Work Hard, or Hardly Work?

I have a fairly good work ethic.  Stop laughing, I really do.  I believe any job worth doing should be done well.

Let me explain.

I’m almost 40.  I’ve held a variety of jobs in the many years since I became a Contributing Member of Society – a deli worker, bartender, barista, interpreter, aide, and even a pizza delivery guy.  That’s just to name a few.  And looking back, I have stressed out over every single one of these positions.  I’ve made myself sick over them.  I’ve broken out in hives, rashes, lost sleep, and even threw out my back on several occasions.  And for what?

I know what you’re thinking.  “Boo hoo, Sean, that’s why it’s called work.  Suck it up and deal with it.”  But the question is: Should we have to?

I currently work as a supervisor for an independently-owned burger restaurant.  It’s a great job.  One of the more pleasing aspects about this job is that the owners truly want their employees to have fun on the job.  Yes, fun.  Even if we’re running ragged or mopping the floor, they’d like for our experience to be an enjoyable one.  And I like that.

So why, then, have I been letting myself get stressed out?  I was finding myself becoming unnecessarily frustrated.  There never seemed to be enough coverage.  The work of four people was expected to be done by two.  I had gotten to a point when, one day, I literally stopped what I was doing, looked up and asked the heavens: “What am I doing?  Should work really be this hard?”

Look, I’m not naive.  I understand their are jobs out there that require hard work.  I certainly wouldn’t want a doctor who breezed through his job like a little girl skipping through a field of daisies, or a lawyer who just barely passed the bar.  There are exceptions, of this I’m aware.

But I do feel it’s important that I adhere to a new philosophy, and it is this: Earning a living should never mean giving in to the pressure.

So I pose to you a question: Should work be hard?  Does it need to be stressful, overwhelming and backbreaking?  It is, after all, called work.  Is it okay for work to be – gasp! – fun?  I’m not saying we should be lazy.  Heck no.  Believe me, there is nothing worse than having to pick up the slack of a lazy co-worker.  But I do believe great work and hard work should be two very different things.  As an aspiring writer, I don’t want what I create to have been extracted from me like teeth with pliers.  No.  I want to enjoy the process.  If I don’t, then why bother?

P.S. tip your pizza delivery guys!  If anyone deserves a tip, it’s them.



2 thoughts on “Work Hard, or Hardly Work?

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  1. I think work can definitely be fun. I had a job in an office one time and we always kept it upbeat and fun, but when we had to get down to business, we all pulled together and did it. Nothing wrong at all with having fun as long as the job gets done. However, I’m like you. I tend to stress over everything. Great post.

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