Better, Not Harder

I was in the post office this morning, mailing bottles of Blue Penguin soda to friends and clients. For once, I had to answer “yes” to the question, “Is there anything hazardous, fragile, liquid or perishable inside?,” so the woman behind the counter and I had plenty of time to chat.

She’d seen me in there many times before, and asked me what kind of work I did.  I told her, and then she said, “I guess when you work for yourself you have to work extra hard.”

“Nah,” I said. “Just another myth.”

I believed in the myth before I went out on my own.  In fact, I was certain that in exchange for doing my own thing, working closer to home, etc., I’d have to work twice as hard to make as much money.

Never happened.  I worked about the same amount and with the same effort after I left, and even now — seven+ years later — it doesn’t feel much different.

I think it’s true that most people work about as hard as they want to.  As for the amount of money that comes, I’m more convinced than ever that it is completely unrelated to effort.

2 thoughts on “Better, Not Harder

  1. William Davenport

    We work as hard, but we get more results in the time we work.
    No two hour meetings about stuff other people deem important.
    No long counseling sessions helping one of your workmates deal with another break-up with another boyfriend.
    No time spent listening to people tell you about their vacation, new baby, latest movie review.
    Don’t get me wrong, I still go to meetings, I still offer counsel about the latest break-up, I still listen to the latest joke or movie review and look at the new baby pictures, but all the people telling me those things are people I’m building a business relationship (and friendship in some cases) with. So that time is a good investment that will come back to benefit me later.
    I figure that during a standard work day, working for myself, I gain back 20-25% of the time that was lost (wasted) when working as a hired hand.

  2. Michael Katz

    I agree William. I also find that working solo, while sometimes overwhelming, is incredibly efficient. It’s amazing how much time you save by not having to communicate with another human being!


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