Working it Hard vs Working it Smart

My philosophy, while working towards a goal, used to be: if it was not an agonizingly painful task, then the goal was not worth achieving.

I’m still wondering exactly where, or how, I acquired that insane mindset, because agony doesn’t justify the means to an end.

In the early years of putting myself through school and working at the same time, which seemed never ending, pain became associated with achievement.

Overall the pain was basically hustling: a lack of sleep, hunger pains, walking for miles without transportation (and I had achy knees back then), worrying about criminals, worrying about failing a class, being able to afford the school, finding a job after graduation, and so on and so on.

It’s hard admitting I was a masochist, but what could I do? I wasn’t one to give up on anything easily. I’m still not that way.

Today, I’ve eased away from that position of absolute sacrifice, absolute pain for the end result. I try to work smart over break the back slogging.

I’ve interviewed at many places for a job, and when I was hired (I always liked the places where I worked) one thing stood out at the interviews: they were really nice to me and never treated me like a convict. There are people who never offer you a drink, tell you where the bathroom is, or out of some decency and kindness ask if you need anything. I don’t ask, because I am testing them as well.

There was a company I went and interviewed at and they wanted the equivalent of: a lie detector test, blood sample, urine sample and maybe first born if available. It would be cool if the job involved national security – I’d gladly pee in cup – or as Laurence Fishburne said: “I’d bleed to keep the flag red.”

However, my skills are computer programming. I’m a highly adaptable glorified desk jockey, there’s no larceny in my heart. I’ve even been called “nice.”

I’ve dialed down the hardass, but I certainly don’t want to let my guard down either and think everything must be easy or it’s not doable.

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