Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Working smart vs. Working hard

I struggle with this. I am a workhorse. I love to work. Work, work, work. Go in early, stay late, sacrifice sleep--and sanity--to get the job DONE. But, more times than not, I know I'm not necessarily working smart, in which case clocking in the hours doesn't really mean shit.

It's just hard because I'm juggling so many different balls at once--the endless job search, my blog, a PT job (which some weeks has FT hours), freelance gigs, networking, etc. Sometimes I just want to tackle the tasks that are easy or give me instant satisfaction first. I mean, is there actually a human being who likes writing cover letters? Or has mastered it? If so, teach me the ways almighty one!

Liza's really good at prioritizing and working efficiently and hard without going overboard. I'm attempting to take a cue from her. For instance, the other week I was approached for a freelance gig for a magazine I would LOVE to work for. (And have interviewed with, a few times, and come thisclose to landing a job at.) The phone interview was super casual, and as soon as I hung up, I went into Ellen-mode trying to brainstorm a special project I could do over the weekend to make myself stand out from the rest of the candidates. And then the strangest thing happened. I didn't have ONE good idea. Not one. What the heck? How can this happen to a self-professed "ideas person"? (Well, I can't disclose what the subject matter was, but that actually does partially explain my brain freeze.)

To make a short story shorter, I didn't turn in a project at all. I kept revisiting it throughout the weekend, but nothing was clicking, and I had other work that needed to be done. I didn't get the job (obvi cuz you guys would have been the FIRST ones to know about it!), but I didn't regret not going the extra mile this time. Sometimes doing work just for the sake of it is not the way to go. At least not to me. Plus, I got other things accomplished that weekend, one of which included SLEEP. Ha!

What about your thoughts about working hard vs. working smart? Do you struggle with this?


  1. ok the moreand more you talk about not getting a job Ellen makes me dread graduating and looking for that 'career job'
    I work full time and go to college full time how i do it i have no idea..but damm you are pretty fab..and have not found your 'career job' i am totally going crazyyy!! what am i going to do after graduation???????

  2. Ahh, sorry, Kelly! Well, I had a career job for five years...and I still do. It just comes in forms of bits and pieces these days! And I think bc I have established myself in my industry, I am a bit more choosy, ya know? You will be FINE. Deep breath. Hit me up on email if you'd like some advice. I'd like to think I've gained some knowledge and wisdom over the years :)

  3. I struggle with this because I think I tend t work hard but not always smart!! I am learning...

  4. i am not a work horse. maybe i'd be further along in my career if i were (doubt it) but i enjoy life too much to make my job the center of my universe. don't get me wrong, i work my fanny off when i am in the office but i definitely know how to let go and most importantly say no! u have to work smarter and not harder. life is too short!

  5. Thanks Ellen that would be superbbb!

  6. You're so right, SimplyChic...balance is definitely important in life. And so is sleep...I've been making that a priority this week and it feels AWESOME! ha