I’ve always maintained the idea that it’s best to not take pride in your work.
This is a quote I stated in a recent interview I completed for the Lift App Author Series. I want to outline the meaning of this quote and explain exactly why I think that the idea of taking pride in your work is so often over-embellished and troubling for those who need to simply sit back, relax and do the work, instead of getting cocky or worrying about something that you probably won’t care about at all in the future.
Why is taking pride in your work not the best of ideas?
You Won’t Get Anything Done
I’ve always maintained the idea that taking too much pride in your work leads to perfectionism and a mindset that everything must end up flawless. I haven’t experienced as much as others, but I’ve been through college, traveled to a few other continents and held maybe ten or fifteen jobs ever since I started my paper route back in grade school.
No one cares that you put in that extra 10 percent to add some details that only you notice. Even in school, if I stayed up an hour longer and crammed in a few more lines in my business law-book it wouldn’t change the result much on test day.
In my Lift interview I talk about a few of my idols, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park who produce each episode in six days. Think about that. A half an hour show usually takes a few months to create and they complete it in six days. It makes my laugh at my own work ethic, but they always say that they could certainly put in more time, but no one is going to notice the extra 15 percent.
You Stress Yourself Out
Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is home because she figured out a faster way.
Jason Fried – Rework
I’ve always laughed at those who stick around until 11pm, sitting at their office and trying to figure out the meaning to life. The answers certainly aren’t in a computer screen while everyone else is at home enjoying time with family and friends.
When you start to take too much pride in your work you forget about what matters most: People. Sure, I enjoy writing, and like to hammer out quite a few words everyday, but it’s not what I live for. It’s not what I would call fun at all times. Writing is work, and if I turned it into something more important than people, I would stress myself out and turn into someone I hate.
You Make Yourself Look Silly
At my old job there was a manager who would spend about two hours throughout the morning staring at her email and clacking away. It usually resulted in a novel sent to the entire company about something no really cared about — cleaning up our desks on the previous Friday or some crap like that. Everyone in the office took bets on the length of each morning email.
I’m not one to gang up on others, but people who work too hard are usually the ones that are working on the wrong things. Pride is different in everyone’s mind, but that’s why just skipping out on the pride is so important. If you just complete your job and think nothing of it, there is a mountain of respect waiting for you. Why? Because everyone works. You don’t deserve an extra pat on the back.
You End Up Taking Life Way Too Seriously
Life is supposed to feel fun, not tedious and superficial. A battle towards recognition and status can’t seriously quench any type of thirst you have. Punch the clock at a reasonable hour and laugh at your mistakes. Look back and enjoy the fact that you didn’t put in those extra hours, because you had a chance to use that time with people you enjoy.
Let me know in the comments section what you think about it when you take pride in your work. Is there a way to avoid these downfalls without having to sacrifice that “pride” we hold so dear with our work? Is pride really all that important? Isn’t it OK to just be satisfied with the work we do and move on?
Photo Credit: jumpinjimmyjava from flickr