Monday, June 02, 2008


Ask anyone that knows me well my weaknesses, and if he or she is honest, the two things most likely to be named are as follows: 1) I am financially irresponsible/have a spending problem/fail miserably at living within my means, and/or 2) I fail to apply myself/have a crappy work ethic. These two traits rear their ugly heads in my life repeatedly, and I know that until I figure out how to tackle them, they will continue to do so.

These are certainly the two things that I dislike most about myself. Several times, I have recommitted to a budget, or some financial plan. I start listening to Dave Ramsey and I get all fired up about being debt free. But it doesn't last, and I fail. I revert back to my standard status quo-- keeping my head barely above water, when there is clearly enough money to make ends meet, but I continue pushing the ends further apart. Finding a solution to this problem is all on me... it will just take commitment and dedication and a real decision from me to make it happen. And I do believe I'm ready for that.

However, work ethic is a much more difficult problem to solve. How does one change her work ethic? I have asked this question before. Those people with a good work ethic don't know how to answer me, because for them it's just natural. The advice is usually, "well, you just do it." Oh. That's easy, right? Actually, I understand this, because I have trouble explaining something that I easily understand to someone that struggles with the idea. It just makes sense, why don't you get it? I know that's how people feel when they talk to me about working hard.

Or they love their jobs so much that it's easy. "Find what you love," they'll say. Dude, I love snacks and television. "What have you ever gotten excited about or worked hard at?" they ask. This is an interesting question, because truly, the hardest I've ever worked in my life was in law school. But even that is misleading, because, again... I didn't work that hard. Law school is not memorization and rules. It's ideas and ways of thinking, and I just got it. I just understood. But I loved it. I loved getting called on in class when I knew the answer and no one else did, because I'm just that big of a dork. I loved surprising my friends who didn't think I was all that smart because I'd played dumb for so long to make my idiot boyfriend feel less stupid. I liked irritating the Type As in my classes who studied constantly and didn't do as well as I did. That's what I liked. How do I turn that feeling into a career, I ask you?

Do I find something that I just get? Something I do well? Something that comes easily to me? Whatever it is, I haven't found it yet. But I'll keep looking.

So here's what I want to know... those of you out there with strong work ethic-- and you certainly know who you are-- any hints for me? Is it something you were born with? Something that you ever even think about? Is it borne of necessity, nurture, or nature? Can you give me some step by step instruction? Some secret motivating idea? Anything at all?


Desert Songbird said...

I wish I had some magical words to let you know how to "fix" things. The truth is, I'm highly unmotivated myself, but for some weird reason I've always applied myself 100% when it comes to working or performing a task. And not always was it something I loved; in fact, most of the time they were jobs I hated. When it came to a "career" that I could love, I never did what it took to get where I wanted to be. Whassup wid dat?

I don't have any answers, and yes, you do know that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Now how does this translate into promoting a work ethic in oneself? I have no idea. It just does. (And don't hit me for that. *grin*)

andria said...

I was so thrilled to have children so I could quit working. I loved teaching, but the idea of getting up and going to work day after day after day was too much for me.

Here's my advice: Have a kid. There's lots of snacks and television involved. Sure you gotta wipe butts and stuff, but until the kid goes to school you aren't a slave to the alarm and you pretty much make it up as you go along.

Of course sleeping late is out of the question.

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Wish I had some sage words of advice for you. I'm obviously not one to talk about career choices :) I do have a "strong" work ethic, as much as you can call it that (and I did when I worked in my former pressure-cooker job), but that was thumped into me my entire life by my parents. I come by it naturally. I'm very ordered and routine-oriented too, so that helps with the whole work flow thing. I wish I had some advice, but just wanted to say, hang in there. We all have our faults, our weaknesses, it is part of who we are and makes us all individual and special. Realizing you have these areas that might need work is a really big step. I say you can do anything you want. Of course, I don't tell myself when there's chocolate in the house *grin*

Hope things are looking better today :)

Sarah said...

I have no work ethic either, unfortunately. I've always been one of those super smart people who gets by on little spurts of hard work and then spaces out the rest of the time. I'm best when I'm multitasking. I feel like that's my groove. When I get doing something that bores me, I tend to lose my edge fast.