Get a Job Done vs Do a Good Job

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Everyone can get a job done. It is actually fairly easy to do it. Not to mention that we all received education and were trained professionally at a young age. But then, what is a good job? A job can refer to anything. It does not have to be related to a particular professional field. Everyone can make a cup of coffee. But can everyone make a good coffee?

Let me share with you my real-life story. It was around the time when I just started my University life. I was working on an assignment designing something on computer (CAD). I am not born smart. But I am indeed very hardworking. I spent hours and sleepless days working on it at the same time learning. And I finally got it done. I drew what the assignment wanted in 3D and I felt happy because I did it. Weeks later, the assignment was marked and I got only 18/30. I was so sad but that did not beat me. I asked around and got to know a guy who managed to score 27/30. I asked for his assignment and examined it closely. On the next assignment, I got 19/20.

I did not become smarter in just a few weeks’ time. Neither did I become better or more skillful in design. I just changed from “getting a job done” to doing a job “beautifully or perfectly”.

Don’t get me wrong. Getting a job done is not bad at all. However, it may have certain consequences in the long run. The next person taking charge (be it repairing or improving - or even drinking THAT coffee) might be thrown in a very difficult position. Still confused? The picture below shows the difference between “Job Done” (left) vs “Good Job” (right).

You can only pray that the server on the left never breaks down.

I do not have some magical solution that let me do a “perfect” job in everything. But here are the rules that I follow to achieve “my good job”.

Rule no. 1: Questions!

Yes! The 5Ws and 1H. It is that simple. We are taught in schools to ask these why, what, who, where, when and how. But how many of us still apply it in real life. Whenever I have done a job, I would ask myself:
  • Why did I do it that way?
  • What could I have I done better?
  • Who am I doing it for and is it up to his/her expectation?
  • Where could I go wrong?
  • When is it needed?
  • How do I improve it?
Whenever the question “is this my best?” crosses my mind, surprisingly my answer will always be “NO”. Therefore, this led me to do continuous improvement on my work until I am satisfied or almost missing the deadline (I assure you, Mervyn, that in Mirakel, almost- missing-deadline occurs not because of this but due to it being really complex =D). Whenever I look back at my work after “x” years, I was surprised by the fact that the work was done by me. It was so good that I could not believe I was capable of doing it.

NOTE: This practice can be very boring and tiring to your brain. Continuously improving your work to push you to your upper limit. The feeling of being stuck in an infinite loop of improvement. But I do believe the brain power can be trained and you will get better along with time. Be sure to know what is your main objective and the deadline that you should meet.

For those who are not applying this skill already, you should do it now! It is not some complex technique. I think anyone can apply it instantly.

Feel free to share with us if you have any good rules that you are applying. Let’s share rule no.2 and so on!

Posted by Tang Lik

Tang Lik is a graduate from University of Nottingham Malaysia. He holds Master’s Degree with First Class Honour in Mechanical, Material and Manufacturing Engineering. He majors in Design, Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) with high proficiency in 2D and 3D CAD such as Solidworks, ProEngineer, Creo, AutoCAD, Inventor and Fusion 360. He has 1 year working experience with YORK as Research and Development Engineer working on product design and development. He was awarded Top in the World for A-Level Mathematics Examinations 2010 by University of Cambridge International Examinations.