Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Work Ethic – 2/5/2013

On this week’s episode, the gang discusses the importance of work ethic and why the drudgery of hard work means so much when you’re starting off in a new job or career. This even applies to kids and chores!

Comments (19)

19 thoughts on “Work Ethic – 2/5/2013

  1. I couldn´t agree more about the point of finding oneself smart and trying to cut corners because of that. I started learning Japanese in ´89 but thought I could more or less figure it out by myself without bothering to speak to the very people. Once I moved there after 3 years of self study I was in for a surprise…

    However, you have to stick to what you want to do and after (many) years of small incremental steps you will get somewhere. I started two companies based on that skill that pay for my family and me to this day.

    Wax on, wax off indeed!

    One great lesson I learned from my mother is “if you don´t want to do a chore do it right away to get it off your shoulders” and “if there is anything left you could try, try it that moment however improbable and then if things still don´t work out don´t blame yourself!”.

    Coming to think of it…two, two lessons I learned from my mother!

  2. I’ve had jobs that I loved, had jobs that I hated, jobs that I was fairly ‘meh’ about because, hey, it was a paycheck and I -really- needed one at the time, but I agree with the comment of the jobs, but the jobs that I hated the most were the ones that I learned the most at. It’s amazing what you can learn to make a sucky job a lot shorter.

  3. Thank you guys so much for this podcast! I’m at exactly this point in my life, 25, out of college and developing my skills. This helped me realize I’ve been approaching my job with completely the wrong attitude. It’s not about the job, it’s about what you can learn from it.

    Thanks Kim, I think quality is hugely important to us all..doing the job right, true understanding and not being bedazzled by shiny baubles and trinkets (eg. the BMW shim story in zen’)
    and although THAT book nearly pushed me over the edge! it makes an important point.

  5. I think it’s true you need to be told by someone you seriously admire and perhaps aspire to be before you truly listen… Thanks guys.

  6. Frankly for every job I have ever had, I always get out of it what I put into it. Frankly I don’t care if the bosses of whoever don’t recognize what I do. I recognize it and I have found that I like to please myself, first. Which means working when I’m being paid to work. I don’t owe anybody else more than my salary, but I owe myself the best job that I can do. Hard work pays off even if it doesn’t pay off in cash. I can cook real edible food quickly because I worked in a restaurant, I understand motors because I worked in a motor shop. All of these skills go into my toolkit and that makes me better at my “real job” than I would otherwise be. Also learning doesn’t stop because you are out of school. If you keep learning you keep growing. I shoot pictures and get better at it simply because I look at my failures and learn from them. I’ve learned from model building and cooking and frankly I learned my engineering skills not from my college education, but from doing my share and more of the grunt work. You want want to be good don’t skip the grunt work because thats where you learn what the people who came before you did and how they did it. I’m good at tapping holes because I had a grunt job where I had to tap a thousand of them. Again you only get out of a jobwhat you put into it. I would love to work for Adam and Jamie not because of they are famous and on TV, but simply because of the attitudes I’ve seen toward the work they do and the striving to be excellent.

  7. Disclaimer: I am 43 now and have done lots of “Shitty jobs” like packing meat and cleaning dishes but I took away a lot from all of them. Even if it only was “I am never going to work in that environment again no matter what” or “I want to make more out of my time than this crap and I want to earn more in an hour”…

    Being exploited taught me 2 things: a. have your own business and b. be a better boss because you know how it feels.

    All these places you work in owe you nothing and the supervisors are not your parents. So don´t expect fair treatment. I never worked hard and diligently for them but for myself because that work ethic carries over to everything you do.

    One more thing, I failed 2 classes when I was young because I did not understand that yet so I was no prodigy that had it easy somehow.

    Anyway just my 2 Eurocents (shocker: I am half German, half Syrian)

  8. Hey guys, great discussion. As a young guy out of college and in his first design job it’s the kind of thing I need to hear. My work ethic has been steadily degraded by my current work environment. I was driven by the pursuit of excellence in school and I’ve let that be worn down by the people around me. Thanks for reminding me why I do this in the first place. For myself.

  9. A lot of good points brought up in the discussion. It’s one thing to roll through the drudgery of a job as a newbie, but when you’ve mastered it and you’ve learned something from it, you can stay or go. But you start falling into complacency, you need to snap out of it, start working on your own ideas for your own business, or start sending out resumes as soon as possible. Someone putting their kids through school is motivated on behalf of their kids doing something better with their lives, but they should still be taking care of themselves. We all have to do jobs we don’t want to do, but if we’re not saddled down raising kids, paying off debts, and a mortgage, we’re far more freer than we think we are.

  10. Adam says “I’ve had every job I’ve had for an hour, or a year.” and that he learnt something from every one of them, even if it was that he didn’t want to work there because the people there were assholes.

    He never said that you should work your ass off if you aren’t being appreciated, in fact, he is telling you to get out as soon as you can if that is the case.

    However, if you want to do something, you need to put in the work and do it well, or you are only hurting yourself.

    In the ILM example, the girl wanted to work at ILM, but she just wasn’t willing to do the things that her job required. Obviously that isn’t going to work out. There are a ton of people who both want to work at a place like ILM and who will paint 90 identical things and put their pride in doing a good job, no matter how boring that sounds, because they know that it *is* part of the job.

    I can imagine how many thousands of requests they get for people who want to work at Mythbusters, and guess what, shooting a television show isn’t going to be all explosions and waterskiing behind cruiseships. You’ll have to put up with long days of absolute drudgery in order to be part of something fun and exciting, and there are people who will happily do the dreadful, boring tasks Monday to Wednesday in order to be part of an environment filled with learning and excitement Thursday and Friday.

    For three years or so, I used to work in a metal shop during breaks from school, and since I didn’t really have any experience coming into it, I would get the jobs that were the lowest on the food chain. I’d thread 90 16″ long 1/2″ rods on both ends, then do the same to 90 7/8″ tubes, etc. making 90 of everything. And when those parts were assembled into 90 finished pieces, I’d start again and make 90 new ones, rinse and repeat.

    All my jobs at that place followed that pattern, but I enjoyed it. I was getting paid, I was learning to use new tools all the time (and getting the repetitions necessary to get comfortable with using them) and most importantly I would try to get better and faster every day. It was a fun place to work, good people, decent pay and I got paid to make something. If I can enjoy my chosen profession as much as I enjoyed making 90 threaded rods, I’ll be happy.

  11. At 22 and fresh out of school I didn’t have the best work ethic. Then after 2 years of working a crappy job I found I had a pretty darn good work ethic that lead to much success in my next employment. Then, after just over 6 years, the company almost when bust and I lost my job.

    Got a new job and had a great boss. Was given management roles. Kicking arse and taking names. Then, the department re-org’d and was saddled with the worst boss of my life. Was not allowed to do my job without explicit review and permission. Was not allowed to kick ass. I was only able to do what my boss wanted, the way he wanted and only when he felt like it.

    Thanks to him the entire department was let go in order to ‘become more agile’. Now at 32, I would like to think I have strong work ethic, but in this economy (where no one seems to be hiring) having a good work ethic seems to be getting me zilch.

  12. Wow! Wow! You’ve affected me so much with this seemingly simple podcast topic (work ethic). Like many others, I’ve had my share of crappy, tedious jobs where my strong work ethic was clearly abused.

    But I couldn’t agree more that when an person appreciates that you go above and beyond in your work, volunteering, and school life (like myself) it makes life so INCREDIBLE! I’ve gotten jobs/opportunities that were way above my skill/education level just based on my work ethic, my attention to detail, and the positive character I bring when doing something that’s already an award in itself when I do a exceptional job.

    Thank you so much for discussing this topic.

  13. Great podcast. As a teacher I think that many of my students could get use out of following some of the information in this podcast.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Adam Savage in Real Time: Assembling and Lining Flat File Dr…


Adam Savage in Real Time: Assembling and Lining Fl…

Adam assembles the plywood pieces he cut to form his new fla…

Adam Savage in Real Time: Cutting Flat File Drawers


Adam Savage in Real Time: Cutting Flat File Drawer…

Unhappy with the storage of his various measuring tools (an …

Lightyear LEGO Build with Adam Savage and Director Angus Mac…


Lightyear LEGO Build with Adam Savage and Director…

Adam Savage is joined by Lightyear director Angus MacLane fo…

The Iconic Sounds of the Marvel Cinematic Universe


The Iconic Sounds of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one of the ways filmmakers…

Adam’s Obsession with Weird Storage Cases!

Show And Tell

Adam’s Obsession with Weird Storage Cases!

Adam shares his obsession with weird storage cases, often fo…

Adam’s One Day Builds: Flat File Tool Storage Cabinet!

One Day Builds

Adam’s One Day Builds: Flat File Tool Storage Cabi…

Adam first built drawers for his drafting tools two years ag…

Adam’s One Day Repairs: Vintage Lathe Drill Chuck!

One Day Builds

Adam’s One Day Repairs: Vintage Lathe Drill Chuck!

Adam returns from a trip to the local Alameda flea market wi…

Thor: Love and Thunder | The Sound Design of Mjölnir!


Thor: Love and Thunder | The Sound Design of Mjöln…

Adam Savage recently visited Skywalker Sound where Samson Ne…

Adam in Real Time: Coring a New Lightsaber Pommel


Adam in Real Time: Coring a New Lightsaber Pommel

Adam has very high standards for this lightsaber build , and…

Adam Savage in Real Time: Machining a Mount


Adam Savage in Real Time: Machining a Mount

In this Premium/Patron exclusive, Adam machines a tiny piece…