'What's your work ethic?

'What's your work ethic?

'I love my job, it's the work I hate,' goes a clever quip. It brings a smile to one's face, but none can deny that it reflects certain serious aspects as well.

My sister, who suffers from chronic back-pain, was told of a doctor who could offer her some relief. It was with difficulty that she reached his clinic and it took her time to enter his office. What greeted her was a loud shout. It was the doctor demanding to know whether she wanted the mosquitoes she was letting in, eat him up.

She then heard him continuing his harangue with another patient he was treating. It was clear that this person was one who loved his job but hated the work it involved. His behaviour appalled my sister who came away without consulting him. On the other hand, consider this case of a watchman attached to a particular building. Short and gnome-like, he does not cut a flattering figure, but he seems to have his heart in the right place.

He not only attends to his duties but also goes beyond this by helping others and keeping an eye on the status of a largely neglected park situated opposite. He does all this voluntarily and is highly esteemed for this. Clearly he is a person who values both his job and his work.

There are several reasons why one may love one's job but hate the work. The most obvious of course is sheer laziness. Such people enjoy the rewards a job brings, but habitually ignore the responsibilities that come with it. There is a second category that develops indifference because these people are secure regarding their power and position. A third set are those who are efficient but filled with pride. They do not hesitate to humiliate others and treat them with scant respect. All of them, it can be seen, lack what can be termed a work ethic.

Work ethic implies cherishing both your job and your work. Work done in a slap-dash manner brings disappointment not only to others but, in time, to one's own self. If we do anything at all, we should do it with enthusiasm, sincerity and compassion. Here without doubt lies the highway to success and happiness.

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