You Took The Job

Someone at a recent event came up and asked me how I overcome “the feeling of being unmotivated and exhausted all the time.” Well…I think he was projecting his feelings about his company, so let me tell you a story. 

A couple of years ago I had a telemarketer who was a “cyclist.” Not an avid biker, mind you, but someone who would constantly cycle between good and bad performance. Let’s call him “Bubba.” When we first hired Bubba, he started out great, picking up steam fast, learning the job well and producing. But then, after a couple of months, he started to slide in performance. He got comfortable. He started slowing down the number of dials he made every day. Then he started being lazy about following up per our playbook, letting hot leads sit for days without being called, or just calling them once and deciding they weren’t worth the additional follow-up. Obviously his results started to tank, so we had to have a serious conversation about his performance, giving him a month to fix it or leave.  

To our delight, he did fix it. He started cycling UP. He picked up the dials, started doing the job again, and the results were there…for a while. In his next downward cycle, he started not making the dials, not following up, but then ALSO started taking sick days. To no one’s surprise, he always seemed to get “sick” on Monday, careful not to take more than he was allotted, but it’s never a good sign when someone is consistently missing Monday, when the sales meeting happens and we huddle together as a team to review the previous week’s performance and set goals and plans for the week. Again, performance tanks, and we give him the PIP (performance improvement plan) to bring his results up or leave. Thirty days or you’re gone. Again, he got after it and fixed his results…for a while. 

The next cycle came faster. Same low dials, same nonadherence to the playbook and systems we had. When he ran out of sick days, he started with the “I can’t come in because I believe I was exposed to Covid” excuse to work from home. Then his attitude started to change, and not in a good way. Seeing this pattern, I pulled him aside and asked what the heck was going on. He admitted that he didn’t have the heart for the job. He felt burnt-out and uninspired. He felt exhausted all the time. He said, “Making calls isn’t what I had in mind when I think about what I want to do with my life.” 

Here’s the conversation I had with him. I started with this simple statement: You took the job

When we hired you, you were fully aware of the tasks, responsibilities and performance required. You knew you had to work a full eight hours, make 100 dials a day and follow our playbook to the letter. You knew we weren’t a company that accepted mediocrity. You knew we were a company that demanded performance and expected excellence. We talked about how you would be measured and monitored, not to “manage” you like an ogre, but to ensure you were doing the job well. We talked about the metrics you were expected to hit. You saw all of this, agreed to it and took the job. You made a promise to me, this company, our clients and everyone else on this team. We made a promise to you as well. To pay you for the job. To train you and give you the tools and support you needed. To invest time and money into marketing, software, people and systems to support you in accomplishing your quota. WE kept our promise. YOU aren’t keeping yours.  

Now, I realize that this is not a “dream job” that little kids aspire to when they think about what they want to do when they grow up. But guess what? It’s a solid, honorable job that contributes to a company that is reputable and honest, helping a group of hardworking people who, like you, often feel burnt-out, uninspired and burdened with the many things in life we all have to deal with. Your performance matters to them and to us. As an employee here, you represent us. You are the first impression a new prospective client has of us. That’s a big responsibility we have entrusted you with, because our reputation has taken YEARS to build and can be destroyed in a single moment by a single person.  

How well you do your job also directly impacts your fellow teammates who depend on you to do your job well so they can succeed in theirs. So yeah, you can just look at your job as a necessary evil to pay the bills. A place to pick up a check. Something to fill eight hours a day. And I promise you, if you continue to look at it that way, you will ALWAYS feel uninspired, unmotivated and unfulfilled, no matter what you do or where you go. Like it or lump it, YOU took the job.  

The simple reality is that ALL jobs have “suck” to them. The saying “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life” is a big, stinking pile of bullshit. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, including those who are living their dream job, have to deal with SUCK.  

So, my struggling friend who asked how I deal with the “suck” or the drag in my life, here’s what you need to know… 

Even people with “dream” jobs who are winning have to FIND ways to stay motivated. They have to FIND ways to stay engaged and keep going in the face of setback after setback, failure after failure. They have to FIND ways to deal with people disappointing them and things not going according to plan, and still move forward and get the results they committed to. They have to DIG DEEP when everything is upside down and not working as well as they hoped or not working at all. And the higher up the ladder you go and the more responsibility you take on, the more you are faced with this. Why? Because when WE take the job, we make a promise to ourselves and everyone we involve to lead. THAT is where the passion is. THAT is where the motivation lies. When you decide to be the person who voluntarily takes the burden of that responsibility onto your back, you own it.   

Now, let me talk to those of you who own a business who might also be sliding just a bit, slow-walking your performance, giving yourself time-outs and hall passes. Maybe you’re slightly burnt-out and feel like coasting. It IS much easier to tread water than to set plans for 20% to 30% YOY growth.  

Let me remind you…YOU took the job. YOU signed up to lead your company. You made that decision. Now you have people who need you. You have people who depend on you. You have people who look up to you. Members of your team. Your customers. Your family. Your kids. Your community. 

They need you to be better than you are today. They need you to lead. To be a tough, disciplined, strong leader who they can depend on. Not a whiny crybaby who is soft on their responsibilities. Not a procrastinator. Not a “Let’s kick the can down the road and deal with it later” person. Not someone playing small so they can take it easy and have less responsibility. They need you to play a bigger game. To play full-out toward a better future. 

And let me say this: playing FULL-OUT toward a bigger game isn’t just about the money, although you should absolutely be rewarded that way if you work hard, stay disciplined and do the things you know you need to do when you need to do them. I’m talking about self-respect and pride. When you tell me you don’t want all that money – you don’t need a big house, you don’t need a fancy car, you don’t want to live in luxury – that’s a big fat excuse you’re using to not reach your full potential. You don’t want the money that success comes from? Fine. Take the money and use it for good in the world then. Give it to a family that needs it. Make the money and give it a charity like St. Jude, or whatever charity or need God puts in your heart.  

You don’t get to use “I don’t want or need the money” as a lame excuse for playing small and not being all you could be. Because you know what? You can lie to anyone you want, even yourself. But deep down, you know better.  

Right now, I see too many MSPs playing it small. They have all the usual head trash and baggage they drag around with them like a homeless person drags around a shopping cart full of junk they don’t need. I’m too busy. I’m too broke. I’m too small. I’m too tired. I’m too old. I’m too young. I’m too uninspired. I’m too scared. I’m too whatever 

If you look for a reason not to win and not to grow, you’ll always find it. If you look for an excuse, you’ll always have one. 

As business owners, we’ve all hired a Bubba. We’ve all talked to each other in frustrated tones about our “Bubbas” and how hard it is to find good people who do the job well, go the extra mile, pay attention to what they’re doing and THINK a little.  

But a question to ask yourself is this: Are you tired, bored, frustrated and playing small too? Are YOU being a “Bubba”? Nobody who’s any good at their job wants to go work for a Bubba who’s uninspired, burnt-out, tired, frustrated and not going anywhere. People want to join in with someone who has a big vision, who is enthusiastic about it, who’s determined to win and is TOUGH. Clients want the same. Don’t feel inspired today? Crush that. You can’t ever show quit. You can’t ever show doubt. You can’t ever show hurt. Not if you are taking on the responsibility of leading a company and the people who depend on you.  

Unfair? Too harsh? I can already hear the mental health people screaming at me right now. I get it. If you can’t handle that kind of pressure and responsibility, then don’t take the job.  

There’s no doubt about it: Robin Robins has helped more MSPs and IT services companies to grow and prosper, liberating them from stagnation, frustration, drudgery and low incomes. For over 20 years, Robin has been showing MSPs and IT services firms how to implement marketing plans that attract higher-quality clients, lock in recurring revenue streams and secure high-profit contracts. Her methods have been used by over 10,000 IT services firms around the world, from start-ups to multimillion-dollar MSPs. For more information and a FREE copy of The MSP’s Ultimate Guide To IT Services Marketing And Lead Generation, go to


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