“Just work harder.”
For so long, those of us in the U.S. have been taught that this is the answer to all our problems.
Not making enough?
Just work harder and earn more.
Don’t like your job?
Just work harder to earn a new position.
Don’t have enough to pay rent?
But “working harder” doesn’t work anymore. Working harder worked when we leveraged physical activity for money:
- Show up in the office and punch a clock, you get paid.
- Show up to the factory and push a button or pull a lever, you get paid.
- Show up to work and dig a ditch, you get paid.
- Show up work and make 100 phone calls, you get paid.
Most of us don’t work this way anymore.
Most of us leverage knowledge to do our work.
Most of our work isn’t quantifiable in the same sense.
“Just work harder” is dying a slow death because it’s comfortable. Easy to understand. Simple.
Make more widgets.
Make more calls.
Spend more time in your seat.
Push more buttons.
Pull more levers.
But you can work ceaselessly and still not have enough money to pay your rent.
What’s required now is a complete rethinking of how and when and why we work. It’s about finding the right things to do, in the right quantities, for the right people, at the right time.
It’s complex and scary and FASCINATING, all at the same time. It requires a massive amount of personal responsibility to take charge of one’s own career.
Some will rise to the occasion and chart a path for themselves that didn’t exist 50, 25, or even 5 years ago.
Some will leverage what’s in their mind through code or media.
Some will literally change the world by doing in minutes what used to take 10 lifetimes to complete.
But most will opt to “just work harder.”