My acquaintance said.
“I don’t work hard because I don’t get raise and nobody values my work.”
A new company man complained with drinking.
“I can’t work seriously with this low salary.”
A friend of mine made a comment, hearing the conversations.
“Well, I always feel awkward when I hear those lines.”
“What do you mean?”
“Isn’t it strange to claim a bad working condition as the reason to get lazy about work?”
I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t smiling.
I said, “Why do you think so? Many people complain of the same thing.”
“Well, if a person works like that, he probably loses his self-esteem. It’s like reinforcing the belief that he has to sell his time for money.”
“Tell you an example. When I was in an elementary school, I had to challenge a losing game.”
“I was the final runner of relay. In my classroom, I was the fastest, but a boy in another classroom is much faster. I knew I wouldn’t win the game.”
“I told my teacher I didn’t want to complete with him. I wouldn’t beat him, and my classmates would blame me for losing the relay. It would be just horrible.
He took a breath and continued.
“Then my teacher told me. Nobody would blame a person who does his best. If my classmates blame me, it’s when I give it up and don’t try my best.”
“I was a simple person, so listened to the teacher. I practiced hard for the sport festival.”
“We lost after all. I was so mortified that I cried. I couldn’t even sleep well that night.”
“My classmates didn’t blame me, but…”
“Well, nobody blame me face to face, but I guess they were thinking ‘what if he wasn’t caught up…’
But I did my best, so I didn’t care what they were thinking.”
“I see… so you are saying …your effort was in vein.”
He shook his head.
“No, it’s not like that. I understood what is like to do my best because I was so mortified back then.”
“What do you mean?”
“You do your best for yourself. It is not for a high evaluation by others.”
“…I don’t get it”
“The thing is if you keep saying ‘I don’t work hard for low evaluation and low salary, you probably get lazier. Of course your evaluation stays low.”
I asked him.
“But you said your effort didn’t pay off.”
“I know what you’re thinking. But I learned one thing after I put all my effort toward the sport festival. What others think about me isn’t that important, but the habit to work hard and to make that resolution myself is.
“You mean the attitude is important?”
“Yes. Only you can decide whether or not to work hard. That’s how you keep the attitude. It is probably impossible to put your effort only on a task that would win admiration.”
“I got it. That makes sense.”
“When one gets lazy about work, he/she always cares about what others think, and will never learn the attitude to work hard. Don’t you agree?
I would hate myself. Why am I always complaining? Am I such a loser?”
“If a working condition doesn’t suit you, you can change your job. It is your choice. But about a task on your hand, do your best. If you don’t, it spoils you.
Lazy attitude brings you bad habit. Your work attitude is important for yourself, not for your company.”
That reminded me of a character in “Killing Commendatore” by Haruki Murakami.
I don’t know why people appreciate the portraits I drew. I was just doing my job. One by one, without much passion. To be honest, I don’t remember whom I drew. Not one face. However, once I take a pencil and step towards a canvas, whatever drawing I work on, I wouldn’t let it worthless.One horrible work would ruin my aptitude of art. It even disgraces the profession I have chosen to be. I’m not proud of my work, but I always did my best not to be ashamed of it. I would call it professional ethics.
It is absolutely important to do your best at whatever work you do.
If you get lazy, you are disgracing yourself.