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There's a danger this question could put me in a bad light, but allowing for that, I'm going to ask it anyway. When people talk about 'hard work' (in the context of work, not people that are 'hard work'), what is hard work in the modern workplace?

Is hard work, work that's tiring? Work that's risky, work that demands long hours, or work that's complicated, or if there's just an awful lot of it to do? I'm not scared of putting in the hours, or facing complex problems that I don't always have the answer to, or doing things I'd be happier not doing. But is that hard work? I always think of it to be something that's physically backbreaking, like lugging bricks, or being bent over all day chipping or digging away at something, or working for peanuts in some sweatshop for 18 hours. Or being a solider, facing life threatening risks and being ready to act no matter how little rest you had or how knackered you are - that's hard work. So too, I guess is being any part of the emergency services.

I cram in an awful lot during the day, and I can't deny I come home sometimes and my head's spinning, only to face the same the next day. Yeah, I get exhausted at times, but is that hard? So, when someone says 'we have a lot of hard work to do', doesn't that just mean 'we've got a lot to do'?

What do you think when you hear people say this? What work-related image is conjured up?
 
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I think the traditional image is of people with physical jobs. However, I think any job can be had work. I sit on my arse all day but most days when I get home my brain is completely frazzled because I've being thinking about and doing umpteen different things all day, all of which have their own difficulties.
 

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I'm with Keithy, I do a job that's very mentally demanding, however I have in the past done very physically demanding jobs. 14 Hour shift handballing steel sheets into a tube welding machine takes it's toll.
 

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"Hard Work" - anything from backbreaking labour to attempting to convince a 90 year old parent that, "Yes I did visit you yesterday and I sorted that problem" - after the third "groundhog day" 'phone call in 6 hours.

(Sorry - just a glimpse into my world).
 

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I wonder this on a fairly regular basis. I rarely really feel like I've been working hard, despite being told on a regular basis that I work too hard. Perhaps it's only really hard when you don't like what you are doing?
 

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I'll agree with that.
 

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That, and Ikea furniture :rant:
 
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I wonder this on a fairly regular basis. I rarely really feel like I've been working hard, despite being told on a regular basis that I work too hard. Perhaps it's only really hard when you don't like what you are doing?
There's an underlying assumption in there that hard work is automatically unpleasant I think?

I could spend all day tearing a car apart which is a bit of a departure from my job. At the end of it I'd dirty and possibly slightly battered and bruised and I'd feel that I'd done a hard day's work but I would have enjoyed it.
 

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There's an underlying assumption in there that hard work is automatically unpleasant I think?

I could spend all day tearing a car apart which is a bit of a departure from my job. At the end of it I'd dirty and possibly slightly battered and bruised and I'd feel that I'd done a hard day's work but I would have enjoyed it.
It's certainly not meant to be an assumption, it's a postulation. It might be right, it might be wrong.

I don't find anything I enjoy hard to motivate myself for. I agree that physical work can be enjoyable.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
cheers chaps :) good, thought-provoking answers there :thumbs:
 
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While at college I worked part time on a casual basis in the local royal mail sorting office. That was hard work in the physical sense, chucking mail about etc. Once I had to bring up in the lift an entire lorry load of mail. It wasn't mentally challenging other than trying to remember where places where when sorting.

I now work in IT, systems and network support. That job that usually people just shrug, and say things like "all you do is tell people to switch it off and on again" It is not physically challenging, but is mentally challenging. I have had days where I have sat at my desk and skipped lunch configuring stuff. While not physical I have more than once had occassion where I have ended up exhausted, once waking up to find the flat unlocked and me on the bed still dressed.

The hardest part though is dealing with management that have no appreciation of that fact that what we do isn't easy to see, stuff gets done out of hours to make sure there is minimal disruption. All they see is IT systems that as far as they are concerned just work and don't really need us to look after them.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
While at college I worked part time on a casual basis in the local royal mail sorting office. That was hard work in the physical sense, chucking mail about etc. Once I had to bring up in the lift an entire lorry load of mail. It wasn't mentally challenging other than trying to remember where places where when sorting.

I now work in IT, systems and network support. That job that usually people just shrug, and say things like "all you do is tell people to switch it off and on again" It is not physically challenging, but is mentally challenging. I have had days where I have sat at my desk and skipped lunch configuring stuff. While not physical I have more than once had occassion where I have ended up exhausted, once waking up to find the flat unlocked and me on the bed still dressed.

The hardest part though is dealing with management that have no appreciation of that fact that what we do isn't easy to see, stuff gets done out of hours to make sure there is minimal disruption. All they see is IT systems that as far as they are concerned just work and don't really need us to look after them.
Hi Eddie,

A lack of appreciation for what you do - during work hours and of course outside - is enough to crush the spirit of even the most motivated person over time. Little recognition, little praise for what you do...not good :(
 
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Hi Eddie,

A lack of appreciation for what you do - during work hours and of course outside - is enough to crush the spirit of even the most motivated person over time. Little recognition, little praise for what you do...not good :(
It is indeed. I have had a fantastic manager and worked within a great team, but that is coming to an end, my manager has had enough and is leaving, as is a colleague. As well as this our Senior manager has left (read into that as you will) after a "management restructure" This leaves two of us and most of the knowledge on the network will leave the company in two weeks. This when there are a number of big projects that require complex networking configuration that could put a lot of existing stuff at risk.

They simply do not know what they are losing :rolleyes: Needless to say I am updating my CV and applying for jobs, I hope to be out myself ASAP :)
 

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Interesting comments all. There does seem to be that underlying distinction in people's minds between hard, physically tiring work and working hard in a different way that leaves you mentally weary, exhausted even, without breaking sweat. Is the latter any less worthy? It probably speaks more of our collective backgrounds that we feel a tinge of guilt that it isn't.
 
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