Monday, December 18, 2006

What I Should Be Doing

I had some plans for a meaningless post about what I've been doing with my life, to make sense of why I haven't been around as much. But in making my rounds, I found a surprising post on Beth's blog (Shirk Ethic, December 16th 2006) concerning the abysmal work ethic of the average American. Don't be afraid to click through, no matter what end of the aisle you stand on.

When I was a teenager, I was probably no different than most boys my age. I didn't have an eye on the future, even as it was clamping down on me like one of those anvils that the road runner would drop from a high cliff onto the coyotes head. I think my dad finally figured out that I wasn't going to make much of myself, that he hadn't taught me a backup skill in case I didn't go to or do well in college.

His friend George had three sons, each being a master carpenter by the time they graduated from high school. On this point I am deadly serious, because they could, without their father, build a home from a grassy field. Me, I wasn't qualified to carry any of them a handful of nails. So my dad decided that I would learn.

On Friday and Saturday nights, I drank until two or three in the morning, but when the rooster crowed, my dad kicked me out of bed, and the hangover would be sweated out while packing sheetrock on my shoulders, and laziness was not abided. Full tilt was the only speed setting I had, and if I stumbled, my dad was there to kick my ass.

Fast forward five or six years, and I've got my own crew, building roofs and barking orders, up at the crack of dawn, running on my own steam. I was proud and I was good.

Fast forward fifteen more years, and I'm sitting behind a computer, surfing the net, writing this blog post, commenting on yours, dreaming about writing a novel, doing what I can to get by, knowing that there really isn't much chance of getting caught. I once worshipped Ayn Rand for the work ethic she espoused, even though she was a bit harsh, still, there was a romance to the notion of working hard and earning every dollar I make.

But that isn't so.

I do good work, when I do it, but I'm not that young man that sinks nails with a single swat anymore.

If I want to make a difference, if I want to squawk about the influx of foreign labor, and the exportation of jobs to India and other nations abroad, shouldn't I be doing the best job that I am capable of doing?


Bailey Stewart said...

I think we all have fallen into that trap - I know I have. At my job I just got tired of running around trying to get things done while others were getting paid the same thing and all they did was put up a few books, surf the internet and read. Another reason to move on to something else.

Jada's Gigi said...

Ouch! hard hitting there! like bailey..I think we have all fallen into this...sad to say, you I had a serious work ethic as a young person...but somewher along the way I found that I could get as much done as the next person...doing half as much work...
I think it rests somewhere in the "making a difference" factor...if I think I am, then I can work circles around most everyone I know...and still do on occasion...:)

trinamick said...

I make sure I have my work done before I start goofing off, and my boss doesn't care, since he knows I'm actually doing the work of two people. That said, if I'm on a job where that isn't allowed, I don't sneak around to do less. Too many people today work harder to get out of work than they would if they just shut up and did the job.

Moni said...

Maybe it's just that we get tired of trying to do a good job only to have it go unnoticed or unappretiated, or worse; someone else taking the credit.

No excuse probably for not doing the best job one can possible do, but the case of advancement at any job soley on your work and with out kissing major ass is slim to nil.

But still...I read somewhere that with the exception of Japanese workers, American workers put in more hours than any workers world wide.

Toni Anderson said...

My husband teaches at the university. He works holidays, goes in early and stays late. His students don't have to attend any lectures. Have up to 3 resits to do their exams (and I mean they can just not turn up for those exams and still eventually take them at their leisure...)

It is the same in the UK. Universities became corporate and quality went downhill. What does it teach people about deadlines and motivation? Not a lot.

I blog because I'm a mom and a writer and move around too much. But. If I have work to do I do it first. Gotta love goofy off ocassionally but not as a habit ;)

Toni Anderson said...

Goofing not goofy LOL. Disney on the mind :)

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

In a word, yes.

Beth said...

How in the heck did I miss this post? I was the star of it! OK, had to try and laugh about it.

I really feel there is no excuse for not doing your best work -- no matter what the task.

However, my husband is a workaholic. He works an extra two days in hours than he needs to in order to do a stellar job and that's just not right. I always say if he was more organized, the hours would cut down for him.

So, I feel the goal is to do the best job possible in the most organized manner possible. Then let your down time be absolutely slothy (which I know isn't a word).

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