Why you should take your work seriously


How do you regard work? Perhaps for you it’s a source of income but by no means a passion? Perhaps it’s something you must do because you need the income but it doesn’t really leave you feeling motivated to do the best job you can do? Perhaps mostly you’re just going through the motions, doing the minimum you can get away with each day and longing for the weekend? Perhaps you prefer to spend your time in the office chatting and drinking coffee with your workmates? Does that sound like you or perhaps a slightly exaggerated version of you?

If that’s not you and your work is your passion then this article is not for you. However it is aimed at readers who feel less than energised by the work they’re currently doing.

Work is your livelihood:

If you’re not pulling your weight in your current job then you should know that it won’t have gone unnoticed. Just because your boss has yet to say anything doesn’t mean he or she hasn’t noticed. And if you’re building a reputation for being a slacker then it’s only a matter of time before the company will find a reason to get rid of you, if you’re not careful.

You must appreciate that a business cannot carry costs which add little or no value to that business. That is, it can’t if its aim is to survive anyway. Commercial reality will very quickly kick any business in the butt should its management fail to keep a tight control on costs. Companies are not registered charities. Any costs must be covered by prices charged. If a business bears unnecessary costs for long then the result will be pricing that is simply uncompetitive.

Think about that for a second. As a consumer, if Company A is selling a product at a lower price than Company B, where will you buy it? You’ll go for the best price every time. No customer loyalty will survive even a small saving in price.

So if you’re not adding value potentially you’re at risk of losing your job. Your work is your livelihood, so losing your job could actually hurt you. In fact the best way to appreciate your job is to imagine your life without it.

Work provides you with a sense of purpose:

The very essence of what work is all about is simple. Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money. It gives us an income but it also gives us a sense of purpose.

Through work we apply our skills and knowhow to deliver an output or an outcome for someone else. That may be an individual or an organisation but either way we are paid for what we actually deliver. Essentially that is the psychological contract we enter into when we agree to do work for someone.

If we’re not delivering what we’re paid to deliver then we’re not doing our job properly. We are not fulfilling the psychological contract that is work.

Taking pride in our work is important too. Our sense of purpose should drive us to do the best we can with the skills we have and we should be constantly seeking to improve.

If we don’t love what we do at any given time then we should be looking for ways to change our mind-set to take a more positive view. If we view our work positively then we’re more likely to be energised by it and if we’re energised by it we’re more likely to do it well.

Work is how we make a difference:

You must also recognise that there is a big difference between being busy and delivering real results. Never confuse industry with effectiveness. The two are very different things.

If I’m paying you to paint houses then the only measure I will use to judge you on is how well and how efficiently you paint houses. I don’t really care how helpful you might have been to the electrician or the refuse collector.

Being busy doesn’t count for anything unless you’re busy doing the right things. Doing the right things is how we make a real difference. And surely we’d all like to make a difference?

Other benefits:

Having a job actually provides us with many benefits. For a start with the income it generates, it allows use to put a roof over our head and bread on our table. Managed carefully, the money we earn will put clothes on our backs and allow us to heat our homes. And of course it provides so much more too.

Having a job gives us status and our own income gives us a degree of independence and freedom. All these things together improve our self-esteem. And of course work give us a reason to get you out of bed each day. Work is how we make a contribution to the society around us. Not just in what we do but also the taxes we pay. That’s how we pull our weight and justify our membership of the society in which we live.

However let us not forget the camaraderie we enjoy with the people with whom we work too. Yes, some of them will drive us nuts at times but mostly they’re good people just like us, with lives just like ours and with whom we can relate. We share their laughs and we share their tears too at times; the good times and the bad times; it all makes life worth living. Work allows us to engage with other people and that’s very important.

Your work can be your legacy too:

Work is what we do for other people and what we’ve done for other people is how we’ll be remembered long after we’re gone. So potentially your work is your legacy.

On that basis, whatever you do strive to do it well. It might not seem much to you but it will matter to other people. Have a sense of pride in your work whatever it is. It doesn’t matter whether you sweep roads or you’re a skilled heart surgeon we all have our place in society and we all have our contribution to make. And whatever role you play, no one is better than anyone else.

Enjoy your work or keep looking:

It’s important you find a way to enjoy your work because we spend a third of each day doing it. Sometimes it’s just a case of looking at your work in a different way in order to appreciate what you have. However sometimes even then for whatever reason you’ll feel unhappy.

If you can’t find a way to enjoy your work then find another job. One more suited to your natural talent perhaps. However until you find the right thing, you must grit your teeth and do your current work to the best of your ability.

And never just walk away from a job without another one to go to. It is ironic perhaps but it is always much easier to find another job when you already have one. Without a job a potential employer might wonder whether you’re unlucky or just a loser. And usually employers will be reluctant to take a chance on you if they’re unsure.

Conclusion:

The importance of work to our lives and our self-esteem should not be underestimated. So do the work you’re paid to do and do it well. Do that and success can be yours.

Don’t do your job properly and you’ll struggle to hold on to it for very long. Lose it and almost certainly you’ll regret it.

That’s the nature of work, it always has been and it always will be.

Other Articles:

What is the key to success?

Visibility: Does it matter?

Life is short and it’s later than you think

Powerful words change lives

11 tips for improving quality of life

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2017. All Rights Reserved.


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