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Work Ethic

Definition of Work Ethic

Work ethic is a value placed on hard work and dedication and the moral benefit of work and its ability to strengthen character.

To describe someone's work ethic would be to describe a person's attitudes, feelings and beliefs about work, how well they perform the job at hand, whether they are a team player, get along with coworkers and overall give the employer value for the money they are being paid to do the job. Your attitude at work plays an important role in your productivity and job performance.

Arriving at Work On Time

One of the easiest measures of someone's attitude towards work is whether they bother to show up for work on time and ready to perform their job responsibilities. Someone who often arrives late or hung over, tired or lacking the tools required to perform on the job would be described as having a poor work ethic. Whereas someone who arrives to work early, greets fellow workers and is present at their desk, or assembly line at the start of their shift would be seen to have a good work ethic.

Self Direction

An employee who is self directed is able to perform the job without always being told what to do by the supervisor. They are able to consistently make the right decisions in their day to day activities, make few mistakes in judgement and only need minimal supervision to produce favorable results. They know what to do and when to do it. These types of workers are invaluable to a company and are likely to be hired whenever possible.

Having Initiative

An employee demonstrates initiative when they go above and beyond their job description to provide added value to the organization. They can do this by tackling a persistent problem, coming up with an idea that will reduce costs, initiating process improvements, or improving customer service. It is a way that employees can stand out and be recognized by the company often in the form of pay raises, promotion, or learning opportunities. Contributing over and above your duties and responsibilities makes your work more meaningful and satisfying and therefore you will enjoy it even more. Having the attitude that "it's not my job" will not impress your boss or your coworkers!

Positive Attitude

Nobody likes to be around someone who is negative and always complaining about their job or the company. If it really is that bad then perhaps a career move is the right solution. If not then perhaps an attitude adjustment is in order! Positive people who demonstrate a "can do" attitude are often rewarded with pay raises and promations while negative people are more likely to be overlooked making them even more despondent. Surrounding yourself with positive people can rub off on you and show you a different approach to life. Negative people see obstacles while positive people see solutions. Instead of focusing on why something won't work try approaching it from a positive standpoint, how can we make this work? how can we fix this problem? Positive people bring an energy to the workplace that can boost morale, improve productivity and make work a fun place to be.

Perform High Quality Work

It is a joint responsibility of the employer and employee to make sure you have the necessary tools and skills to perform the job at the highest level. If you feel you need additional training then you should feel OK to approach your supervisor to request it. You can also do your own homework to learn more about the industry, customers and competition facing your company. Human beings will make mistakes, these challenges offer opportunities to improve the product or service. A positive approach to problem solving can do a lot to improve customer loyalty.

Your employer is paying you to do a job and they have a right to expect value for money. The employee performance appraisal is a good way to receive feedback on the job you are doing and opens up communication regarding strengths and weaknesses and to set goals for the coming year.

Company Loyalty

Employers will not put up with employees bad mouthing the company or leaking important information to the competition. Company loyalty is demonstrated when a worker chooses the interests of the company over any others. It could be something as simple as choosing to work late to finish a project rather than meeting your friends at the bar or as complicated as turning down a lucrative job offer from the competition. In your job search it is important to choose a company that you are proud to work for and be associated with. It would be hard to be loyal to a company that is not honest or is involved in illegal practices.


There is a saying that "if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life" It is much easier to have a strong work ethic if you love the job you are doing and the company you work for. When looking for a job it is important to find a good fit.