Day 154: Hard work day.

The Book doesn’t specify what sort of hard work I’m supposed to be doing, but the “action item list” layout of the page suggests some sort of office or sales work.

I don’t do that kind of work. I have, in the past — I had a desk job in an academic library for a year — and it’s not the sort of work I consider hard. I suppose one could work hard and get done in one day what one would normally get done in two or three days, but that doesn’t seem like quite the same thing. Are hard work and working hard the same thing?

I don’t think they are. Working hard is a phrase that describes the manner in which one is working: one could, conceivably, work hard at something that was quite easy. Hard work, on the other hand, is work which is hard in itself, completely independent of the effort of the worker: digging a ditch is hard work, whether it’s your first ditch or your thousandth.

The Book failed to make this distinction, and so left me room to choose between working hard and doing hard work. Since I’m the sort of person who attempts to spread a day’s work over a week, I opted for the hard work.

I mowed my lawn.

Alright, alright, mowing a lawn isn’t particularly hard. I know that. I also broke out the gas trimmer, if that makes a difference. It’s still physical labor, and it was still hot enough at eight in the evening that I was sweating like a nervous pig before I was done with the front and back yards — sweat ought to count for something.

I like a bit of manual labor now and then. I’m fortunate enough to have a job — if you can call being a graduate student a job — where most of the hard work I do is mental; mowing the yard or trimming trees or working on my bicycles is a way of staying balanced. And I much prefer having the mental hard work outweigh the physical hard work: I wouldn’t want to dig ditches all day and then read War and Peace in the evenings to unwind, mostly because I wouldn’t want to dig ditches all day. Have you ever dug a ditch? It’s not fun.

You should try it sometime anyway.

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One Comment on “Day 154: Hard work day.”

  1. Jeff says:

    i have dug a ditch. i don’t mind digging ditches in particular. hell, i even kind of like it.

    at the end of the day, there’s a ditch where, at the beginning of the day, there was just some ground. in grad school, the end and the beginning of the day are basically the same. but oddly enough grad school pays more, at least hypothetically and in the long run.


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