Work Ethic in the Workplace: Doing More Than is Expected Each Day
I’m writing a new book about rethinking the work ethic, and in the course of my research I’ve been speaking to people from all walks of life about what this means to them. Today I spoke with a small business owner who shared his experiences as a college student working in London during the 1980s.
He had been hired by Harrod’s department store to work in the stockroom. Wishing to do his best and to please his supervisor he arrived a few minutes early each day and quickly got to work. After a couple of days one of the other stock clerks took him aside and suggested that he slow down a bit. He explained that once management realizes you can work faster and more efficiently than had been done previously, this becomes the new expectation for everyone.
I had similar experiences as a new teacher, where several other teachers were quite vocal about my willingness to do so much for the children. They told me that I was going to make them look bad if I continued to do so much, both in the classroom and on my own time. I’m sorry to say that I succumbed to their demands and soon settled in to doing only what was necessary and required of me the majority of the time.
Years later I regret that decision and choice. Now I’m more mature and better able to handle bullying and negativity from other adults. I wonder how many other teachers did less than they could have at that school for similar reasons. If only we’d had the courage to stand up to what was probably the minority of teachers who only did what they had to each day. What a different experience teaching would have been and the results could have been life changing for the students who passed through our doors during those years.
It was only years later, at the final school I taught out before resigning from the school district that I found my voice and did what I knew was best for everyone. Even though I left the teaching profession on a high note, I spent many years in mediocrity because of my inaction.
I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic of work ethic in the workplace. And look for my new book to be published in the spring of 2017.