Work Ethic Time Warp

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“It’s just a jump to the left…”

–  Lyric from The Time Warp, from Rocky Horror Picture Show, circa 1975

“As if caught in a time warp, real employers with real companies are looking for workers to do real jobs.”

–  Daniel Henninger in an editorial from the WSJ under the headline “Is The Work Ethic Dying?”  (May 12, 2021) 

This post is not a political commentary.  Did I chuckle to myself with the Time Warp lyric?  Yes.  Yes, I did.  But this isn’t about left and right, even though Henninger’s editorial “goes there.”

This post is about work ethic.  It’s about jobs.

As Henninger points out, societal norms about what jobs should be and what work has become have shifted.  Not just work-from-home, but discussions about the importance of a four-year degree, the upswing in trade school, and community college enrollment.  There are different filters through which people view work, and it’s not just because of health and economic crisis.

All that said, there really are real employers looking for workers to do real jobs.  Real work.  What does it all mean?

In a hiring role…

We need to better define the work we’re asking people to do and connect it more clearly and completely to something bigger than the salary we’ll pay.  It’s incumbent on us to provide a really solid “Why” along with whatever the “What” is that we’re asking someone to perform.  We need to include our teams in recruiting, interviewing and selecting talent to join the team.  Culture has always mattered more than whatever is in second place, and the gap between culture and whatever’s in second place is widening.

In a job-seeking role…

We should know what kind of work is both effortless and energizing for us.  We should be able to understand and articulate the sense of accomplishment we want to feel — and if it really is just a paycheck, we should be willing to try to connect why we’re the right ones to earn that check in the context of how we’ll help the employer get the best return on their investment in us.

There is a real opportunity right now.  For those of us looking for work to do, and for those of us looking for people to do the work. We have the opportunity to connect in such a way that we provide greater value to employers and employees.

Whether that’s a jump to the left or right is insignificant.  It’s a jump forward.  And that’s the direction Difference Makers move.

 

 


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