Career Woman

8 reasons ‘working hard’ is not the answer


Women often think that if they just work hard – and everybody sees that they work hard and do their job well — they will be rewarded with promotions, pay rises and recognition. But the truth is, working hard (by itself) is not the answer. Now, while hard work isn’t bad per se, it is bad to have this line of thinking because it simply isn’t the way the world works and ultimately won’t pay off.

Furthermore, women thinking that they just have to hard work for it to pay off is an idea that has been reinforced in us since childhood from parents and teachers so that we be quiet and get our work done.

For women in particular, this reinforced idea is often what worries them the most and leaves the wondering why they haven’t been promoted or rewarded in some way after working so hard, often to the point of exhaustion and frustration.

1. Long hours don’t matter

Working long hours can be tiring and doesn’t always pay off in your overall career and how you progress. Women especially fall victim to the idea that the harder and longer they work, the more credit and notice they will get long term—particularly in regards to promotions and pay rises.

But au contraire! The opposite is more likely to happen. And shorter periods of good, solid work are much better because it suggests that are more on of top of your work, good at self-management and can work efficiently — whereas taking all day (and into the evening) to complete your tasks can suggest the complete opposite.

2. Don’t ‘stay busy’

If you have a long to-do list to complete before your working day ends, remember that it’s alright to prioritize the items in order of importance so that you get anything difficult or that might take the longest to complete done first. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that if you finish the entire list by 3pm, and there is literally nothing else for you to do—even helping a co-worker with their work— that you can fill in the rest of the time with trivial ‘look busy’ tasks.

Women in particularly are good at finding trivial things to do when there doesn’t seem to be much to do. Doing this can suggest that you are easily bored and will do anything to pass the time until it’s time to leave work.

Instead, this is the time to find out ways to upskill, to shadow a mentor, or learn something from a supervisor.

3. An opportunity to grow

Working harder for longer doesn’t always mean you’ll be noticed more than other colleagues or be thought of as a good worker, especially if you just work hard at one thing.

Women often put a lot of energy into perfecting tasks and skills, making sure that every little detail has been checked twice and no stone gets left unturned. And while this isn’t strictly a bad thing, it can lead to those around you noticing how good you are at that one particular thing and constantly asking you to help them … with that one. particular. thing.

This can limit you in that it can take away from your opportunities to grow because others may take advantage your skill at that one thing, distracting you from your mountain of work and leaving you with little time to learn and develop other skills.

You just have to remember that, at some point, enough is enough and learn to say no.

4. You have not developed your skills

Working hard at one thing can be a good thing because it shows your dedication to it and focus in doing it well. But like the tip above, not developing other skills in other areas will hinder you from opportunities to grow, develop your career and progress up the ladder.

Women often find themselves in this position because of everything they have on their plates at any one time, like heavy work loads or a busy family life. So when it comes to learning new or improving old skills, they drop the ball and put off doing it.

But developing your skills, no matter when you get round to doing it — especially if they don’t directly relate to your current job — is very important. Well-rounded skills can come in handy if and when new technologies and developments in your industry/job come along, that may change how you do your job and also might make old ways of doing things obsolete.

5. You are not getting anywhere and you know it

More often than not, women have to work harder than men in order to reach the top roles. However, this doesn’t always pay off, with some women being over looked for promotions, pay rises, etc. because people already in top roles— most likely men— probably think they will eventually leave to start a family. Or there is the concern they will let their emotions get in the way of their work when men won’t do this—at least not to the extent that women might.

When situations like this come along, it would be good idea and time to re-evaluate what you are doing and where your career is going. To do this, just ask yourself these three simple questions: How long have you been working hard? Has it paid off? And has it paid off the way you were hoping?

Now, if you answered no to all three questions, then take it as a sign that you’re not going anywhere in the workplace or in your career and that you should have a good, hard think about whether or not what you’re doing is still worth doing.

6. You are running another person’s race

Women often do more for others than themselves, including helping others with their work instead of focusing on theirs. This also plays a factor in women working too hard for little reward because, in doing more for others, you start running their race instead of focusing on your own.

Furthermore, in doing this you put more pressure on yourself to work harder for longer, which will only fuel your ideas about getting noticed by others—especially your boss—for working hard. Which may not even happen the way you want it to.

This also applies to doing jobs that you don’t feel passionate about but someone else does; because you’ll just be wasting yours, and everyone else’s, time by ‘running someone else’s race’.

If this happens, it would be a good time to re-evaluate what you’re doing and why, because there is little point in doing something that you don’t feel passionate about—especially if you’re only doing it because of someone else’s agenda.

7. Hard work doesn’t mean you are doing the right work

Women often work hard in areas they’re not the best in, which can be bad for them, the team and their business because the end result may not be what was needed or wanted by anyone involved. Now, that doesn’t mean you didn’t try your best to do what’s right for those people, it just means that, in the future, you should do work that is right for you by doing the work you want to do and are good at.

This also isn’t limited to helping others with their work. It also includes working in the wrong industry or holding the wrong position within an industry. Doing this, no matter how hard you work at this job to get better at it, is essentially pointless because, if it’s really the wrong job for you, your boss will know and definitely won’t promote you or give you a pay-rise.

Furthermore, working hard at the wrong thing, especially when it’s a colleague’s work, will get you little to no notice or recognition from your boss because they either don’t know you helped a co-worker or the co-worker didn’t saying anything to them, therefore taking all the credit and further leaving you with nothing.

8. Hard work doesn’t always produce good results

Women often juggle multiple things at once and often think that if they prioritize and really work hard at finishing everything the better results they will get, and more rewards will be sent their way.

This method of hard work, however, can often lead to stress, which can lead you to making quick, rash decisions that are not well thought out. This can further lead to bad consequences for you in the work place and with your boss and colleagues.

Furthermore, the saying ‘hard work always pays off’ is not always true because you can work hard for a solid eight hours and receive little to no recognition from co-workers—and especially your boss—for the work you’ve done, whereas a co-worker can do a similar amount of work in two hours and get all kinds of rewards for it.

This can also produce poor results for you because the work you have done—and perhaps done very well—can be ignored, causing you to be overlooked for promotions, pay-rises or any other kind of reward you might deserve.

About Rowena Nagy

Rowena Nagy is a Journalist at The Business Woman Media. A graduate in Journalism, Media and Communications, she is passionate about in writing, travel journalism, video journalism and Public Relations.