Does a Good Work Ethic Pay?

bob with bad work ethic

Meet Bob. He has a bad work ethic. Bob is lazy. Bob rarely finishes his work on time (if at all) and he still gets out of the office early every day (that’s probably why he’s so happy). Bob has been here for a year longer than the rest of us, so he has seniority and makes more money than we do. “I work hard, come in early, and stay late. My work is always done ahead of time and my boss just keeps piling more and more work on my desk. I don’t have seniority, so I don’t make as much money as I would like. Why should I bother sticking to a good work ethic, if I’m only punished by my more work, and Bob just gets rewarded?”

Does this scenario sound familiar? We all know Bob, or some version of him. It’s frustrating. The harder we work, the more we are punished. Or are we?

Sure at first glance, it may appear as if Bob leads a charmed life, and you are destined for a life of servitude. But maybe that’s not entirely true.

  • It’s possible that Bob receives less work because he’s not good at his job. Whereas, you the hard worker, takes on a bigger work load. Why? Because your employer trusts that you can get the job done. You have proven yourself dependable therefore, your employer knows you are the go to person.
  • Every assignment that your employer trusts you to complete is a stepping stone to promotion. The more you work, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more promotable you become. Bob is not promotable. There is a reason he is in the same position, year after year.
  • Bob gets to leave the office early, while you stay late. Why? If Bob doesn’t do his job well, why would your employer pay him to stay late? Employers would rather pay overtime to those who are willing to actually work overtime.

Do you have a good work ethic?

Having a good work ethic boils down to a few key points.

1. Integrity- Can your employer trust you to do the right thing, regardless of the situation?

2. Quality of Work- Do you consistently do the best job you can with what you have available?

3. Dependability- Does your employer know that they can count on you each and every time to complete the task assigned.

4. Accountability- Do you hold yourself accountable for your work? Owning up to your mistakes is a big part of building trust with your boss.

All of these are part of a good work ethic, and most importantly they show your employer he or she can trust you.

“There may be people who have more talent than you, but there is no excuse for anyone working harder than you”- Derek Jeter

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Honestly Mag's staff is made up of all sorts of people; from Millennials to Gen Xers to Baby Boomers, we have all different kinds of perspective of life at work.