Getting Great Satisfaction Out of Hard Work

Key Takeaways

  • Two categories of work are long work and hard work.
  • You get paid for your time with long work and paid for results with hard work.
  • We get more satisfaction out of hard work.

Work has been defined in many ways. When it comes to paid work, it’s evolved into two basic systems: you can be paid for your time and effort, or you can be paid for results.

The time and effort economy is one that most people are familiar with and it’s how most jobs are structured. You put in a certain amount of time, and you’re paid a wage for that time. Most of corporate America is set up this way.

Then there’s the results-based economy. Entrepreneurs know this economy very well because they’re not paid any money until they produce a result. You have to make things happen in order to receive any pay.

Seth Godin wrote a brief article, Hard Work vs. Long Work, which explores the differences between the two. Long work is putting in time at your place of employment, but it’s not necessarily difficult – as long as you show up and do your job, you’ll be paid.

Conversely, hard work doesn’t necessarily mean long hours, but it’s definitely not easy. You have to come up with ideas, with new ways of doing things, and get clarity on big questions. It’s the kind of work people love being on the receiving end of, working with consultants, advisors, and coaches who are very good at hard work and know how to help us think things through to get the results we’re seeking. And if they come through with those results, they’re paid well. If they don’t, well, they’ve failed, and they may not get paid.

Generally, hard work is more rewarding to do. Humans get a lot of satisfaction out of thinking things through, putting pieces of the puzzle together, and creating solutions using their expertise. It speaks to the human spirit, whereas long work is something humans have done to survive and not necessarily because it’s fulfilling.

As you’re able to have more freedom with your time, ask yourself if you want to do long work or hard work. As Godin points out, they’re not separate – oftentimes long work is necessary to lead to hard work. But it’s important to take the knowledge and experience you’ve gained from your long work and know when to use it to do hard work. Deep down, that’s where you’ll find the greatest satisfaction. Until next time, enjoy.


If you’d like to read more on this topic, here are a few of our past Coyle Blog posts that you might enjoy:

From Knowledge Worker to Wisdom Worker

Get into Your Work Flow



Gary Klaben serves as a Financial Advisor, and visionary for Coyle Financial Counsel. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

Learn more about The Coyle Process, approach designed to get your arms around the big picture, so you can make informed financial decisions. Ask Gary about The Coyle Process and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.
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All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions. All investments involve risk, including loss of principal.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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