Why we don’t work

Aug 7, 2010 by

Opportunity is missed by most people because
it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
–Thomas Edison

I recently went on vacation to Mexico.  It wasn’t my first choice of places to go, but my wife wanted to get away and “just lay by a pool”.  So we did.   We went to Cabo,  we stayed at a beautiful resort, and we laid by a pool.

I hated it.


OK, I didn’t “hate it” hate it, but I was bored out of my mind immediately.  I made the conscious decision to not bring my laptop and not work while I as there.  I decided I would be present in the moment, and take the time to do nothing and just recharge my batteries.  Turns out my batteries don’t recharge when I’m doing nothing.

My batteries charge up when I am doing what I love, and I love to work.  I love building things.  I love fixing things.  I love finding simple solutions to complicated problems.  I love working with smart creative passionate people all day and then coming home getting my hands greasy tearing apart an engine in my garage.  I love remodeling my house.  I love taking something old and restoring it to new. I love growing food in my garden. And  I love being inspired by others doing great work.

Work and our view of work has gotten a bad name in our culture.  A lot of people don’t want to work.  There’s a thousand get rich schemes out there, and lately the “start your own business and work from anywhere” fad has caught on and promises freedoms to travel the world and work only 4 hours a week.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like Tim Ferriss and I love the idea of ROWE.  Our 2010 idea of work needs to catch up and move past the old industrialized history it still holds on to, but we still need to do great work.

We should want to work hard.  We should take pride in the work we are doing.   We should try to do the best job we could in every job we do.  How and where we do this work is negotiable and its not the point. The point is the ethic of work.  Its the satisfaction of knowing you gave your all into the project.  Its the pride of seeing the job completed and enjoying the fruits of your labor.  No where in our culture is that message being said or taught.

We need to get back to the idea that work is good.  Everyone should take pride in working hard at something and then should also enjoy the results of that work.

What I’m not saying is that everyone should work 100 hours a week, sacrificing time with family and friends to make more money. You’ll notice that nowhere above did I mention making money.  Work isn’t about money.   Work is about creating something great.  You may be a farmer, a CEO of some high tech company or someone who makes candles out of their garage.  The point is to make the best product you can and enjoy the work you are doing.

This wonderful TED video of Mike Rowe from the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs inspired this post.  I highly recommend watching it.  Mike knows how to tell a story.

What do you think of work?  Love it, hate it?  Let me know in the comments


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