Is the Work Ethic Dead?

If so, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

time-card.jpgIn the past, more/harder work was associated – somewhat accurately – with greater productivity. And there is no doubt that hard work brings rewards and results…to some degree. But should we any longer exalt the “work ethic”?

What’s the point of our work? Is it not results? Is it not getting something done? Is there any nobility in doing something in 20 hours of hard work, if one hour of a more creative approach accomplishes the same goal? Should we be measured by hours and effort, or by accomplishing the desired result?

What about replacing the work ethic mentality with something more results-focused: the Accomplishment Ethic?

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3 Responses to Is the Work Ethic Dead?

  1. Lewis Green says:


    Good questions. I think your point is not to put in fewer hours of work but when at work, work smarter not harder. Being efficient, creative and innovative can cut project time, leaving more time for more projects within our weekly quota of hours, whether or nots it’s 20 hours a week or 60 hours a week. And that should remain personal choice.

  2. Bob Glaza says:

    Hopefully, the work ethic – as we in the US have come to worship it – will die a slow and lonely death. I’ve found keeping your nose to the grindstone results in a scraped nose. The nose was developed to smell roses, too. Still many continue to value the quantity of hours vs the quality of moments. Thanks for letting me pause for a moment, Steve. Keep up your excellent questions.

  3. Kevin Benson says:

    Much in life would go unaccomplished without a strong work ethic. The concepts and benefits of “work” expand beyond employment for pay. I exalt the work ethic and think of it in broader terms than simply working at a job. Worthwhile things are produced by work performed inside and outside the workplace. Requiring a strong work ethic are relationships, raising children, caring for pets, and producing art. However, I get the point about working efficiently on the job to reduce work hours and free up time and energy for other things (this was a theory of Marx). Work for capitalistic purposes only can be drudgery and harmful to living a full life.

    There is a youth activity that I have followed for 30 years that exemplifies The Work Ethic. From it, youngsters gain various benefits. When one considers Work Ethic from this perspective, it is inspiring.

    Kevin B.

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