Has anyone ever told you “don’t work too hard”? When they said it did you wonder what they meant? Often when people say things like this, we are left scratching our heads wondering why.
Don’t work too hard means take it easy, don’t work up a sweat, or stress yourself too much about what you are doing. Often people will say this when someone is pushing too hard for something that isn’t important. Alternatively, someone could say this sarcastically, meaning they want you to stop being lazy.
If you are curious about what people mean when they say “don’t work too hard”, keep reading as we will dig into it.
What does “Don’t Work too Hard” Mean?
There are two possible meanings here; the first is that someone sincerely thinks you are working too hard and should take a break. In this case, you might want to look around and see what you’ve gotten yourself into.
Maybe you are pushing too hard and don’t even realize it, and this person is trying to help you snap back to reality.
For many Westerners, the idea of work is firmly etched into our heads as the ultimate purpose and meaning of life. We might at times be convinced that work should be the highest priority over everything else that we do. While I agree that work is essential and we need to pay our bills and keep a roof over our heads, I also recognize that sometimes we take it too seriously.
Put another way; we should work to live rather than live to work. One side sees working as a part of life, but not the ultimate purpose. In contrast, the other side suggests that life is nothing but work.
But with anything in life, balance is essential, so with work, as with anything else, we need to work on keeping balance.
The other way of looking at the saying, “don’t work too hard,” is from the perspective of someone who is being sarcastic or cruel. If this is the case, they might be making a joke about your work ethic or the possibility that you were being lazy.
I think a lot of the difficulty here comes from a lack of understanding; long ago, I had a job at a fast-food restaurant as a teenager. Occasionally people would get furious and ask to talk to the manager, the manager would calm them down, and they might get something for free.
But what often seemed to be the case was that the complaining customer was stressed or rushed and took it out on someone else.
Fast food isn’t a glamorous job, but it can be difficult and exhausting. When we are busy, we might not have our typical patience, so we might expect other people to be rushed like us. The same could be said about manual labour jobs; people often complain that city workers are lazy.
While this might sometimes be the case, manual labour is hard on the body, and it is hypocritical coming from someone who sits at a desk all day.
It would be fantastic if we could all appreciate the difficulties of everyone else’s lives and be a little less judgemental. If you are going to tell someone, “don’t work too hard,” make sure you are honest and kind in your intentions.
Is Don’t Work Too Hard and Insult?
The truth is that it can be; if someone thinks you are lazy, they might say it to tease you. But it is important to remember that people don’t often understand each other’s struggles. There are many difficult jobs out there, and when someone sees someone else moving a little slowly, they might judge them on it.
But the truth is they don’t know what that person is going through.
Almost anything that people say could also be said sarcastically, meaning their intention could be the opposite of what is typically meant. But don’t let this get you down; often, when people are rude or mean, they have other reasons for doing that don’t involve you.
Should You Work Too Hard?
As I mentioned before, society often pushes us to work hard, and while this might have benefits, it doesn’t always benefit the person doing it. I find it hard to justify working overtime when you don’t get paid for it; sure, the company might like it, but if you aren’t getting paid, why should they expect you to do it?
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get your job done; if you’ve had enough time and instead wasted it on other things, then working overtime might make sense.
But if you are unfairly overworked, that isn’t right, and you should do something about it, even if that means finding another job.
On the other hand, I often work late into the night writing my articles because it gives me an incredible sense of satisfaction and joy. I say this because I feel like writing is a part of my purpose and helps me live a meaningful life.
The truth is that everyone has something that they are attached to, and it gives them meaning and purpose. If you are working on something you are passionate about or care about, it is worthwhile to keep at it and work too hard.
At the same time, sometimes, when we struggle with things, we might feel like a failure or that we aren’t cut out for it. This might be the case, but it could also be a learning opportunity, so always be open to that.
It is difficult to know if something is too hard because you are still learning or too hard because it is a waste of time. So this is where you need discernment, or the ability to see clearly about your situation.
Are You Working Too Hard?
It is always important to look at your situation and try to make sense of what is going on. Are you working too hard? Are you causing yourself undue stress and discomfort, or are you getting a lot of satisfaction from your efforts?
What is most important is being honest with yourself and being clear about your goals regarding what you are doing.
Indeed, we have to do things we don’t want to do all the time; that is just a part of life. But if we are always doing the things that we don’t want to do, it is essential to look around and reevaluate our situation. In other words, it might be time for a change.
Regret is worse than failure, so you don’t want to spend your life doing what you don’t want to do while constantly denying yourself what you want. We can never know if we will get what we want if we put in the effort, but we can be sure we won’t get it if we don’t try.
If you are working too hard to avoid doing what you want, you will regret it in the end.
In many ways, modern life seems unnatural, but this can often be attributed to misdirected efforts or understandings of our situations. Rather than getting caught up in what other people think you should do, focus as much as you can on what matters to you.
Of course, this might mean late nights working on your hobbies, but at least you will be working too hard for a good reason.