Skills That Require No Talent – Work Ethic

This is my second post in the series of ‘Skills That Require No Talent’. Last post, I discussed the importance of being on time. In this week’s post, I discuss Work Ethic.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 11.07.55 AM
A screen-shot of a Google Ngrams chart showing the prevalence of these two terms in books from 1900 – 2010.

Work Ethic is something that is often discussed but what does it actually mean to have ‘Work Ethic’. The term was even used in the mainstream until the mid 1950s. Strangely enough, the term is often linked to Protestants- as in ‘protestant work ethic’ – coined by the sociologist Max Weber in 1904. Weber’s thoughts were that a protestant work ethic is a moral code in which workers demonstrate their righteousness through diligence in their work.

But how might this look in 2016 and beyond. These days, work is often more (or less in some perspectives) than a calling and more of an ability to be useful. Since the Industrial era, man has been able to improve his/her social status through usefulness and strong work ethic; climbing the ladder and driving his/her own destiny and success.

We also have the added conflict of’ finding balance’ and ‘slowing down’. Does ‘climbing the ladder of success’ mean that we need to spend endless hours at work?  How does one ‘climb the ladder’ and keep a healthy work-life balance?

Whitmore (2015) suggests here that work ethic is developed through 7 elements: professionalism (including your dress), respectfulness (grace under pressure), dependability (and stability), dedication (aim for ‘outstanding’), determination (solve problems), accountability (take responsibility) and humility (acknowledge others). These require no extra time on a worker’s part. Others (Jenkins, 2016; Young, 2016) mention integrity, discipline and persistence.

Let’s keep the conversation going. What are the most important factors of work ethic for you?



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