“Work smarter, not harder”….really????

If someone told you to “work smarter, not harder” how would that make you feel? I had a coworker say that to me soon after I started my part-time job, and I must say, I found it to be highly insulting. When did it become a bad thing to work harder? The interesting thing is that this particular coworker tends to be one of the lazier ones on the job. Even another coworker has commented to me about Mr. Work Harder Not Smarter’s lack of motivation at work. Other coworkers and I have picked up his slack before. I guess in his mind, leaving his work for others to finish is working smarter, not harder.

Anywho, the day this coworker said this to me, I was working on a small task at work. He thought my method was more challenging and suggested an alternate method, without tact I might add. He isn’t one for saying things tactfully. After making his suggestion, he told me to “work smarter, not harder.” Now, had he told me to “work easier, not harder”, then I wouldn’t have felt some kinda way. I appreciated being shown a simpler way to do something, but my original method was still getting the job done without affecting him or anyone else for that matter. So, why was I being dumber just because I was taking a few extra steps???

I’ve even seen other situations where one person has their way of doing something, feels you’re supposed to do it their way too, and gets upset if you don’t. However, just like with many math problems, there can be multiple ways to obtain the answer. How you go about getting it is your choice, and you shouldn’t be judged for that. Just because you took 6 steps to figure out the solution and I took 4 steps doesn’t mean you’re not as smart as me. Frankly, the only time I would ever consider someone as not working smartly is if their method is dangerous or not getting the job done. And even then, I would never insult someone by telling them to work smarter. I would just politely offer to show them an easier way to get the job done.

What do you think? Am I overeacting? What does “work smarter, not harder” mean to you? Toddley would love to know!

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3 thoughts on ““Work smarter, not harder”….really????”

  1. I think I would have to be there to hear his tone and suggestions to know if I would be offended…that is a very common phrase in the work force across multiple business units. Maybe he heard it somewhere and was regurgitating it attempting to sound intelligent, rather than insult you. BUT, I do know if I felt my way or an alternate way was smarter I would certainly give him my two cents! 😉😉😉


  2. First of all I am pissed, just lost all the text I typed. Thanks Samsung for removing the forward button.
    Anyway, my manager loves to use that phrase. It’s like what your coworker was saying, get the job done correctly but with the least amount of effort. I just do what works for me in some cases. Also, people’s way of interacting with others will cause the thought to be lost or ignored ESPECIALLY (sp) when you don’t exhibit the habits you are trying to impress upon others. Good luck with that though!


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