This is a followup from my previous post, Are You a Linchpin, Assignment, see also Linchpin and the Art of Photography. The easy answer to this question is, yes, of course I am a Linchpin. It’s about like asking someone if they think they have any value in this world at all. Well if they didn’t think so, they probably wouldn’t be here. The hard part about the answer is not the yes or no, but the why.
Explaining to someone why you have value is not as easy to quantify. I have value to my family because I cut the grass and hopefully bring joy to their lives, I have value to God for a variety of reasons, but can you quantify your value at work? The value we have at work is the value we create. It isn’t given to us by our boss, or written in a manual, or presented to us on a nice easy to follow map. Value is what we make of it, and how we use this creativity of ours to add value above what we are paid, because we want to, not because we are paid to do so.
I add a created value to my team, not for the tasks that are easily documented, but for the unique perspective I bring that only I have because only I have lived my life. I am a technology troubleshooter, teacher, trainer, arbitrator, writer, photographer, problem solver, and all around idea negotiator, who generally doesn’t like hard and fast rules but concepts and ideas to work with. If it can be easily explained and easily written down, anyone could do it, anyone could easily replace my value. It is the unquantifiable that makes me a Linchpin.
To me being a good editor is an art, the art of a Linchpin. I know how to edit content and copy, but I am lousy at it. No matter how many times I read something I still miss obvious grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors that leap out to a good editor, or even a fair one. We have a great editor on our team (@farrowj on Twitter) but even if you could write down exactly what she does, and if I tried to follow it, I would still be a lousy editor. I doubt she has ever written it down either.
Being a Linchpin or not is more about choice than destiny or fate. You aren’t just born a Linchpin and you are made one by your boss or customers. You are a Linchpin if you choose to become one, choose to share your unique art with others beyond what is written in a manual.
Are you a Linchpin, and if so, why?