Why Hard Work Can
If hard work was such a
wonderful thing, the rich would have kept it all to themselves.
- Lane Kirkland
The Work Ethic Is a Terrible Mistake - A
Cute Term Gone Haywire
Personally, the only time I am a big fan of hard work is when someone else is doing it and I am
paying for it. This is not to say that I won’t work hard at times, particularly on projects that excite me
immensely, or ones that I must complete within a certain time frame. But for all intents and purposes, I find most
hard work detrimental to my well-being.
Indeed hard work is not what brings fun at work. Hard work is what gets people
thinking about excuses to skip work
and drafting goodbye letters for
Contrary to popular belief, the work ethic is a terrible mistake,
a cute term gone haywire. It is promoted most vehemently either by employers who want to exploit
pathetic workaholics or by pathetic workaholics themselves who are trying to justify why they work so many hours
and have no real life.
Personally, I have nothing against work, particularly when
performed, quietly and unobtrusively, by someone else. I just don't happen to think it's an appropriate
subject for an "ethic."
- Barbara Ehrenreich
As is to be expected, everything has a price attached to it. There is a price for not working
hard enough; there can be an even larger price for working too hard. Corporations, however, would like you to
believe that “hard work is good for you and it never harmed anyone.” There are reasons to believe otherwise,
Hard Work Can Kill You
According to a 2002 study in the British Medical Journal, employees with stressful jobs are twice as
likely to die from heart disease as those who have jobs with little or no stress.
Employees who work over forty-eight hours per week double their risk of heart disease, according to a
1996 UK government report.
According to a 2003 American study, long-term job strain is worse for your heart than gaining forty
pounds in weight or aging thirty years.
Approximately two million workers die annually due to occupational injuries and illnesses, according to
one United Nations report. This means that work kills more people than war (650,000 deaths per year).
The core of the matter is that hard work can kill you. Another dark side of the work ethic is
how many rainbow-chasers end up working hard all their lives, expecting success, but with nothing to show for it.
The key to success, in fact, is to work on the few things that are truly important and make a difference in this
world, and to disregard the rest.
If work is so terrific, how come they have to pay you to do
- George Carlin
The key is not to overdo things. Pablo Picasso was one of the most prolific and influential
artists of the twentieth century. No doubt you will agree that Picasso, who excelled in painting, sculpture,
etching, stage design, and ceramics, attained an impressive measure of career success without a real job. Yet
Picasso, like me, did not believe in being an achiever at all costs.
“You must always work not just within but below your means,”
claimed Pablo Picasso. “If you can handle three elements, handle only two. If you can handle ten, then handle only
five. In that way the ones you do handle, you handle with more ease, more mastery, and you create a feeling of
strength in reserve.”
Why do I work so hard? Because millions who collect welfare
depend on me.
There is much more to say about why overwork can ruin you, but the topic in itself deserves
another book. Come to think of it, I have already written two that cover the topic quite well. But, instead, let me
recommend Richard Koch’s The 80/20 Principle (Doubleday, 1998), which will teach you the secrets to
achieving much more impressive results with much less effort.
You'll never succeed in idealizing hard work. Before you can
dig mother earth you've got to take off your ideal jacket. The harder a man works, at brute labour, the
thinner becomes his idealism, the darker his mind.
- D. H. Lawrence
Suffice it to say that, regardless of your field of endeavor, creativity ultimately produces the
biggest payoffs. Although both creative effort and hard work require action, the
former is at the heart of real success without a real job. The latter has been known to lead to nervous twitching,
heart attacks, and dubious results.
A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man
thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can't think of
anything else to do.
- W. H.
More Quotes about Hard Work to Put the
Protestant Work Ethic in Perspective
The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.
- Bruce Lee
Know the moment when to work diligently.
Even more important, know the moment when not to work, but to relax and play instead.
This will not only benefit you immensely, but also will astonish your friends and competitors.
- from The Lazy Person's Guide to Success
Hard work is doing what you don’t want to do . . . The way to operate with integrity is to do
what you want, to do what you enjoy.
- Phil Laut, Author/Financial Expert
Sometimes I get an irresistible urge to work hard like everyone else, but I just lie down until
the feeling goes away, and then I'm okay.
- Cartoon caption in Career Success WITHOUT a Real Job
Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve
hours a day.
- Robert Frost
He worked like hell in the country so he could live in the city, where he worked like hell so
he could live in the country.
- Don Marquis
The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern
world has no need of slavery.
- Bertrand Russell
Work is what they try to con you to do so that you will have the money to be able to buy what
they try to con you to think you want.
- Unknown wise person
More men are killed by overwork than the importance of the world justifies.
- Rudyard Kipling
It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.
- William of Occam
One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the
belief that one's work is terribly important.
- Bertrand Russell
Few people do business well who do nothing else.
- Lord Chesterfield
They intoxicate themselves with work so they won't see how they really are.
- Aldous Huxley
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy - and Jill a wealthy
- Evan Esar
A considerable number of persons are able to protect themselves against the outbreak of serious
neurotic phenomena only through intense work.
- Karl Abraham
Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do.
- Oscar Wilde
The Protestant work ethic is so deeply engrained in everyone, of all religions and none, that
we need to make a conscious effort to extirpate it . . . . Hard work leads to low returns. Insight and doing
what we ourselves want lead to high returns.
- Richard Koch
You'll never succeed in idealizing hard work. Before you can dig mother earth you've got to
take off your ideal jacket. The harder a man works, at brute labour, the thinner becomes his idealism, the
darker his mind.
- D. H. Lawrence
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