A job worth doing is worth doing well
No it’s not. The point of a job is to get paid. That’s it. Everything else is window dressing. Anything
else is simply a means of making the job bearable in order to continue to get paid. As long as you are
getting paid then it doesn’t matter if the job even gets done, let alone done well. In fact there are endless
jobs where attempting to do it well will end up making the position so unbearable that you end up leaving in
anger and frustration.
I spent most of my youth and early working life, working hard and trying to be and do my best. I
wanted to succeed and prove my worth without kissing up to anyone. I believed that my uncompromising
standards and attention to detail would shine through in my works and I would be recognized and rewarded
for my efforts. No matter how long it would take, and in the end at least, I would be able to be proud of the
job I had done.
I admit this did serve me well for a period of time and I would consistently rise to the upper bottom of any
organization I joined. At first I felt pride and a sense of accomplishment at having been promoted to lead
this, head that, or supervisor of whatever. Eventually, I realized that working hard gave me a step up but
that was it, a step. Hard work was not an elevator, an escalator, or even a whole flight of stairs. Hard work
was a step stool that could help you get your nose above the water.
In time and with some resistance, I came to except the phrase work smarter not harder. At first I took this to
mean that you should figure a better way to implement your efforts which lead me to the understanding
that you need to get an education. So I pushed myself through Jr. College to get an A.A. and then
transferred and got a B.A in eight years after four years in the Marines and 2 years of marriage. I thought
that somehow school would magically make life better. Finally, I followed this logic to its negative maximum;
Try to figure a way to get as much as possible with as little direct effort as possible. This can also be
known as the scheme or scam philosophy. In this mindset work and especially hard work is a bad thing
that only stupid people believe in. The logic of this is obvious, when is the last time you saw bill gates or
Donald trump picking up garbage or wiping down a table. They manage things; they don’t really even
manage people they are so far removed from actual work that it is hard to say that they do work. They just
exist and the money comes into being. (Note: Being out of touch does not equal better ideas.)
My ever evolving work ethic has made many transitions over the years and the course of my work
experience. Even as a child I had a good work ethic. I wanted to do everything myself and earn whatever I
got. As I grew and entered the work force at a young age I developed the philosophy that hard work was
good for a man’s soul and that to get ahead you just had to work harder. I still believe in this concept but
as an internal motivation and not as a practical application. In application, the philosophy of hard work
results in hard work, followed by more hard work, which leads to a lifetime of hard work. In effect hard work
is its own reward. Think about it for a minute. Does that mean, as most would likely assume, that by
working hard you develop a sense of pride of accomplishment in your efforts or does it really mean that if
you just work hard you just get more hard work. That is until you get too old to work or become disable in
someway, then you are just cast off because you can no longer get the job done. Kind of turns the saying
on its side a bit doesn’t it.
What I have found is that most jobs are not worth doing in themselves. If you were a fireman and rescued
a baby from a burning building it would be worth it but having to wash the truck or hang out a thousand
feet of fire hose to dry, not so much… and most of us are not firemen. Most of us perform tasks and
functions that are simply a piece of a larger activity who’s main goal is to produce revenue and sadly
enough to produce that revenue for someone else. The end result of most of our labors is continued
subsistence. Although most people do not consciously know this, most people understand that it is true,
that is why you always hear in exasperation, “If I could just get ahead…” We spent a good portion of our
thought process trying to manufacture reasons and justify that we are doing is important. We waste time
decorating our activity with meaning in order to defend our self esteem from the truth that what we do is
not important, that the sole purpose for it is provision, and that doing it alone will not enable us to reach
“So what,” you say, “What do we do to solve this problem and make it better?” “How do we get out of this
1. Have no illusions. Recognizing there is a problem; realizing the truth of something is the first step.
2. You have to be more dynamic in both your actions and especially in the way you think of things.
3. Analyze your self, skills and abilities, and develop a concept of yourself as a tradable commodity in the
4. Break free of and resist the fear of being on your own. In doing these things you will develop the
possibility of failure. You will likely fail time and time again but you also gain the possibility of having some
real success. The type of success that can enable you to reach some of those goals.
Image yourself standing still on a cement surface and jumping as high and hard as you can to reach the
edge of a 17 foot high basket ball hoop, (the ones in the NBA are 10 foot) it would be an amazing feat for
even the tallest NBA players. This would be the scenario of you in your present job with your present
mindset. Now consider my suggestions as putting a large trampoline between you and the cement. There
not like a ladder that you can simply climb up and reach your goals. You are going to have to jump and
build up some momentum and you are going to miss more often then not but every once in awhile you will
touch the rim.
If you delude your self with the misguided concept that what you do is important then you will never be able
to reach the goals that you dream about.
You have to risk in order to gain. If you want to succeed you have to try and trying allows for the possibility
of failure. It also provides for the opportunity to succeed. So break loose and give it a try.
The Brutal Truth:
In order to succeed you have to get and stay focused on your goals you have to define how and what you’
re doing affects your goal. If what you’re doing is simply a means to an end then view it that way and act
accordingly. Be objective about what your doing and why.