss when your co-workers are your friends – ran on January 23, 2014, and since then, she’s written 53 more popular columns, her most recent one linked earlier in this issue of the Mega Minute.  Here are her all-time top five.  And if you'd like to peruse any of the others, you can always find them in the Article Archives at our website.


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