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There’s an important difference between working hard and working smart. In the first case, it’s possible to extend huge amounts of effort that, in the end, net you absolutely nothing. In the second case, your odds of being rewarded for your efforts are vastly improved. Working hard does not always pay off; the following four examples will are proof positive of that fact.
- You Don’t Like Your Job, the Work You, and/or the People You Work With
Walking into work every day with enthusiasm for what you do makes all of your efforts well worth it. On the other hand, dreading what you do or having no real stake in it renders it pointless. At the end of the day, you should feel fulfilled and optimistic about the work that you have completed. That feeling, in and of itself, is highly beneficial. Most of the time, it pays off in spades in the form of promotions, advancements and increased income.
- You Don’t Believe in What You Do/You Don't Share the Company Vision
Do you ever find yourself belittling the work that you do? If so, you probably don’t believe in it very much. If you’re of the mentality that it’s just a way to bring home a paycheck, you’re doing things the wrong way. You should believe in the mission that’s behind the work that you do. That way, you’ll work harder to achieve it and will be proud about what you accomplish. All of the hard work in the world can’t make up for being unenthusiastic about your job.
- You’re Stuck in a Frustrating Go-Nowhere Job
If your job is nothing more than an endless, repetitive loop with no end – or promotions – in sight, why put forth extra effort on it? Working harder won’t free you from such an interminable situation. If you’re not careful, you could end up being one of those people who’s dedicated the best years of their life to a job that, in the end, has produced no real value. Be mindful of how much effort you extend; pay attention to whether or not it’s actually getting you anywhere. If it’s not, you might want to jump ship sooner rather than later.
- You’re Working on the Wrong Things at the Wrong Times
When you work on innovations and improvements, it’s easy to put forth a ton of extra effort. After all, you’ll get to see your ideas come to fruition. Working on mindless tasks that don’t produce any added value, though, can drain the life out of you. Furthermore, extending extra effort on idle tasks won’t net you any positive benefits in the long run. Look for work that inspires you and that allows you to be innovative and proactive – your hard work will pay off enormously in such cases.