Work Ethic

Why is it people are constantly told that working hard is a good thing? Why is it ‘hard working’ is something to be admired? It implies many things that could be seen as good but also many things that could be seen as bad. Working hard in and of itself has no value in my mind, and that should be made clear. Consider a given task, like say, digging a trench. Is it fundamentally better to dig that trench with a soup spoon? Of course not, so why the emphasis on hard work? I think the simple answer is conspiracy. An idea has been sold to the American public, an idea that if you work hard you’ll be successful. I see no evidence of this being the case. Do you? Who in their right mind can consider the life of a career waitress or housekeeper easier than a lawyer? Sure law school is hard but it’s not as hard as busting your ass for 30 years. I’ve worked a few entry level hard-work type jobs and when in the presence of the others, I noticed a very interesting trend. They would often deride each other for being lazy, and took great pride in being ‘hard working’. But I always found it laughable, and conflicted given that they also respected social ascendance. They respected the lab coats and ties of our society at the same time, and referred to other menial labor jobs in harsh negative terms. It was as if to house keepers, being a housekeeper was noble and honorable given the hard work, but being a trash collector or a career waitress just meant you were a loser. How this was accomplished is complex and hard to fathom. But a basic beginning would be in simple caste systems and classism, which almost invariably begin with religion of some sort. In this case the Christian faith, “the meek shall inherit the earth”. First you get people feeling good conceptually about being devoid of power, a sort of spiritual consolation prize. But this caused a problem, because then they didn’t do anything. So you tell them that free time should be spent doing something they don’t like. “Idle hands are the devils playground.” Or more subtly “And on the 7th day God rested” implying that we should work the other six all the way through. This is related to the idea of laziness being a bad thing. Which I’ve already discussed. A person being willing to work of a goal is indeed noble, but only so long as that work is necessary and the reasons for doing it are well understood. People should look at what the work is costing them, before saying that so long as it’s hard it’s good in all cases. I’m a big believer in work smart not hard. We are not mules, we are humans. The next time someone attacks you for being opposed to hard work, ask yourself if the person takes that position because they want you to work hard so they don’t have to, or if they are simply trying to convince themselves that there is glory to be had in their wasted time. The work ethic kills ambition. The

simple fact is we have the tools to build for ourselves a society in which no one has to physically work hard unless they choose to. To treat hard work like something that must always exist is to give up on making our lives better.

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