I once had a boss who asked during a performance review, "Why should I be impressed that you met expectations?" And that was years ago.
HR consultant Peter Weddle maintains that since the recession - and especially since so much work is being automated - doing good-enough work isn't good enough anymore. In a post warning about the distractions of Facebook and other social media at work, he writes:
The Great Recession marked the start of a revolution in the American workplace. The competition in state, regional, national and global markets is now so intense and unforgiving, that America's employers have had to change their approach to how work gets done. They have infused massive levels of new technology into the workplace in order to upgrade the productivity of their operations. They have concluded that their survival is at risk if they don't deliver more and better quality output than their competitors, and they've decided that technology is the best way to do so. ...
This productivity revolution has also quietly and irrevocably changed the definition of a "qualified worker." It is now no longer enough to do a job. In order to be hired and then hold onto that job in this new environment, we have to excel at our work. We have to provide a contribution to our employer's productivity that is as great or greater than that which can be provided by technology.
Meanwhile, author and entrepreneur Seth Godin takes a blunt stance on working against deadlines:
The goal isn't to do work and hand it in just before it's due. The goal is to do the work as beautifully as you can, faster than anyone else, so you can do more work. ...
You don't work on an assembly line any more. You work in project world, and more projects mean more chances to screw up, to learn, to make a reputation and to have more impact.
Since technology changes so rapidly, perhaps IT pros are especially cognizant that they can't become the fat and happy employees Joe Kinsella describes in this High Tech in the Hub post. Let's hope so.