When I lived in California, I worked with Shelly, who has been the inspiration for some of my other posts. One night at the bar, she told me she thought that I had a horrible work ethic. I’ve never quite been able to forgive her for this.
I’ve mentioned my old job on here a couple times – most notably when I felt the giant rush of relief when I realized I could support myself and pay for school if things got too bad. I hated that job, but I don’t think it was my work ethic that was the problem. There was literally no work for me to do, and that frustrated me more than anything. By the end, when I was grinding through my last semester of grad school, my motivation at work had dropped to zero, so I stopped even seeking out additional tasks.
Truthfully, when I got my new job, I worried that Shelly was right. That, either out of habit or because of a deep ingrained laziness or just due to a lack of intelligence, I would fail to perform.
I still worried after the first few months. When you’re working with complex systems, different parts of which require some specialized knowledge in multiple different technical disciplines, it takes a while to come up to speed. What’s more, my group is filled with people who are close to or past retirement age, people who have been working in this industry literally longer than I’ve been alive. That kind of gap is insurmountable.
I lucked out, though, because all of my coworkers have been willing to teach me and have been very encouraging even when I just can’t grasp a concept. My boss assigned me to a bunch of projects where I’ll be able to learn and grow.
And I work. Hard.
I’ve woken up at 4am to get in for activities at 5am, staying at work for 12 hours straight because after the last meeting of the day, I want to go back to my desk and finish working on one task or another. I’ve discovered that I hate leaving projects unfinished. I’ve discovered that I actually have a really great work ethic. And I think maybe in 30 years I’ll be the one with the insurmountable advantage of experience.
… Also, I think I should not be friends with Shelly anymore. She’s kind of a bitch.