Working crazy hours doesn’t equal good work ethic
When it comes to your professional life, how well you work is much more important than how much you work
At a Glance: Is your work ethic as great as you think it is? Long hours and missed lunches aren’t the true indicators of a great employee.
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You’re at the office an hour before anyone else. You frequently forgo lunch with coworkers to slog through more paperwork at your desk. You stay at work long after everyone has left, and then you head home where you’ll likely spend another hour or two on your laptop. That's some work ethic! Or is it?
Jason Fried, co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, has a radical notion about work ethic. (Side note: You may already be familiar with the viral TED talk in which he proposed that the American workplace adopt a no-talk Thursday policy because “a tremendous amount of work gets done when no one talks to each other.”)
Fried says the real meaning of “good work ethic” has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of time you spend working. For Fried, the quality of your work and the way in which you take care of your responsibilities is the true test of your merit.
Here is a checklist of actions and ideas that Fried considers to exemplify a truly strong work ethic. How many boxes can you check?
Work ethic is about...
Being on time
Doing what you say you’re going to do
Putting in a fair day’s work
Respecting the work
Respecting the customer
Not wasting time
Not making work hard for other people
Not creating unnecessary work for other people
Not being a bottleneck
Not faking work
Being a fundamentally good person that others can count on and enjoy working with
Adopting a quality-over-quantity approach to your workday — and your schoolwork — could transform your entire life for the better. Whether working hard to avoid distractions or practicing showing classmates respect, you’ll quickly learn that a strong work ethic can take you far.