I grew up in a world where money was scarce. We had enough to meet our needs, but not much more. My parent's work ethic kept our bills paid and food on the table. It allowed them to make due in a lower income bracket.
Mom and dad had what I though were decent jobs. Mom transitioned through several careers during her life including bookkeeping, management, and medical payments processing. While I was growing up, she spent her work days managing convenient stores. My dad worked as a machinist while I was very young. That job went away during a strike. I vaguely remember dad visiting the picket lines, and I recall the barrel fires to keep the guys warm as they picketed. Our money was tight, so dad changed careers to find work. We couldn't wait out the strike. His new career became carpentry and woodworking which he continues doing until this day at age 67.
As I grew up, my parents modeled an extremely strong work ethic for me . They were always on time for work and stayed late if things needed to be done. Quite frequently staff would quit unexpectedly, call in sick or just show up late at the convenience store. Mom would go into work to cover for them until she could find a substitute. Sometimes this required her to work 80-100 hours per week. Maddening, but she did it.
Dad was mister dependable. He showed up for work...always. He rarely missed days even when he was sick. He worked weekends and overtime when needed. His dependability helped him to be put into team leadership roles with whomever he worked. This usually meant he was paid a bit more than the rest of his coworkers.
As an adult, the work ethic my parents instilled became a tremendous asset. While I thought I was just "doing my job", my strong work ethic set me apart from my peers. It paid off. It paid off well. It paid off in the form of sizeable raises, promotions, and opportunities. Eventually, I was able to reach executive level leadership with executive level pay. People notice when someone has a strong work ethic, and they notice when someone doesn't have a strong work ethic.
People who lack a strong work ethic usually miss out on the good opportunities. Along my journey to become a millionaire, I observed and worked with many people who lacked a good work ethic. They usually wondered why they weren't getting good raises and why they weren't getting promotions. They came in late, called in sick, took long lunches, and left early. They were clock watchers.
In today's workforce, just showing up for work on time and getting your work done automatically sets you apart from your fellow workers. Being at work when you're expected to be is part of a good work ethic. Staying on task and getting your work done is part of a good work ethic. Opportunities come to those with a good work ethic.
5 Ways to Strut Your Strong Work Ethic
Arrive early. Make sure you're at work a few minutes early. Arriving a few minutes early means you'll be productive when it's time. If you know there's traffic or bad weather, leave your house a little early so you can still be on time. It matters.
Work a few minutes over. Don't be a clock watcher. Don't wrap up your day early so you can be ready to run out immediately when it's quitting time. Stay on task can finish your day strong.
Take your lunch. Take your lunch time, but don't take more than your lunch time. It's easy to overshoot your lunch hour and think it's not a bit deal. People notice, but they don't talk. Taking just 15 minutes extra for lunch a week is 1 hour 15 minutes.
Help others when they need it. Sadly, many people do the minimal amount of work. When a co-worker needs help, they're not interested in helping.
Go the extra mile. Companies, business owners and leaders are looking for team members that will go the extra mile. That can mean anything from pulling the company out of a pinch, filling in a need or coming up with something new that benefits the company. Employees that go the extra mile are like gold. They help a company stay healthy and create profit. They also usually attract the right kind of attention that brings bonuses and opportunities.