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Must Complex Work Feel Like Hard Work (and Vice-Versa?)

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

So do we have to work our butt off when doing complex work? Or is work hard because it is complex?

Or is there no link at all?

When Complex Work feels like Hard Work…

When we are doing Complex Work, and it feels Hard, we are hitting the desired quality but not necessarily the required productivity rates. We have to work hard to maintain quality and be productive. We have most likely developed a working method, but it isn’t yet ‘industrialized’ to guarantee quality at each stage, and we therefore must check work in progress at the end of each stage – which takes time. We are still learning how to master our work and develop our method.

If Complex Work feels like Hard Work – keep going, enjoy the experience and use this as a great opportunity to master new skills.

When Complex Work doesn’t feel like Hard Work…

When we are doing Complex Work that doesn’t feel Hard, we are hitting the desired quality AND the required productivity rates, with ease. We have mastered our work and have developed an industrial method that produces results. You might working ‘with your eyes closed’ – as the saying goes. Much like your journey to work, you are on auto-pilot and remember nothing that is unremarkable.

If Complex Work doesn’t feel like Hard Work – then you’re a master at what you do. You are a Specialist. Being efficient and effective, as you are, might be where you want to be – leaving more time for leisure or social activities, or be plain lazy. That’s up to you. But if you desire new challenges then perhaps you’re ready to take on new responsibilities or be promoted?

I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it. I will always choose a lazy man to do a hard job because a lazy man will find an easy way to do it. – Bill Gates

The Answer

Complex Work doesn’t have to be Hard Work. If you have mastered the processes by which you work, it can feel easy. But perhaps boring; as it is unlikely that you’re not learning anything new. Hard Work can feel like Complex Work, because you are learning from your challenges and developing new skills and methods. If Hard Work doesn’t feel like Complex Work – then perhaps this isn’t the job for you. You are a slave to unchallenging, maybe menial work, that is below your capability. Can you face up to this?

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About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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