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To ask what 'work hard' means to you? In relation to earnings

(55 Posts)
Workhard45 Wed 17-May-17 09:25:57

This phrase often starts a debate (especially now with elections around the corner) and I wanted to know what it means to you.

It's often mentioned when someone tries to explain why they earn so much. Then low earners are offended because they too work hard. First off, I think everyone(well, almost) works hard, but there are different versions of hard work and some gain you more money.

To me, 'work hard' is not just the physical (e.g. Working 3 minimum wage jobs to feed your family - though of course this is hard work!) but rather a long-term thing. So, working hard/smart from GCSE to uni to workplace. I also think 'hard work' can be mental. People often say their managers don't work hard because they don't break a sweat - I don't think you have to to be working 'hard'.
I also think part of this involves making hard choices such as picking a boring job that pays more over one you are passionate about but pays less. Fair enough not everyone picks jobs just for their earning potential, but then I don't think you should then moan about the low pay after if you've traded income for passion.

This has turned out longer than I intended - apologies! I'm interested in other people's definitions of 'work hard'.

robinia Wed 17-May-17 09:28:22

Stress makes work hard.
Anti-social hours and long hours.
Awkward people (see stress!).

RedHelenB Wed 17-May-17 09:33:42

Working hard to me means either.physical or mental exhaustion or both at the end of the working day.

Miniwookie Wed 17-May-17 09:34:38

I think people saying they work hard for their money to justify huge earnings is pretty offensive to people on low earnings. My DH has a high wage. He has a lot of responsibility and has studied hard and worked hard to gain the right experience to build his career over the last 20yrs. However I would think him a bit of a dick if he didn't also consider himself fortunate to have had the natural abilities and the opportunities to do the job he does. That's why he's happy to pay tax, and to vote Labour, even though it will see his tax bill go up. It's often wealthy people grumbling about taxes who say 'I work hard for my money' as if poorer people don't.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 17-May-17 09:36:19

You are absolutely right that there is more than one way to "work hard".

I think what angers people is the assumption that only high earners have "worked hard" to get where they are and that people with minimum wage jobs/no savings are only there because they have worked less hard.

Putting in maximum effort in G.C.S.Es, A-Levels, at university & then on professional study or career development is hard work.

Working long hours in a manual/physical job for little pay is also hard work.

One doesn't trump the other IMO.

SomewhatIdiosyncratic Wed 17-May-17 09:41:02

A 12 hour manual shift job is obviously physically hard work.

Many jobs carry responsibilities with much broader consequences to others welfare which is stressful and not easily detached at the end of the working day.

Modern communications mean little escape from work in what should be home/ family/ holiday time.

I hate the "hard working families" description as most families work hard. It's polarising as people try to justify themselves.

Pleasedontbelikeme Wed 17-May-17 09:42:19

I see what you're getting at, but I think a lot of those people who justify their higher earnings by the fact that they 'worked hard' forget that there was probably also an element of chance in their situation. For example, although I was a teenage mum (had my first son when I was at 6th form) I was very lucky to have a supportive boyfriend and loving supportive parents and be quite academic. This made it possible (along with hard work) for me to get a degree and higher degree and a reasonable career. Other girls who get pregnant may get disowned by their parents (certainly when I was young) and the bloke responsible often disappears off into the sunset. So yes, I worked bloody hard to make a good life for my family, but I appreciate that I was also very fortunate. I am a labour party member and happy to pay a reasonable amount of tax to live in a decent society.

And I wholeheartedly agree with Santas that less skilled jobs that are very hard work should be given more value by society. Pay for people who work in childcare is appalling and says something sad about what we value as a society.

LucyLocketLostIt Wed 17-May-17 09:45:36

The reason why some people earn vastly more than others is often down to luck rather than them working any harder.

I know this because it happened to me.

I was good at my job and worked hard but there were also other people who were just as good and worked equally hard who didn't get the same opportunity.

I was in the right place at the right time.

isthistoonosy Wed 17-May-17 09:45:56

I think a lot of the time people seem to take offence that isn't there.
I can say I've worked hard for 25+yrs to get qualified, in a field that I knew paid well, and I work hard now and therefore get paid well.
This does not mean I don't think other people have not or do not do hard work, just because they earn less than me.

elevenclips Wed 17-May-17 10:00:10

I think (roughly) that people who have good gcse, alevel, degree etc are more able to get more highly paid jobs. Eg you could be a surgeon but you must have a tonne of quals. After work, you may take home research or stress about how to do something for a patient. Or paperwork or any sort of crap that goes with it.

Equally if you are working lifting things all day then you will work your ass off and be exhausted. But you can do that job without the mega quals a surgeon has. So you don't get paid as much. However when you go home, you no longer have to think about work and take none home.

It's difficult. If we don't remunerate people for the qualifications (that say the surgeon has) then why would people bother to get them? If you could get good money for doing a low stress, enjoyable job then why would anyone work for qualifications to get a stressful job?

I have a dc just taken SATS. I've helped as much as I can and dc has put a lot of work in. If there was no benefit to doing well in exams, we wouldn't have done this, instead we would have relaxed and done fun stuff. And not have the arguments and tantrums over it. If i knew my dc could get a well paid low stress job with no qualifications, why would we bother with all this? Eg if adults got paid £30ph to do something nice like dog walking then why would you want to slave for years getting quals? At the end of the day we'd have nobody qualified because it wasn't worth it.

DJBaggySmalls Wed 17-May-17 10:01:54

I've done potato and onion picking, and other farm work like mucking out pigs. You have to get up at stupid o'clock and its hard, physical labour.

SharkiraSharkira Wed 17-May-17 10:02:03

I think the point is nosy that even though you personally don't feel that way, there are quite a lot of people who think that if someone doesn't earn a lot then they haven't/don't work hard which is obviously untrue.

I was academic at school and got good grades. I'm also in the process of getting a degree. I still earn minimum wage and pretty much always have done even though I've worked very hard in all my jobs. I guess I just didn't have any interest in those careers that pay a lot although I am trying to change that.

I think sometimes it is about having the right opportunities to do well. Lots of people have degrees but work in minimum wage jobs/ don't use their degree because their aren't the jobs available for them and they might not be able to afford to move elsewhere where the jobs are.

To me, working hard is, as a pp said, being physically or mentally tired at the end of the day. It also means putting in maximum effort to your job/studies.

Workhard45 Wed 17-May-17 10:09:39

I guess I just didn't have any interest in those careers that pay a lot although I am trying to change that. In this case - would you feel it were right to complain than you get paid less than a doctor/lawyer etc ? Even though you say yourself you didn't want those high paying jobs? (Not saying that you complain, just using as an example).

Dishwashersaurous Wed 17-May-17 10:11:04

It's about responsibility. The higher up an organisation the more responsible an individual is and thus paid more for making and taking decisions.

Eg a solider has to perform his part but the general has to decide the overall shape of the campaign.

The reason why people get so annoyed with very high earners ceo etc is when individuals on very high earners are responsible but not held accountable. Eg board of rbs during financial crash. Part of the consequences of having a high wage is having the buck stop with you.

Also, it is a matter of multiples. So a job is more responsible, stressful and difficult at the top of an organisation than the bottom but is it really appropriate for the person at the top to be paid thousands and thousands times more than the individual on the shop floor.

I like the idea of a twenty times multiple. So the ceo is paid twenty times what the lowest earners are on. So if the organisation is doing really well and ceo wants to be paid more, then everyone gets a pay rise because they have all contributed to the business doing better.

MrTumblesbitch Wed 17-May-17 10:18:14

I think as others have said, it's about responsibility. If I fuck up my job, there's about 10 people that would lose their jobs as a direct consequence. This week I'm only doing 3 days work so my team (who are lesser paid) are working 'harder' than me, but In the 3 days I was in I have secured ongoing work and therefore income for us all.

There are days I dream of stopping and working in a temping job instead. I want to be able to switch my brain off at the end of the day! That said, I've also done the roles my team have, it's taken years of luck / experience etc to get to the position I'm in now.

Eolian Wed 17-May-17 10:18:16

The pay may be to do with responsibility, but how hard someone works isn't necessarily to do with responsibility. A full-time, heavy manual labour job is incredibly hard work but doesn't necessarily involve much responsibility.

corythatwas Wed 17-May-17 10:19:39

So what happens, OP, if everybody plans carefully to get a job that not only involves hard work but handsome remuneration?

Who is going to nurse you when you end up in hospital? Who is going to teach your children? Who is going to investigate your murder?

As far as I can see, for each job that pays well for hard work/responsibility/education, there are a hundred jobs that also involve hard work/responsibility/education, but not the money, and which we absolutely cannot do without. So where is the point of telling the people who do those jobs that they should have planned carefully and worked harder?

I'm an academic. Low paid, as it so happens, but under different circumstances I might have been quite comfortable financially. Some of my colleagues are. However, if 10 times as many people decide academics is the job, if they all work hard at school and write brilliant PhDs, we're not suddenly going to need 100 times as many Vicechancellors. And that goes for all those well paying hard working jobs: however conscientious people are about planning and working and making sacrifices, they can't all be top lawyers or bankers because society only needs so many.

corythatwas Wed 17-May-17 10:20:24

sorry,, typo "If 100 times as many people"

welovepancakes Wed 17-May-17 10:20:40

Why is this in AIBU?

Starduke Wed 17-May-17 10:23:16

I like the idea of a twenty times multiple. So the ceo is paid twenty times what the lowest earners are on. So if the organisation is doing really well and ceo wants to be paid more, then everyone gets a pay rise because they have all contributed to the business doing better.

I disagree. It also depends on how big the company is. A national company with 100 employees is not the same as a big international company with 120 000 employees. The responsability of the CEO is not the same.

And which lowest salary should be taken into account? One from Europe? One from India? One from China?

I think there are a lot of critical jobs which aren't paid well enough - like nurses, ambulance drivers, nursery workers etc. But that doesn't mean that CEOs are paid too much.

I think there isn't enough knowledge about what people's jobs consist of either, specifically office jobs which are well paid. I remember telling my DBro about my hours (I was working on a project 9am - 1am everyday for 2 months, plus bank holidays and weekends). Yes I earn a lot more than my DBro, but I have to say I burst out laughing when he asked if I was getting overtime or time in lieu. He had no idea about the work I was putting in, and the stress I was under. Nor the skills I needed. He just thought I was lucky to be earning loads. And that he too was working hard (9-5, Mon-Fri)

TheNaze73 Wed 17-May-17 10:26:11

I agree with Starduke

really good post

GetAHaircutCarl Wed 17-May-17 10:27:57

star I think that's true about lack of understanding.

I earn a lot of money. I don't deny it. But people are often shocked at the amount of risk I have to take in terms of projects that never get off the ground or earn me any cash.

DH also regularly points out to people that if his business fails it will be him who loses his house, not the employees.

Leonardo44 Wed 17-May-17 10:33:51

So if everyone is in agreement that going to uni, studying for several years and having a professional job is generally just as hard as working in a manual job for a pittance then why does 'I worked hard for my money' even come into it? Of course it's suggesting people who don't earn as much as you don't work as hard.

It's not just about responsibility. Someone's death could be on my hands if I didn't do my job properly, yet I'm still paid MW. My supervisors have even bigger responsibilities than me, yet they're paid a grand total of £1 more per hour.

DeleteOrDecay Wed 17-May-17 10:39:40

I think what angers people is the assumption that only* high earners have "worked hard" to get where they are*

Yeah, this. My Dp has a reasonably well paid job, he worked hard to get a promotion within months of starting a new job but he was also naturally good at this particular role too.

Before that he was working a minimum wage job, he still worked as hard but there was no room for progression in this particular role unfortunately.

Some people work their fingers to the bone for little to no reward. Doesn't mean they don't work as hard as those who are able to progress in their chosen career/jobs. I really dislike the notion that if you work hard then you're guaranteed to earn a good living because that's simply not the reality for many people.

corythatwas Wed 17-May-17 10:41:07

I don't quibble with the idea that bosses take risks and have responsibility. But I do have a problem with people talking as if there was a sharp divide between responsibility/risk/high pay on the one hand and no responsibility/no risk/low pay.

No CEO runs the same kind of risk as the trawlerman who puts fish on our tables. He is risking his life and probably for not very much money. Social workers regularly have to make decisions that may lead to the death of a child: I wouldn't call that no responsibility. The research our medication is based on is the product of years of hard work by underpaid lab assistants with PhDs- do we want to do without that?

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