Working long vs Working hard

October 23, 2019

Working long refers to clocking in 14 hours a day at work. There has always been a notion that working long hours is required to succeed. But does working long hours necessarily mean we will ‘make it’?

It is commonly misconceived that working longer means we are working harder. However, the ability to work hard requires a strong skill set including, creativity, problem-solving and the ability to put things into perspective.

Seth Godin gives a great, simple example of this in his blog. He compares two workers unloading heavy boxes from two trailers. One worker gets to work on his trailer straight away and starts to haul off the boxes one at a time. Eight hours later he is done, and absolutely exhausted.The second worker considers his resources and uses his people skills to borrow a truck from the company next door. One hour later, the truck is empty.

It is easy to keep your head down and get on with your work, as long as it looks like you are working, more often than not, no questions will be asked. But, using your initiative, like the second worker in the example, means they have worked harder, they have considered how to solve this problem quickly which saves them from working long hours on a single task.

At the beginning of this blog we posed the question, does working long hours necessarily mean we will ‘make it’? Think about it, if you are the boss what type of employee would you promote? One that takes all day to complete a single task, or one that uses creative solutions to get the task done quickly? I think we all know the answer!

Hard work is frightening, the fact that it is hard means that there is the risk of failure. If you can’t fit the pieces of a puzzle together you will never see the bigger picture. On the other hand, you can’t fail at long work, you show up, put in the hours, and leave.

It must be noted that working long and working hard aren’t exactly mutually exclusive. There are some roles that require you to work long hours initially. But, if you show up, work efficiently and practice, this will result in the skill to work hard. Overall, working hard takes a leap of faith.No matter how hard you try, working long will not reap the same benefits.

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