Work ethic

by Andrea Elizabeth

New developments about Whitney Houston’s financial situation bring to light another societal issue. Yesterday when I mentioned reinventing onesself, or struggling to keep up the same level of performance, I did not consider the idea of having to because of mounting debts. I was thinking of it more aesthetically. Paying the bills is a sad fact of life. The psychology going into it is pretty interesting, however.

I try to keep bills low so that I don’t have to work as hard – or actually, because I find hard work pretty stressful physically and emotionally. I wonder if there is a comparison to working out. Ricky Gervais said today on The View that he eats and drinks a lot, and a couple of years ago decided that he needs to intensely work out an hour every day to keep control of his weight. I’d rather eat less.

Then there’s the idea of achievement. That goes back to aesthetics. For now I’ll put conscience and moral responsibility in that category too. How much effort is required of us? There’s the minimum, low budget, but pay your own bills with low spending attitude, and then there’s a more competitive, or accomplishment oriented mindset too. And this doesn’t have to be selfish. One can be really driven to spend a lot of energy helping others. I just got stressed.

I like Stephen King’s work ethic that he describes in On Writing. He is very serious about writing a certain amount every day. Yet I don’t get the feeling it’s drudgery for him, though sometimes it is. In general, I get the feeling he enjoys what he does, and it is enjoyable to read him. The only fiction book of his that I’ve read is The Girl Who Liked Tom Gordon, and had to put one or two others down because they were too crude. But I’ve seen a lot of the edited for tv movies, which I quite enjoy. George is reading one of his newest, 11/22/63, which he says is cleaner than his others. It doesn’t seem that Stephen King finds it that big a deal to be number one, which is probably why he is, or is close to it, in sales.

In sports, however, being number one is all-important. We watched Money Ball the other day where it is pointed out that the only team that gets respect is the team that wins the last game of the year. It was stressful for me to watch it as I haven’t been able to watch any type of team sports since the upset at the World Series last fall. The last game is too important and the stakes are too high. There are die-hard fans of lesser teams, which I suppose means that they aren’t afraid to die a slow death every year. It’s too hard for me.

This is not to say I’m not competitive. I have my field of interest. And I worry that when I get to heaven I’m not going to achieve the position I want. I need to adopt Stephen King’s work ethic.

Other less positive motivations for working hard are informatively discussed in this psychologist’s blog: Very interesting.