ORIGIN: Starting the Conversation

Embracing Responsibility

09.03.13 by Matt Schachle
1 Comment

Often times people ask for the opportunity to take on new/additional responsibility; whether that is a kid at home, an athlete on a sports team, a student at school or an employee at work.  What varies in each case and person is whether they thrive in the new situation and if the presumed successful outcome is achieved.

The most obvious example that comes to mind relates to teenagers living at home and begging for a later curfew; some will succeed and others will fail.  Success results in a new curfew and failure results in the same curfew.   New college students living on their own face a lot of new responsibilities all at once.  Decisions have to be made as to how much time to allot to studying, sleeping and socializing.  Sometimes dealing with all of those new responsibilities at once can become overwhelming, and sometimes it takes failing at them to figure out the balancing act.  Many students are better at this juggling act in their 2nd or 3rd year as compared to their 1st.  They learn from their failures and make adjustments that allow them to succeed.

A few sayings relating to this topic that come to mind are “learn from your mistakes”, “don’t make the same mistake twice”, and “failure breeds success”.

As a first time career employee and new to the professional work force, a new job can be overwhelming and intimidating.  Fortunately, most jobs have training plans in place to gradually introduce new employees to the entire spectrum of their new position.  If a person has the fear of failure, they may be reluctant to grow into their position.  This fear of failure could become a hindrance to their professional growth.

Managers should challenge and encourage young employees to take on new/additional responsibilities in order to nurture their growth.   As I mentioned earlier, not all people will handle new/additional responsibilities the same.  Therefore, managers may need to handle each case differently and find the balance of pushing the young employee beyond their comfort level to encourage growth without setting them up for failure.

If an employee does not achieve what they or the manager perceives as success, either party may hesitate to allow the employee to be put in that type of situation again.  If success is not achieved, they should be mentored as to how approach the situation differently in order to lead to success the next time.  Often times managers let one failure over-influence their opinion of an employee and define their “ceiling” or capabilities; and regardless of how much that employee progresses and proves their worth, the manager will always refer to “that one time…”.

Managers and young employees should realize that some failure is good and is needed, as it forces realization of mistakes and encourages growth.   Not all failures will be detrimental to career growth and at some point a lesson learned from a past mistake will be utilized to face a new challenge or responsibility.

New/additional responsibilities can and should be welcomed, embraced and used to grow your personal and professional lives.


One Response

  1. Carrie Johnson says:

    Matt…I just got a chance to read this. Very well written and great thoughts!

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Matt Schachle, PE, SE


Matt received his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Master of Science in Civil Engineering degrees from the University of Oklahoma. He is a…

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