Posts tagged " work ethic "

Help! I Don’t Have a Work Ethic.

January 1st, 2019 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 13 comments

I am struggling with my work ethic. I have trouble keeping jobs as I easily give up when work becomes challenging or tedious, eventually leading to quitting or getting fired.

Pop culture is telling me that I haven’t found my passion, but that advice seems dubious. I’m sure I can trace this to my upbringing, but I’m more interested in what I can do today to break this cycle and instill a work ethic in myself.

Or do I just need to find work that is more “interesting” to me?



Dear David,

We must congratulate you on being honest with yourself. Many people would direct their energies towards complaining about unfair bosses or miserable work conditions. You show great character by recognizing that your repeated employment failures are attributable to a flaw in you.

We’re also impressed by your skepticism about the message you’ve been receiving from the culture around you.

Furthermore, you have made a clever decision to focus on breaking this cycle rather than spending time and energy tracing it back to your childhood. You recognize that waiting to discover your passion isn’t a feasible plan, in effect answering your own question.

Leaving aside luck, acts of God and genetics, 90% of everything that happens in your life is the result of things you have done or not done.  This is particularly true in our business and financial lives.  Now is a really good time to stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right ones.


I Do It

March 29th, 2011 Posted by Susan's Musings 2 comments

Kathrene Pinkerton was a prolific, 20th century writer of both fiction and non-fiction books. In Three’s a Crew she tells her own story, including how she and her husband managed during the Depression years. She speaks of organizing an artisan’s co-op and how, by banding together, the participants generated more income than they were able to rustle up on their own. Her frustration jumps off the page as she writes of the co-op’s demise as government assistance became available. The co-op participants’ motivation for working hard eroded as they, perhaps even sub-consciously, felt less dependent on their own actions.

I re-read Three’s a Crew while spending time with my two year old granddaughter recently, and like many toddlers her favorite expression is, “I do it.” Whether the task is one she can accomplish, like getting into her chair by herself, or whether it is beyond her capabilities, such as getting herself one hundred percent dressed, her first instinct is to be self-sufficient.

I can scoop her up and carry her up the stairs in a quarter of the time it takes for her to get upstairs herself. (On the other hand, by sliding on her stomach like an otter, she gets downstairs in half the time it takes me).  I can put her shoes on the correct feet the first time and when she helps unload the dishwasher it becomes a prolonged activity rather than a quickly accomplished task.

Children seem to be born with industrious souls. If we could harness the accumulated energy of infants and toddlers, there would be no energy crisis. Unfortunately, we often treat that energy as a nuisance and tamp it down. Wouldn’t it be smarter to encourage children’s spirited attitude? Unfortunately, the required environment actually runs counter to current culture.  It is difficult to find non-electronic or battery operated toys which promote imagination; it is a struggle to provide unhurried, unscheduled hours with time for children to learn skills and participate in family tasks.

Admittedly, it is a stretch to draw an analogy from Kathrene Peterson’s Depression year experiences to interacting with children. Nevertheless, I do think it worthwhile to remember how easy it is to extinguish a ‘can do’ spirit and how the human soul intrinsically values being productive, capable and independent. 

Sign up to receive our AAJC newsletter and our free weekly teachings!

Sign Up Now!

Follow AAJC on its new Facebook Page!