A strong work ethic is a valuable thing. It is what drives us to succeed, what motivates us to go back to the grind day in and day out, the guiding factor in getting our butts out of bed in the morning and the thing that carries us through life in general. After all, one can’t get very far without it. But where does having a good work ethic come from? Why do some people work themselves silly while others are content to coast on by?
Some people would argue that it is taught in school, and maybe it is. You can certainly see the differences between those who have it and those who don’t at almost every stage of education. In kindergarten there are the kids who use every tool in the craft arsenal from glitter to feathers and make macaroni art that would make Da Vinci take a bow, then there are the ones in the corner eating paste. In High school there are the class presidents and the kid who doodles in place of notes and never has any idea what the teacher just said. In university there are those who strive for perfection and then there are those who go on pub crawls every other night and make “C’s get degrees” their mantra.
Of course, school isn’t everything and there are others who believe that it comes from our parents. This was never made more prevalent to me than in an interview I once had where they asked me what my parents did. Because, that would tell them everything they needed to know about what kind of worker I would be…I think I deserve serious points for resisting the urge to say “my dad strangles chickens for the Colonel on the weekends”.
My opinion on the matter? Well, I think that work ethic can be developed in any manner of ways at various stages of one’s life…but I do like to think that I had a handle on it from a pretty young age. One summer my mom introduced me to the world of gardening and what a wonderful world it is (provided you can manage to keep your plants alive and get over the whole bug situation).
We went to the local garden centre where I took great joy in picking out the very best colours for our flower selection and then we were off to begin the adventure of beautifying our front yard. I was pretty young so my mom did most of the heavy lifting and took care of the actual planting, but I did have one very important job, it was my job to supply my mom with the next plant as she was ready for them. After what must of must have seemed like ages my mom started realizing that this process was taking longer than it should. By this point she had planted an obscene number of plants, so how could there possibly be this seemingly never ending supply? Well as it turned out, we had run out of plants…I just didn’t let that stop me. Once the tray from the garden centre was empty I had started digging up the freshly planted flowers to continue handing them to her, creating a long line of empty holes trailing behind the flowers that she had been unknowingly replanting. Hey, what can I say… you give me a job to do and gosh dang it – I’m going to do it!