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Work Ethic*

Odd Combination of Topics

This book is a strange combination of what should probably be two separate books and one pamphlet. It is split into three sections: work ethic and related ideas, how to get a job, and what do after you have a job (surprise answer here).

The bold line in the blurb suggests that something is inherently wrong with today’s workforce that makes getting and keeping a job difficult. The answer, it would seem, is that we have lost our collective work ethic, and the author purports to address that issue in this book. This rankles me to some degree because I do not see the problems in contemporary business to rest solely on the back of the rank-and-file employee; if workers have abandoned the work ethic (which I do not believe they have), the argument can be made that businesses have abandoned the worker with slash-and-burn policies that are focused solely on the bottom line or covering the company’s posterior.

For a book that is supposedly all about the work ethic, that topic itself is a small fraction of it. Part one of the book does have a small section that is specifically labeled “work ethic” and then goes on to explore what might make that up, like attendance and accountability. I found this section to be rather generic and quite banal. The author made broad, sweeping statements, usually about how terrible workers are, but didn’t back it up with any sort of research or quantifiable facts. Part two gives details on the standard way of getting a job, like a cover letter, your resume, and the interview. Having participated in the job-getting process at various times over the last 30 years, I find his examples to be mired in the distant past. In this age of online job applications, even for higher-level positions, cover letters and resumes are a wholly different beast. Part three seems to come completely out of left field. After all the previous writing in the book had been about being an employee and getting a job, these few throwaway pages seem to be about becoming an entrepreneur.

While I don’t know much about the author beyond what he stated in his Amazon bio, I get the impression that he has been an entrepreneur for a long time, and while he might have worked with businesses, he has not truly been an employee in one for some years. So I don’t think he actually has any great authority to speak on this topic, and this is borne out by what is actually in the pages.