The “you had one job” memes never disappoint. They provide some of the best laughs because they are absurd—yet laced with truth. The expression is the perfect response to seeing such blunders as handrails installed in the wrong direction of a stairwell, mislabeled produce, or misspelled key words on a sign.

*Photo credit Larry Zoolander

One of my personal “you had one job” favorites comes from Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific. When their newly painted 777 emerged from the hangar, the letter “F” was conspicuously missing from the plane’s paint scheme.

While I suspect Cathay Pacific’s leadership wasn’t laughing at the costs required to fix the blunder, the airline’s social media account at least had some fun with it, tweeting that the plane will be “going back to the shop.”

As far as blunders go, misspelling the company’s name on a jumbo jet is a pretty big blunder. It is precisely the sort of mistake that makes us pause and wonder: You had one job, how did you manage to fail so badly?

“You had one job” memes are the result of someone’s carelessness on the job. What was asked of them wasn’t especially difficult. The blunder simply evolved from them not giving their job its due diligence.

They either didn’t pay attention to what they were doing or didn’t care enough about the task to be thorough in assessing its quality. The optimum word being care.

When you’re part of a team, you have a responsibility to care. And when you’re part of a team, you have one job: be a good teammate. How often team members fail at that job is equally laughable.

Team members pursue self-interests ahead of team interests, prioritize individual agendas over team goals, and routinely engage in behaviors like gossip that are detrimental to their teams’ wellbeing. Each of those transgressions equate to good teammate failure.

We don’t give those responsible for the failures in the “you had one job” memes a pass, nor should we give team members who fail at their sole responsibility a pass.

Being a good teammate isn’t as complicated as some try to make it out to be. All that’s essentially required is a commitment to be the best versions of yourself—for your team.

This commitment manifests in how you think, speak, and act. When you convey respect for your team’s culture, you’re doing your job. When you show loyalty to your team’s leadership, you’re doing your job. When you sacrifice individual wants for team needs, you’re doing your job.

When you act selfishly, you’re failing at your job.

The next time you see the word Batman printed on a Superman backpack or a mug handle attached to the inside of the mug, before you laugh at someone’s failure to do their “one” job, think about the sort of teammate you’ve been. Have you been living up to the expectations of your “one” job?

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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