Work Ethic and Competitiveness

One of the things about Midwestern people that people find they like is their work ethic.  Midwesterners were farmers that broke the prairies.  That hardscrabble work ethic is ingrained in their DNA.  Former football commentator John Madden would describe them as “lunch bucket people”.

When I got out of college I had a great boss.  The first year on the job, we were having one of our breakfasts.  He asked me what I was doing for President’s Day.  I told him I didn’t know.  He said, “We work on President’s Day in our company.”  Later in my career when I was trading, the markets were open on the day after Thanksgiving.  They were open on December 24th and December 31st and January 2nd.  If you had positions, you had to be there. If you didn’t have positions, there were sometimes outsize opportunities and you could take advantage, so you had to be there.

My youngest daughter Caroline says “#adultingishard”.  One of the things you realize is that the days off you got in school don’t directly transfer to days off in the real world.  The only mandatory days off are Jan 1, Dec 25, Thanksgiving, New Years Day, and if you are in the US; Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.

Of course, things are a bit different now with connectivity.  I was talking to a person that runs their own business the other day and they said, “I don’t know how you did sales or anything without a cell phone.”  Technology makes things run smoother and quicker.  We used to do financial reporting without Excel.  Imagine that.   It also seems to make it harder to break away since you are always tethered.

Hence, there are a lot of posts out there on work/life balance.

I am all for work/life balance.  I can see how people get burned out.  I think we need to lead with emotional intelligence. At the same time, I see a lot of wimpiness and excuse making.  Andy Swan is a friend of mine who I love following on social media.  His posts get me fired up.  Lately, he has been posting a lot about “competition” and being competitive.  A couple of years ago he was posting about the “#WinZone”.   I turned one of his tweetstorms into a Twitter moment.  Here it is.