Monday, August 9, 2010

Redefining our work ethic – as a nation and as individuals

Indira Gandhi once said, “My grandfather once told me that there are two kinds of people: those who work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was less competition there.” As today’s American work force experiences a seismic shift, I see work ethic at the root of it. And as layoffs continue to take place, it’s vital to look deeper and redefine our vision and our values.

With a changing landscape and rapid technological advancements, it’s even more important now, more than ever, to bring our attention to cultivating quality work. This video clip speaks to this need.

I believe the value of work ethic starts at home.

As a little girl, I observed my great aunt and uncle instill an unsurpassed level of work ethic in their children. At a young age, my cousins worked hard to contribute to the family unit. No lazing around the house on weekends – they were up early and out mowing acres of rolling hills in Ocala, Florida or helping out with day-to-day chores.

How different a world we life in today - we hire housekeepers to do our chores and don’t have time to mow our lawns. Children rarely have a set of regular chores, and if they do, are compensated for their work. They expect to be paid, instead of understanding it is their role as a member of the family. I’m sure Ashley and Josh didn’t jump at the opportunity to do yard work, but they did it because they respected their folks, and perhaps, feared the consequences if they didn’t. I wonder if today’s parents run the same household? From my perspective, I certainly don’t see it that way.

In today’s market, work is a privilege.

As projects pile on my plate, instead of complaining about my laundry list of “things to do”, I reflect on how fortunate I am to have meaningful work. Quinn Bommelje’s statement, “When things are going good, work harder!” truly encompasses my approach to work (and life) these days. As a nation, and individuals, we can’t ever rest on our laurels. We have to push ourselves to work harder, go further and become better than we thought was ever humanly possible. Let’s not look at this time in history as a crisis – instead see it as a crossroads to redefine ourselves.