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Work is Hard

Work is hard.

Don’t take my word for it.  Look at the vast number of books, articles, blogs, and software tools that are designed to make work easier.  Tim Ferris even wrote a highly influential book titled The Four-Hour Work Week.

If work was not hard, why would you want to reduce it to only four hours?

Work is Hard

While many parts of work can be fun, gratifying, and should be profitable, in general work is hard.  Work is hard because of what comes along with work, and the sooner we understand that the nature of work is hard, the sooner we will see how we can be successful at work.

  1. Responsibility. Work is synonymous with responsibility.  To work means you have accepted being responsible for something—each job is unique, but work means that someone, something, somewhere is dependent on you doing your work.
  2. Production. Work is hard because it is a tradeoff for remuneration.  You get paid for working.  Some get paid a lot, many get paid a little, but in the Western world, we are all free to take on work and agree to what we are to be paid for that work.
  3. Commitment to Others. In addition to simple responsibility, work causes a commitment to others who need our work.  We may have patients, customers, or coworkers who need us to commit to doing our share of the work and to do that work up to a certain quality standard.
  4. Involves Others – Relationships. When we work, it is hard because we cannot get away from other people.  We need others, and they need us when we work.  We develop relationships through work that have nothing to do with our work.

We go to coffee shops and share stories about family and work, we attend school functions to meet with friends, and we develop compatriots who we like to spend time with.  While this does not sound onerous, it is, however, a necessary function of work and occurs because of work.  Without work, these situations would not exist.

  1. Becomes a Grind. The long-term issue with work is that it has the potential of becoming a grind.  Doing the same thing, day-in-day-out is tedious and can impede working well, being creative, and can, if not managed properly, cause health problems.

How to be Successful when Work is Hard

These are many steps you can take in addition to acknowledging work is hard, that will allow you to be successful at work.

  1. Work is a challenge to be solved. See work as something you get to do, something you get to solve, and something you get to add to.
  2. Don’t work in isolation. Seek out peers and associates to share problems and successes.
  3. Don’t be “busy.” Busyness is not work; it is counterproductive and is to be avoided at all costs.
  4. Have goals. Goals do not have to be high aspirational, but everyone needs to have goals to give them direction in their jobs.
  5. If you suspect you see work as a grind, get help.

The Bible

Three of the five reasons work is hard is because of it’s relational to other people.  Work is hard because of the responsibilities for other people, the commitment to other people, and the intimate relationships with other people.

Ephesians 4:2-3 says.

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There is no better way to approach the relationships that make work hard than with humility and gentleness.

With regard to the responsibilities that come with work, Galatians 6:4-5 says

But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.  For each will have to bear his own load.

The Bible points out that our responsibilities are ours to bear, and while we have God to lean on in meeting those responsibilities, we still have to bear our own load.

Finally, work being a grind is addressed in Isaiah 40:31.

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Work is hard.  From the Bible, we know Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and, as punishment, God declared work to be hard.  But that does not mean He did not provide care and advice for those who work.  Work is still hard today, and all the advice from the Bible is still good today.