Career Watch: The Benefits of Hard Work

Hard work just might be the secret ingredient for career success; plus, watch those typos in your resume.

By Jamie Eckle
Mon, October 19, 2009

ComputerworldIn this Q&A with Computerworld, Jon Gordon, the author of Training Camp: What the Best Do Better Than Everyone Else says the secret to success might be as simple as hard work.

Computerworld: I've read a lot of prescriptions for success, but these days you don't hear much about hard work. It's certainly a factor, but is it really the preeminent qualification for success?

Jon Gordon: I really believe it is. Innovation doesn't happen without hard work. Producing a great product or service doesn't happen without hard work. Real leadership happens in the trenches, not on the golf course. Software doesn't get produced without thousands of hours of hard work. Of course, you have to be smart, you have to have the right strategy, you have to have a great culture. But hard work is what translates vision and ideas into results. Study the best of the best and you'll find that they really do work harder than everyone else.

A lot of people think hard work goes unnoticed, and that it just makes you a drudge. How do you make sure your boss sees the extra stuff you do?

I have found that when you work hard, people notice. Maybe not right away, but eventually people notice, and rewards happen without you pushing for them. They naturally come your way.

The key is to do your best every day and strive for excellence in all that you do. If you are working hard and looking for the reward, this usually creates a neediness that stops others from rewarding you. Rewards come to those who are humble and hungry—humble in that you are striving to learn, grow and improve every day, and hungry with a passion to be your best and bring out the best in others.

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* Bad work habits can hold you back in tough times

* Coping with the recession

When you make excellence your focus, success and rewards are just a nice byproduct. The reward is in the work, not in the outcome.

What about the advice to work smarter, not harder?

You definitely need to work smarter, too. But work smarter and harder. They go together. It's true that by working smarter and being more productive with your time, you may not have to work as hard to enjoy your current level of success. But if you want to be more successful or rise to the top of your field, then "smarter, not harder" won't do. Those who adopt the motto of working smarter, not harder, will eventually be left in the dust by the competition. The best are always striving to get better. They are always pushing themselves beyond their comfort zone. They are always innovating and improving.

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