Work Ethic Otherwise called a Protestant work ethic, a Google™ of the term “work ethic” yields a definition at Answers.com that reads, “A view of life that promotes hard work and Lesko Anonse self-discipline as a means to material prosperity. It is called Protestant because some Protestant groups believe that such prosperity is a sign of God’s grace.” Whatever your faith (if any), and whatever your belief in a god (if any), the term “work ethic” extends beyond its faith-based origin into a generally accepted concept defining one’s attitude towards work and life.
For some, the term represents positive attributes: responsibility, diligence, dedication, persistence, focus, caring, honesty, discipline, commitment. For others, the term represents that which is wrong with the world: excessiveness, 24/7 “always on” environment, information overload, workaholic tendencies, family dissolution, corporate greed. For most – managers, chief officers of businesses and associations, human resource professionals, skilled trades people, professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs, and employees and workers – the term “work ethic” evokes strong feelings and passionate responses one way or the other.
What is it about possession, or lack, of a strong work ethic that tends to define how one thinks of another person as well as oneself, and influences perceptions, relationships, trust, and performance evaluations of so many people? Observe an awards ceremony of any kind, whether related to sports, entertainment, discovery, politics, business achievement, or otherwise. Award winners typically thank three entities in their lives — in varying order — when they accept their awards: the people who gave birth to or raised them, their faith, and their colleagues who contributed to their achieving their current recognition.
When they thank the people who raised them, they say in one way or another, “I thank [fill in the person’s name] for encouraging me when I was growing up and for teaching me the value of hard work.” That value of hard work represents a work ethic. Your work ethic is not your job description, career goals, or the tasks you perform. Your work ethic is part of your belief system and reflects in your attitudes and behavior.
Your work ethic is how you feel deep down inside that you should behave and respond when it comes to deciding whether to work hard or not. It is what you do when no one else is watching, as well as how you contribute to others’ success when they are (watching). The old cliché about succeeding in life is that you have to work hard to succeed and that you will not succeed at something if you do not work at it. While this may be true conceptually, the cliché smacks of motivational fluff that is nice to hear but difficult to implement.
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