Last Updated
Monday 22 September 2014, 07:00 am.
Professional pride - do your job well or get out

Genesis 3:17-19: "...cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground..." In other words: we have to work to make a living. And apparently, it's not supposed to be easy. So be it.
By Ferdinand Berkhof Mon 07 Oct 2013, 17:54 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Professional pride - do your job well or get out








The world of work. Most of us make a living by working for others, be it in private companies, government organisations or by securing piece jobs. Even when we are 'self-employed', we have to work to survive. And to survive well we have to work hard.

So far so good. But what is our attitude towards the world of work, towards our employers, our supervisors, towards our job? Try to do business at a government department on a Monday morning and you will meet grumpy, uncooperative and completely disinterested workers, who are still recovering from the weekend. Come back on a Friday after two o'clock and you will be told that the officer you are looking for 'hasn't returned from lunch yet'. If you are inexperienced enough, you will keep waiting, only to find out the officer will never return until the next Monday, when you will be dealing with the 'weekend syndrome' again.

The private sector is not different. Go into any small shop in your town or village and unless you're very lucky, you'll find a shop attendant grudgingly opening her eyes, giving you a very dirty look and asking: "o batla eng?" How dare you disturb me? I'm here but that doesn't mean I want to, or that you should be here. All I'm waiting for is my month-end paycheque. Go away. The phrase: 'always give a 100% at work' seems to mean: 12% on Monday, 23% on Tuesday, 40% on Wednesday, 20% on Thursday and definitely not more than 5% on Friday.

All these 'working' people get paid at the end of the month. Nobody has forced them to accept that particular job. But still, there is absolutely nothing showing they want to be there. Through the level of service they provide, they actually vehemently advertise: 'I don't want to be here!' Well, if you don't want to be there, get out! Because in the process, you're damaging your employer's business or organisation, you're chasing customers and clients away and, most importantly, you're ruining your sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

The world of work? In my honest and not-so-humble opinion, it's all about professional pride; taking pride in yourself and in what you do, whatever it is. I've had quite a few jobs in my life. Europe is not always quite the paradise people think it is. While holding a Master's Degree, I've been washing dishes in hospital kitchens, driving forklift trucks in warehouses and working nightshifts in several factories. Pure blue-collar work while holding very white-collar degrees. But I've always done every job to the very best of my abilities. Not for the management, not for my supervisors, but for myself, just to maintain a sense of self esteem, knowing I gave it my best.

People always complain about their workplace. I've experienced that around the world. They complain about the bosses, the management and about how they have to work too much for too little money. You know what? If you don't like it, leave! In today's economic situation, there are probably hundreds of people who would kill to get the terrible job you have right now and make a living.

But instead, why not make the best of it? Rather than looking at your job as something you do for your employer, look at it as something that is representing you. At the end of the day, what you have produced reflects on you, shows what and who you are. No matter how much you hate the work, as long as you're there, that job is an extension of you. So why not do it to the best of your abilities? No matter how much the job is 'below your level'; if you do it as well as you can, it will make you feel better about yourself and boost your self-respect. Do it well, just for the sake of doing it well and I promise you that you'll appreciate your paycheque more.



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