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Bridge Above The Water: The Hard Worker vs The Valuable Worker

I remember a monotonous and time consuming project I was working on involving a series of data manipulations and entries. My coworker Rich, our systems analyst, implored me to let him develop a way to automate the process. I told him that by the time he was done I wouldn’t need it anymore. I joked with him by saying ‘you build a bridge, and I’ll drain the river dry – either way we both get to the other side’. He chuckled and returned to work. A few moments later he turned his chair and asked, ‘What if it rains again?’

His response was brilliant. It most likely would rain again, since, well…that’s how nature works. A bridge would not be effected by the rain because a bridge was a solution and not a state – like an empty or flowing river. Regardless of how much water was in the river the bridge would always be an option. If someone was not strong enough, or did not have the time or resources to drain the river, they could use the bridge. The bridge would provide value to the entire community. When you take a step back, the bridge was definitely the better of the two solutions. It’s smarter. Sure enough, a few weeks later I was wishing I had built a bridge!

At the time I was being the ‘Hard Worker’, while my coworker was being the ‘Valuable Worker’. I would not stop until my work was done, which made me a hard worker. However, I could’ve spent my time on something more valuable.

I decided to compile  ‘Hard Worker’ habits and traits compared to a ‘Valuable Worker’ traits. Please let me know what other distinctions you can think of in the comment section!

A Hard Worker? A Valuable Worker?
spends most of their time working spends most of their time learning
knows a lot documents a lot
sticks to the process Improve the process
knows how to do their job understands why they do their job
is skeptical of change welcomes change
is aware of the deadline is aware of the mission
checks the to-do list from top to bottom prioritizes tasks
holds on to responsibility delegates responsibility
is concerned with their role only knows how other roles work together
is in competition with others collaborates with others

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