Why Do We Value “Hard Work” In A Financial Way?

What does “Hard Work” mean to you?

I saw a story recently about a son who “worked hard” and bought his dad a truck. But what does that mean? Many people value hard work as a pathway to financial success. From an earnings standpoint though it tends to be mostly untrue.

Unpopular Opinion: Hard work doesn’t generally equal more pay

Outside of commission based jobs, most people are paid hourly or through a salary. Neither of which makes you more money for working harder.

If you want to make more money in an hourly job, you have to work longer hours. That could be considered working hard, or just requiring more of your precious time away from family and what you truly value. If you’re salary, it generally doesn’t matter how many extra hours you put in. You bring home the same pay regardless.

Some jobs require more from you physically or mentally, but pay little compared to a job less strenuous. In that instance again, “working hard” doesn’t equal more money. In fact, you’re earning less while working hard.

The promise is that being a good, hard worker can earn you raises and/or promotions which equate to more pay. But companies don’t have unlimited positions available. The higher you climb the ladder, the less likely you are to go further.

Non-Monetary Value

Some may argue the value in hard work is not the money, but the feeling of accomplishment. Maybe it’s the teamwork involved in creating what a single person can’t. Or that America was built on hard work. I’m not saying you’re wrong. That’s what hard work means to you and I’m more inclined to agree. My question is to those people who view hard work as a sign of financial well being.

Ok “smart guy”, where are you going with this?

I’m more or less just asking the question and giving reasons behind why I find it counter-intuitive. So where can working hard lead to earning more, since we live in a society requiring money to pay for most necessities?

The only solution I’ve found is self-employment. Having your own “side hustle”, building a brick and mortar store, providing a service like lawn care, all can provide you with an income only limited by how well YOU do and the amount of customers you can gain.

It’s not easy. Not at all. Being your own boss can show you how undisciplined you really are at times. To be successful you have to learn many new skills like marketing, advertising, bookkeeping on top of doing the actual work itself. Or pay someone to do these things and take the loss of income you want/need to begin with.

Anyone who’s ever tried building a side business knows the struggle. It’s HARD WORK. If you’re doing it full time, you easily put in more hours than you would for a job on a daily basis. It’s difficult to actually shut off your brain and relax when there’s always something more you can do or learn.

But if you persist through the hard times, learn the new skills you find you need and stay flexible, the promise is an earning potential only limited by YOUR ability to produce a product or service. Not your employers idea of the wage your position determines.