Work Ethic: Actions Speak Louder than Words

At work. I’m bored.

No joking. This tweet appeared in my Twitter stream a couple of weeks ago. I will protect the name of the guilty person who tweeted this in ignorance.

Wait, do I really mean ignorance or complete disregard?

The latter.

The tweet above is not a reflection upon the company you work for, but YOU and your work ethic.

I refuse to believe work ethics no longer exist or should not because of some study showing how Millennials were raised to think the world their playground. Work ethics are intrinsic; they come from within each of us.

Work ethic is more than just working hard. Any one of us can spin our wheels for eight hours a day. Work ethic is about being professional, completing your task with the larger picture in mind and with due diligence, and having a positive attitude (even if you are a person like me always thinking the glass is half empty). Simply, actions speak louder than words. Not every day is going to be a picnic at the office. Politics will run their course. No doubt, but you cannot control other people, only yourself.

Work ethic is about taking initiative. You see something that needs to be done? Do it. Don’t wait to be told or for it to be officially placed on your task list. Start working toward solutions. Just do it.

Warming a seat doesn’t cut it. Trying is awesome, but you do not get an A for effort. This is real life with real life consequences. It is time we start acting as if we have a crucial part to play as the the employee and the employer.

Work is not about making friends. It is about working harmoniously together to achieve a vision. We have to bring our A game to the table.

No instant gratification. We have to work to achieve the goal. Master our strengths and acknowledge and correct weaknesses. Coddling will not be accepted.

Limelight? Success is just as easily doled out as failure. Don’t forget that. Being right or wrong is underrated. Be infamous for being useful, humble and gaining wisdom in dark situations.

Innovation cannot be achieved without continuation. Ideas are as unique as snowflakes. Demonstrate how you can work within the system before you go about breaking all the rules.

Step up or step out. Respect is not freely given, it is earned.

The sooner we learn this, the smoother the path.

Being bored is not acceptable. Go out and seek something that fires your passions. It is time we started holding everyone, regardless of age, accountable for work ethic. It should be something you progress toward perfecting…

How can we cultivate and nourish stronger work ethics?

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  • Teresa Basich

    Great post, L, and one that deserves some real discussion. I think one of the main things we can do to cultivate stronger work ethics is get down to the nitty gritty of time management and project prioritization. Sometimes that wheel spinning has to do, more than anything, with a lack of clear priorities or understanding as to where best to focus our time; when the road forward is unclear, it’s easiest to stop and wait for the fog to lift, right?

    Also, there needs to be some added focus on employee support, but not in the traditional way that we think about support. There’s a lack of confidence and drive to speak up and take charge, which is obviously a huge sticking point in moving past unimpressive an work ethic. In part, that stems from the support and education we receive through our lives, but I also feel it’s become a pervasive issue because of our traditional business model and bent for micro-management.

    I definitely want to chew this topic over more and appreciate you starting this thought process for me with this post. :)

  • Lauren

    T, great points, as usual. Getting to the root of the problem, perhaps? How do we stop making the same mistakes of businesses and managers of the past and shepherd in this road map and employee support? You have given me things to chew on too.

  • Dave

    Nom Nom Nom…mmmm…great post Lauren!

  • Lowerider Rl

    Yes great post and it appears work ethic is fleeting in today’s atmosphere. May I suggest that work ethic is not so much intrinsic as it a learned behavoir. Like most things behaviors can change if not in an appropriate environment. I beleive it was Maslov? Maybe Maslow (long time since I read about it) and his pyriamid of self actualization that really helps me understand the importance of fostering a healthy work environment in order to increase productivity and sense of ownership. It only takes a trip to a fast food place to see that work ethic is eroding, (having the 20 year that looks like they just swallowed a bug, becuase you interupted their recount of last nights event s with their co-workers becuase you wanted to buy something!!!) The parent of these kids likely both had careers (becuase thats the way it must me in order to thrive these days) and out of guilt of not spending qulaity time with the kids probably gave them most everything they asked for. They missed the lesson of, if you do your chores you will be rewarded with an allowance.

    But this is a two way street, Employers who are autocratic and have only a Bottom line mentality, can do a pretty good job of ruining someones work ethic. If you work your guts out for an organization and recieve nothing in return, it won’t be long before you change your behavior (or change your job!).

    I like to think Respect is on Credit! I treat every one with respect, until such a time they default on the loan. :-)