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Work

  • The people I work with are like family. I don't mean this in a nice way.

  • Work did bestow dignity, status, meaning. Wasn't that why people dreaded unemployment, why some men found retirement so traumatic?

  • But I have always thought the only genius that's worth anything is the genius for hard work.

  • ... in modern society, fear of unemployment remains the darkest of the shadows thrown by the past. In an industrial order, a man out of work is almost a man out of life.

  • He works so hard, Jeff, and I wish I could persuade him to take things a little more easily; but it would be like inducing a sledge hammer to loiter on the downward arc.

  • Nothing can convince me that people are at one with their work unless they're joyous about it.

    • Indira Gandhi,
    • in Dorothy Norman, ed., Indira Gandhi: Letters to An American Friend 1950-1984 ()
  • That society exists to frustrate the individual may be seen from its attitude to work. It is only morally acceptable if you do not want to do it. If you do want to, it becomes a personal pleasure.

  • The best augury of a man's success in his profession is that he thinks it the finest in the world.

  • Our work can never be better than we are ourselves.

    • George Sand,
    • 1876, in Francis Steegmuller and Barbara Bray, eds., Flaubert-Sand: The Correspondence ()
  • If we do not like our work, and do not try to get happiness out of it, we are a menace to our profession as well as to ourselves.

  • We cannot afford to divide ourselves into two compartments, one for work and one for pleasure. Our work must be our pleasure. ... We must do the work that is a pleasure to do, that work that though it wear us to the bone, provides a joyous wearing.

  • I'd like to have money. And I'd like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that's too adorable, I'd rather have money.

    • Dorothy Parker,
    • in Malcolm Cowley, ed., Writers at Work, 1st series ()
  • My work is the only ground I've ever had to stand on.

    • Marilyn Monroe,
    • in Alan Levy, "A Good Long Look at Myself," Redbook ()
  • It has been said that work is the highest form of play.

  • As soon as one works for personal glory the work suffers. Only work for the sake of the work itself and the good it can do deserves success.

  • Work! work! that is my unfailing cure for all troubles.

  • I will work in my own way, according to the light that is in me.

  • ... I work for myself, which is fun. Except for when I call in sick. I know I'm lying.

  • Under the new system (aka capitalism, in this part of the world), huge numbers of people had to be convinced to work extra hard, at pitifully low wages, so that the employing class would not have to work at all. Overnight, with the help of a great number of preachers and other well-rested propagandists, work was upgraded from an indignity to an 'ethic.'

  • As a general rule, when something gets elevated to apple-pie status in the hierarchy of American values, you have to suspect that its actual monetary value is skidding toward zero. Take motherhood: nobody ever thought of putting it on a moral pedestal until some brash feminists pointed out, about a century ago, that the pay is lousy and the career ladder nonexistent. Same thing with work: would we be so reverent about the 'work ethic' if it wasn't for the fact that the average working stiff's hourly pay is shrinking, year by year ...

  • Labor is like motherhood to most of our political leaders: a calling so fine and noble that it would be sullied by talk of vulgar, mundane things like pay.

  • ... no job, no matter how lowly, is truly 'unskilled.'

  • It's not just the work that has to be learned in each situation. Each job presents a self-contained social world, with its own personalities, hierarchy, customs, and standards.

  • ... A man builds himself through working. There can be no substitute for work, neither affection nor physical well-being can replace it.

  • For workaholics, all the eggs of self-esteem are in the basket of work.

  • No matter what the job description says, your real job is to make the boss look good.

  • Corporations, being only human, make mistakes. Sometimes you may end up working for one of those mistakes.

  • If work is not its own reward, there comes no other pay worth having.

  • What a denial of our humanity that at the centers of power, where decisions are made, there is no room for nurturing, for love, and children. There is more to life than the 'inhuman' work place. It is terrible that many men do not know that: it is a tragedy if women follow them.

    • Dora Russell,
    • in Dale Spender, There's Always Been a Women's Movement This Century ()
  • Most of us work in places where a person who wants to block something has an easier route than a person who wants to accomplish something.

  • There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of workers in the world, the people who do all the work, and the people who think they do all the work. The latter class is generally the busiest, the former never has time to be busy.

  • I am fierce for work. Without work I am nothing.

  • God give me work / Till my life shall end / And life / Till my work is done.

  • ... a human being must have occupation, if he or she is not to become a nuisance to the world.

  • Unless we do change our whole way of thought about work, I do not think we shall ever escape from the appalling squirrel-cage of economic confusion in which we have been madly turning for the last three centuries or so, the cage in which we landed ourselves by acquiescing in a social system based upon Envy and Avarice. A society in which consumption has to be artificially stimulated in order to keep production going is a society founded on trash and waste ...

  • ... work is not, primarily, a thing one does to live, but the thing one lives to do. It is, or it should be, the full expression of the worker's faculties ...

  • What we make is more important than what we are, particularly if making is our profession.

    • Dorothy L. Sayers,
    • 1940, in Barbara Reynolds, ed., The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers, vol. 2 ()
  • We ought to recognise the profound gulf between the work to which we are 'called' and the work we are forced into as a means of livelihood.

    • Dorothy L. Sayers,
    • 1941, in Barbara Reynolds, ed., The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers, vol. 2 ()
  • In a total work, the failures have their not unimportant place.

  • It is good for a professional to be reminded that his professionalism is only a husk, that the real person must remain an amateur, a lover of the work.

  • I am not at all in favor of hard work for its own sake; many people who work very hard indeed produce terrible things, and should most certainly not be encouraged.

  • Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.

  • The letter of application ... should be a masterpiece of fiction, papering over all the cracks. Get it properly typed on decent writing paper. Never let it run over the page, people get bored with reading.

  • Go to lots of interviews, at least one a month even when you don't need a job, to keep in training for when you do.

  • Always be nice to everyone in the firm on the way up. You never know who you may meet on the way down.

  • Although it is the biggest time-waster in office life, you must never underrate the importance of the memo. You will be judged by the volume of your paper work.

  • The memo's chief function ... is as a track-coverer, so that you can turn on someone six months later and snarl: 'Well, you should have known about it, I sent you a memo.'

  • Never drink black coffee at lunch; it will keep you awake in the afternoon.

  • Life loses its zest when there is nothing left to work for.

  • I believe that if a man does a job as well as a woman, he should be paid as much.

    • Celeste Holm,
    • in Sandra Lee Jackson, Past and Promise ()
  • The best work is a fusion of love and praise.

  • ... the middle manager is doomed to remain just that. Once an office rat, always an office rat.

  • 'Manager' is a title, not a function. It's better to be one than not. Since you spend all day doing the job of the person above you, the higher up you are, the less you have to do.

  • ... although the typist has disappeared, her work has not: now you do it yourself. ... Since most companies have reduced the managerial ranks, there are fewer and fewer bosses, so you become a manager, his boss, and his secretary all rolled into one.

  • Remember that work is not a place for self-fulfillment. If it were, you would know it.

  • What you do is ultimately pointless. You could be replaced any day of the week with the first moron who walks in the door. So work as little as possible, and spend a little time (not too much, though) 'selling yourself' and 'networking' so that you will have backup and will be untouchable (and untouched) the next time the company is restructured.

  • Never, under any circumstances, accept a position of responsibility. You will be forced to work harder with no other benefits than a few extra bucks — 'peanuts,' as they say, if that.

  • In the biggest companies, seek out the most useless positions: those in consultancy, appraisal, research, and study. The more useless your position, the less possible it will be to assess your 'contribution to the firm's assets.'

  • When you're 'recruiting' people in temporary positions for the firm (short-term contracts, free-lancers, etc.) treat them well: remember, they're the only ones who actually do any work.

  • I scarcely remember any writer who has ever ventured to say that the half of the work of the world is actually accomplished by women; and very few husbands who would be otherwise than greatly startled and amazed, if not indignant, if not derisive, at the suggestion of such an idea as that the work of their wives was equal to their own.

  • Work ... is redemption.

  • I'm a work horse. I like to work. I always did. I think that there is such a thing as energy, creation overflowing. And I always felt that I have this great energy and it was bound to sort of burst at the seams, so that my work automatically took its place with a mind like mine. I've never had a day when I didn't want to work. I've never had a day like that. And I knew that a day I took away from the work did not make me too happy. I just feel that I'm in tune with the right vibrations in the universe when I'm in the process of working. ... In my studio I'm as happy as a cow in her stall.

  • I believe in my work and the joy of it. You have to be with the work and the work has to be with you. It absorbs you totally and you absorb it totally. Everything must fall by the wayside by comparison.

  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, / All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

  • The pitcher cries for water to carry / and a person for work that is real.

  • What a richly colored strong warm coat / is woven when love is the warp and work is the woof.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The inquisition," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • Work is its own cure. You have to / like it better than being loved.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "For the young who want to," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • ... there is no existence so content as that whose present is engrossed by employment, and whose future is filled by some strong hope, the truth of which is never proved. Toil and illusion are the only secrets to make life tolerable ...

  • To work is not only a right, it is a duty. To work to the full capacity of one's powers is necessary for human development — the full use of one's best faculties — this is the health and happiness for both man and woman.

  • The women who do the most work get the least money, and the women who have the most money do the least work.

  • If fifty men did all the work, / And gave the price to five, / And let those five make all the rules — / You'd say the fifty men were fools, / Unfit to be alive.

  • The first duty of a human is to assume the right functional relationship to society — more briefly, to find your real job, and do it.

  • The person who knows 'how' will always have a job. The person who knows 'why' will always be his boss.

  • To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.

  • The secret of joy in work is contained in one word — excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.

  • There is no bleaker moment in the life of the city than that one which crosses the boundary lines between those who have not slept all night and those who are going to work. It was ... as if two races of men and women lived on earth, the night people and the day people, never meeting face to face except at this moment.

  • One should not be assigned one's identity in society by the job slot one happens to fill. If we truly believe in the dignity of labor, any task can be performed with equal pride because none can demean the basic dignity of a human being.

  • The simple idea that everyone needs a reasonable amount of challenging work in his or her life, and also a personal life, complete with noncompetitive leisure, has never really taken hold.

  • To work — to work! It is such infinite delight to know that we still have the best things to do.

    • Katherine Mansfield,
    • letter to Bertrand Russell (1917), in J. Middleton Murry, ed., The Letters of Katherine Mansfield, vol. 1 ()
  • I don't believe other people are ever as foolishly excited as I am while I'm working. How could they be? Writers would have to live in trees.

    • Katherine Mansfield,
    • 1920, in J. Middleton Murry, ed., The Letters of Katherine Mansfield, vol. 2 ()
  • There are so many ways of earning a living and most of them are failures.

  • When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, without faith and without hope, suddenly the work will finish itself.

    • Isak Dinesen,
    • in Glenway Wescott, Images of Truth: Remembrances and Criticism ()
  • I am doomed to an eternity of compulsive work. No set goal achieved satisfies. Success only breeds a new goal. The golden apple devoured has seeds. It is endless.

  • To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given the chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy. As everyone else, I love to dunk my crust in it. But alone, it is not a diet designed to keep body and soul together.

  • It has been my experience that one cannot, in any shape or form, depend on human relations for lasting reward. It is only work that truly satisfies.

  • We get something to do and as soon as we've got it, it gets us.

  • ... let us be content in work / To do the thing we can, and not presume / To fret because it's little.

  • Measure not the work / Until the day's out and the labor done; / Then bring your gauges.

  • Luck is not chance — / It's Toil — / Fortune's expensive smile / Is earned — ...

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • c. 1875, in Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson ()
  • The days one works are the best days.

  • We need love and creative imagination to do constructive work.

  • Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work.

  • You cannot be really first-rate at your work if your work is all you are.

  • I believe that no one is sent into this world without a work to do; there is nothing without its mission in the whole catalogue of created things, and it is not likely that we, 'made in the image of God' and 'only a little lower than the angels,' will be exempt from our share of usefulness. What the special life-work of each one of us may be I cannot tell; it depends entirely on our surroundings and opportunities. Each one must decide for herself what her duties are, and in what manner she can work to the best advantage.

  • It is better to wear out than to rust out.

  • The tumult of my fretted mind / Gives me expression of a kind; / But it is faulty, harsh, not plain - / My work has the incompetence of pain.

    • Anna Wickham,
    • "Self Analysis," The Contemplative Quarry ()
  • The best careers advice given to the young ... is 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it' ...

  • We are not yet, in America, using labor-saving devices to decrease labor, but only to increase standards!

  • Just having a job, any job, is not quite enough. Real joy in work comes when the job is necessary.

  • I hate Sunday, I can't wait for Monday so I can go back to work again.

  • When a man, a woman, see their little daily tasks as integral portions of the one great work, they are no longer drudges but co-workers with God.

  • I went back to being an amateur, in the sense of somebody who loves what she is doing. If a professional loses the love of work, routine sets in, and that's the death of work and of life.

    • Ade Bethune,
    • in Judith Stoughton, Proud Donkey of Schaerbeek ()
  • Cease to be a drudge [in your work], seek to be an artist.

  • I am so full of my work, I can't stop to eat or sleep, or for anything but a daily run.

  • Work is and always has been my salvation and I thank the Lord for it.

  • I've tried to be totally present, so that when I'm finished with a piece of work, I'm finished. ... The work, once completed, does not need me. The work I'm working on needs my total concentration. The one that's finished doesn't belong to me anymore. It belongs to itself.

    • Maya Angelou,
    • in Claudia Tate, ed., Black Women Writers at Work ()
  • Baby, all you have to do is stay black and die ... The work is the thing, and what matters at the end of the day is, were you sweet, were you kind, did you get the work done?

    • Maya Angelou,
    • in Nellie Bly, Oprah: Up Close and Down Home ()
  • No good work is ever done while the heart is hot and anxious and fretted.

    • Olive Schreiner,
    • 1884, in Richard Rive, ed., Olive Schreiner Letters, vol. 1 ()
  • People who work hard often work too hard. ... May we learn to honor the hammock, the siesta, the nap and the pause in all its forms.

  • Maslow had the genius to study 'well' people rather than the sick and discovered that all fully functioning, joyful, productive, and self-actualizing people have one trait in common: chosen work or vocation.

  • The ability to make a living and a difference is not a luxury. It's the essence of a dignified life ...

  • In work, as in love, you need a proper mixture of romance and realism to get you through. Most of us err on the side of so-called realism. We keep our heads down and our options open and our résumés so very sedate. But consider the benefits of erring on the romantic side, the side that's concerned not with adapting to the old but with imagining and building the new.

  • Finding your work in the world is like finding your soul mate: open-ended, full of possibility, and therefore terrifying. The world is so complex and fluid that it's rarely possible to map out more than the crudest approximation of the path you need to follow. But each muddling movement along the path gives you new information about who you are, what you need, and what is required to meet those needs — if only you keep paying attention. The ability to find wisdom in moment-to-moment reality, and to function with both adaptability and integrity, may be the ultimate career survival skill for the '90s and beyond.

  • ... work is a basic principle of life, health and usefulness.

  • Work, and your house shall be duly fed: / Work, and rest shall be won; / I hold that a man had better be dead / Than alive when his work is done.

    • Alice Cary,
    • "Work," Ballads, Lyrics, and Hymns ()
  • ... under a monopolistic economic system the opportunity to earn a living by one's labour comes to be regarded as a privilege instead of a natural right. Women are simply held to be less entitled to this privilege than men.

  • It is commonplace in this century that women form the leisure class; and this leisure class of women, like leisured classes everywhere, has its leisure at the expense of other people, who in this case are the husbands.

    • Suzanne La Follette,
    • "Institutional Marriage and Its Economic Aspects," Concerning Women ()
  • No honest work of man or woman 'fails'; / It feeds the sum of all human action.

    • Michelene Wandor,
    • "Aurora Leigh" (1979), in Michelene Wandor, ed., Plays by Women ()
  • Work elevates, idleness degrades.

  • ... work is happiness. No one can take my work from me and therefore no one can take my happiness from me.

    • Marie Corelli,
    • in Thomas F.G. Coates and R.S. Warren Bell, Marie Corelli ()
  • If I had to give up performing, it wouldn't bother me too much. But I couldn't live without my writing. I put all my feelings, my very soul, into my writing. I tell the world in my songs things I wouldn't even tell my husband.

    • Dolly Parton,
    • in Lola Scobey, Dolly, Daughter of the South ()
  • Work is both an expression of my sacred center and a means by which to live more fully from that center.

    • Anne Miner-Pearson,
    • in Mary Pinney Erickson and Betty Kling, eds., Streams From the Sacred River ()
  • I do not know who the hellcats are who run employment agencies, but I am sure that they came from the womb spitting and clawing. ... I had walked into their offices in New York and crawled out under the door.

  • I learned that making art is work. It was the beginning of a belligerent commitment. For instance, now I go to my studio every day. Some days the work comes easily. Other days nothing happens. Yet on the good days the inspiration is only an accumulation of all the other days, the nonproductive days.

  • ... after several months of probation work, standing on my feet some ten to twelve hours a day, I decided that as a nurse I was a pretty good entertainer.

  • How defeated and restless the child that is not doing something in which it sees a purpose, a meaning! It is by its self-directed activity that the child, as years pass, finds its work, the thing it wants to do and for which it finally is willing to deny itself pleasure, ease, even sleep and comfort.

  • There are times when I can't work, can't do anything. I can't concentrate, I get scattered, feel I'm dying ... I have thousands of ideas I don't ever get to. I see them all as a huge soup kettle ... Day and night I could work and still wouldn't do it all ...

    • Mary Frank,
    • in Eleanor Munro, Originals: American Women Artists ()
  • ... neither woman nor man lives by work, or love, alone ... The human self defines itself and grows through love and work: all psychology before and after Freud boils down to that.

  • The antidote to envy is one's own work. Always one's own work. Not the thinking about it. Not the assessing of it. But the doing of it. The answers you want can come only from the work itself.

  • ... it's immoral to work to make money. There's something unlucky in it. You got to work for the work. You got to work on a farm, for the farm — then it makes money.

  • ... the compulsion to work long years in pursuit of some inner vision must be fueled by stubborn fires.

  • I had thought, in my blindness, that the great things were the easiest to do, but now I see that drudgery is an inseparable part of everything worth while, and the more worth while it is, the more drudgery is involved.

  • The spirit in which one earns his daily bread means as much to his soul as the bread itself may mean to his body.

  • Skilled labor teaches something not to be found in books or in colleges.

  • The question was not how to get a job, but how to live by such jobs as I could get.

  • ... no job is a good job if it isn't good for you.

  • One's first responsible job is the great revealer — far more than school.

  • Definite gifts render their possessors capable of overcoming any obstacle this side of death; they create an impetus of far more genuine value than external advantages in some other career where the impulse to make use of them remains weak or non-existent. The work that one enjoys is the greatest source of happiness and vitality in life.

  • Manual labor to my father was not only good and decent for its own sake but, as he was given to saying, it straightened out one's thoughts.

  • Work and play are the same. When you're following your energy and doing what you want all the time, the distinction between work and play dissolves.

  • ... work ... has always been my favorite form of recreation.

  • Everyone likes to talk shop, which is the most interesting talk in the world, in the beginning.

  • ... I have lost faith in universal panaceas — work is the one thing in which I really believe.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • letter to Harriet Monroe (1931), in Ruth Limmer, ed., What the Woman Lived ()
  • The big shots are not the only ones who are important. Remember, you can't sell anything on Wall Street unless someone digs it up somewhere else first.

  • Work, alternated with needful rest, is the salvation of man or woman.

  • If people take a breather and enjoy themselves, you'll get a thousand times more work from them. The best work is done when people are motivated, and enjoyment is a major factor.

    • Janice LaRouche,
    • in Janice LaRouche and Regina Ryan, Janice LaRouche's Strategies for Women at Work ()
  • In most fields of endeavor there are no easy jobs; there are only graceful ways of performing difficult ones.

  • What turns a work crisis into a life crisis is the infusion of dread.

  • Work in some form or other is the appointed lot of all ...

    • Anna Jameson,
    • "The Communion of Labor" (1856), in Sisters of Charity, Catholic and Protestant, and the Communion of Labor ()
  • ... work is elevated by our daily environment into something that is appropriately done everywhere and at every conceivable moment.

  • Whether you're moving to a new company or a new department within your current organization, I believe you'll end up miles ahead if you shop for a boss, not a position. You may secure the greatest job in the world, but a miserable boss will turn gold into ashes. ... In many ways, your boss may be more important than the job.

    • Pat Heim,
    • with Susan K. Golant, Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business ()
  • Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.

  • ... she had always found occupation to be one of the best medicines for an afflicted mind ...

  • Human history is work history. The heroes of the people are work heroes.

  • Why is admitting that you work because you need the money a shameful thing, like snoring?

  • Because it is less structured than work, leisure time leaves workaholics at a loss for what to do. Workaholics practicallly climb the wall when they can't work.

  • ... workaholics are energized rather than enervated by their work — their energy paradoxically expands as it is expended.

  • One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done ...

  • The best antidote to worry, I have always believed, is work and more work ...

  • ... work has indeed been my best beauty treatment. I believe in hard work. It keeps the wrinkles out of the mind and the spirit.

  • Is that what they call a vocation, what you do with joy as if you had fire in your heart, the devil in your body?

    • Josephine Baker,
    • in Jean-Claude Baker and Chris Chase, Josephine Baker: The Hungry Heart ()
  • The stuff they wrote about me in Europe made me feel alive. Over here some damn body is always trying to embalm me. I'm always making a comeback, but nobody ever tells me where I've been.

  • One very important difference between white people and black people is that white people think that you are your work ... Now, black people think that my work is just what I have to do to get what I want.

  • If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing twice.

  • I know that anybody who does all this and doesn't have to, everything thinks she's very driven. The truth is, I enjoy it all so! Can't it be that simple? I think it is! I don't feel overworked. I get a constant kick out of being heavily committed. Is that sick or something? God, what would I do sitting still?

  • Do what you love, the money will follow.

  • ... it was a sly trick of God's to give a man work to do — it kept him from asking questions that God couldn't answer.

  • Dedication to one's work in the world is the only possible sanctification. Religion in all its forms is dedication to Someone Else's work, not yours.

  • ... the capacity to work feeds on itself and has its own course of development. This is what artists have going for them.

  • The hours are rough in advertising — and in particular here at The Miller Agency. Mike Miller has a saying: if you don't come in on Saturday, don't bother coming in on Sunday.

  • Don't confuse having a career with having a life. They are not the same.

  • The one important thing I have learnt over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking oneself seriously. The first is imperative and the second disastrous.

  • Aging is the most idiosyncratic of all human processes and predictions cannot be made about any individual's aging career.

  • It's interesting to note that a deadline was a real line prisoners were forced to stand on while they waited to be shot during the French Revolution. Some things haven't changed. We still feel the same way about dealing with deadlines.

  • Work! / Thank God for the swing of it, / For the clamoring, hammering ring of it.

    • Angela Morgan,
    • "Work: A Song of Triumph," The Hour Has Struck: A War Poem, and Other Poems ()
  • I don't know that there are any short cuts to doing a good job.

  • ... I have never expected anything from my work but the satisfaction I could get from it by the very fact of painting and saying what I couldn't say otherwise.

    • Frida Kahlo,
    • 1939, in Martha Zamora, ed., The Letters of Frida Kahlo: Cartas Apasionadas ()
  • What being among the 'right people' entails is the possession of human capital, rather than organizational capital: an individual reputation, portable skills, and network connections. Career responsibility is squarely in the hands of individuals, a function of their knowledge and networks. Transferable knowledge is more important to a career than firm-specific knowledge.

  • Not everyone in an organization is in a position to accumulate power through competent performance because most people are just carrying out the ordinary and the expected — even if they do it very well. The extent to which a job is routinized fails to give an advantage to anyone doing it because 'success' is seen as inherent in the very establishment of the position and the organization surrounding it. Neither persons nor organizations get 'credit' for doing the mandatory or the expected.

  • ... the ability to take pride in your own work is one of the hallmarks of sanity. Take away the ability to both work and be proud of it and you can drive anyone insane.

    • Nikki Giovanni,
    • in Gloria Wade-Gayles, ed., My Soul Is a Witness ()
  • Work, and hard work, are but synonyms for what one dislikes to do. Given a congenial occupation, and the energies of the worker may be pushed to their greatest and highest capability for endurance without making the work anything but pleasure, and the individual, the community — in fact, all the world, are the gainers thereby.

  • To me, working is a form of sustenance, like food or water, and nearly as essential.

  • To love what you do and feel that it matters — how could anything be more fun?

  • When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more brick layers.

  • If you think you can do two full-time jobs, people will expect you to do three.

  • Work is a slice of your life. It's not the entire pizza.

  • The sweat of hard work is not to be displayed. It is much more graceful to appear favored by the gods.

  • The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of work.

  • Just as there are no little people or unimportant lives, there is no insignificant work.

  • Work itself is the reward. If I choose challenging work it will pay me back with interest. At least I'll be interested even if nobody else is. And this attempt for excellence is what sustains the most well lived and satisfying, successful lives.

  • Much of the work of every life is done in the dark.

    • Julia Ward Howe,
    • in Laura Elizabeth Howe Richards, Maud Howe Elliott, and Florence Howe Hall, Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910, vol. 1 ()
  • Six months of looking for a job had made me an expert at picking out the people who, like me, were hurrying up to wait — in somebody's outer anything for a chance to make it through their inner doors to prove that you could type two words a minute, or not drool on your blouse while answering difficult questions about your middle initial and date of birth.

  • If all men and women were kept at some useful employment there would be less sorrow and wickedness in the world ...

  • My priorities have always been God first, family second, career third. I have found that when I put my life in this order, everything seems to work out. ... Making God and family top priorities does not demean the role work plays in our lives. After all, where do we spend more of our waking hours than at work?

  • I believe that there is no such thing as a subordinate. If the air-conditioning ceases to work in our building, then the repair technician becomes more important than the chairman of the board. We're all people working together toward a common objective.

  • [On the 1963 Nobel Prize in physics:] ... winning the prize wasn't half as exciting as doing the work itself.

  • I don't think that work ever really destroyed anybody. I think that lack of work destroys them a hell of a lot more.

  • Work is creativity accompanied by the comforting realization that one is bringing forth something really good and necessary, with the conviction that a sudden, arbitrary cessation would cause a sensitive void, produce a loss.

    • Jenny Heynrichs,
    • "Was Ist Arbeit?" in Neue Bahnen, Organ des Allgemeinen Deutschen Frauenvereins ()
  • It's only work if you would rather be doing something else.

  • The fame you earn has a different taste from the fame that is forced upon you.

  • Work is a world apart from jobs. Work is the way you occupy your mind and hand and eye and whole body when they're informed by your imagination and wit, by your keenest perceptions, by your most profound reflections on everything you've read and seen and heard and been part of. You may or may not be paid to do your work.

  • I am gradually approaching the period in my life when work comes first ... No longer diverted by other emotions, I work the way a cow grazes.

    • Käthe Kollwitz,
    • letter (1910), in Hans Kollwitz, ed., The Diaries and Letters of Käthe Kollwitz ()
  • For the last third of life there remains only work. It alone is always stimulating, rejuvenating, exciting and satisfying.

    • Käthe Kollwitz,
    • 1912, in Hans Kollwitz, ed., The Diaries and Letters of Käthe Kollwitz ()
  • ... it is not hard work which is dreary; it is superficial work.

  • When I work I feel more alive than under any other circumstances. There's not an 'I love you' in the world that can match it. I feel safe, excited, at peace, erotic, centered. Nothing can touch me.

  • We are tired by the work we do not do, not by what we do.

  • You can't build a chimney from the top, you know.

    • Marian Anderson,
    • with Emily Kimbrough, "My Life in a White World," in Ladies' Home Journal ()
  • The first nice day after several rainy days is called 'Monday.'

    • Lisa Cofield,
    • in Lisa Cofield, Debbie Dingerson, and Leah Rush, Mrs. Murphy's Laws ()
  • In my opinion, moderation is a vastly overrated virtue, particularly when applied to work.

  • My job ... I do nothing, it pays nothing, but — you guessed it — it's better than nothing.

    • Amy Hempel,
    • "Tonight Is a Favor to Holly," Reasons to Live ()
  • Every man's work, pursued steadily, tends in this way to become an end in itself, and so to bridge over the loveless chasms of his life.

  • To do the work that you are capable of doing is the mark of maturity.

  • From the moment when there is no longer any dishonor in working with one's hands, when work is even an honorable fact, all, rich and poor, will work.

    • Flora Tristan,
    • in Dominique Desanti, A Woman in Revolt: A Biography of Flora Tristan (trans. Elizabeth Zelvin) ()
  • In order to make financial health a reality for all Americans, we need to ensure that anyone who works hard for forty hours each week can earn enough to support a family. We need to provide everyone with the opportunity to work and a strong safety net that will help people manage when work doesn't work.

  • Workaholism is different from other ‘isms.’ Don’t let people badmouth it to you!

  • [On her early work in comedy:] If a trash can had a bulb, I played it. Strip joints. Places so Mafioso you were scared to say, 'Stop me if you've heard this.'

    • Joan Rivers,
    • in Richard Meryman, "Directing Her First Movie or Cracking up Carson, Joan Rivers Has Angst in Her Pants," People ()
  • ... it used to be almost the first question (just after 'Can you type?') in the standard female job interview: 'Are you now, or have you ever, contemplated marriage, motherhood, or the violent overthrow of the U.S. government?'

  • Women on the way up generally fail to win popularity contests. The only compensation is that once you're there you will become very well liked.

  • Nothing is more stylish than power.

  • Margaret was a corporate wife back in the days when that was the best job a woman could get in the business world.

  • ... they let her know that she was unwelcome, and a burden they did not know what to do with. Having to deal with a man who is over-qualified for a job is bad enough. To have to cope with an over-qualified woman in any situation is a complete misfortune.

  • Bigamy is nothing to a woman. She is wedded to her art and a man simultaneously.

  • ... being asked to decide between your passion for work and your passion for children was like being asked by your doctor whether you preferred him to remove your brain or your heart.

  • A woman's authority as new manager may be questioned, but her ability to do the work is not. Women have made their reputation within the company on their task performance, diligence, and concrete accomplishments. They face a turnaround in their priorities when they move from worker to manager. Their task, as manager, is to stop doing so much of the work. Paradoxically, the strengths that elevated a woman to manager are transformed into shortcomings within that position. Women who have always done more than their share of the work must learn to relinquish the substance of tasks to their subordinates.

  • Every great man has a woman behind him ... And every great woman has some man or other in front of her, tripping her up.

  • There is perhaps only one human being in a thousand who is passionately interested in his job for the job's sake. The difference is that if that one person in a thousand is a man, we say, simply, that he is passionately keen on his job; if she is a woman, we say she is a freak.

  • It is ridiculous to take on a man's job just in order to be able to say that 'a woman has done it — yah!' The only decent reason for tackling a job is that it is your job and you want to do it.

  • Women's work is always toward wholeness.

  • Homemakers work longer and harder than any other class of worker in the United States for less pay, and are the most likely to be replaced by a younger worker.

    • Gloria Steinem,
    • speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors' convention ()
  • If women act on developing a feminine orientation to their leadership style, they increase their opportunity for influencing the world.

  • If there is to be any romance in marriage woman must be given every chance to earn a decent living at other occupations. Otherwise no man can be sure that he is loved for himself alone, and that his wife did not come to the Registry Office because she had no luck at the Labour Exchange.

  • I have never heard of a male artist concerned about the effect of his growth and expansion on his family. We accept the fact that his work justifies all sacrifices. But woman does not feel this is enough of a justification.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • "The New Woman," in Ramparts Magazine ()
  • Broadly speaking, it would appear that the American woman, like her British kin beyond the sea, has taken a dip into every occupation. The advance of woman has been complete, and, with the exception of the United States army and navy, there are no blanks. She labors in the field and dairy, and thrives as a farmer, planter and overseer. She goes forth in a boat and braves the wind and sea in fishing, and drags the bed of the ocean for oysters. She may be found in lumber camps, doing duty as wood-chopper and lumberman, and even as a raftsman woman has tried her hand, and is not afraid to own up to the census man. With pick and dynamite she quarries stone and delves into the earth in search of the common minerals and the precious metals. In the professional world woman has made her appearance in every occupation save that of marshaling armies and conducting war. Her progress in professional life has been as marked as in trade and industry.

  • There is hardly a field of labor into which woman has not penetrated, and every day brings some new story of discovery and achievement.

  • As you progress up the career ladder, you invest ever greater portions of the day communicating. The Harvard Business Review schedule for a typical woman leader suggests that her day is roughly divided into: 20 percent reading, 20 percent writing (dictating and word processing), 40 percent formal presentations (she's also listening and speaking informally during these presentations), 30 percent in informal meetings (at which she speaks and listens while sitting). These figures add up to more than 100 percent because the communications overlap.

  • Let us in through the guarded gate, / Let us in for the world's sake.

  • The higher a woman moves up in the work world, the more likely she is to be entirely surrounded by men. She feels conspicuous, and she is. Whatever she does is apt to be judged in terms of her womanness. If she succeeds it's because she's different from most women; if she fails it's because she's just like a woman.

  • ... networking ... can change your whole way of thinking about what it takes to succeed in business. As a technique, it will introduce you to stimulating, knowledgeable allies you didn't know you had. As a process, it knows no limits — and neither will you if you use it to its fullest potential.

  • Reminds me of what one of mine wrote in a third-grade piece on how her mother spent her time. She reported 'one half time on home, one half time on outside things, one half time writing.'

  • The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.

  • ... under a monopolistic economic system the opportunity to earn a living by one's labour comes to be regarded as a privilege instead of a natural right. Women are simply held to be less entitled to this privilege than men.

  • ... I believe that the matter is automatically self-regulating; that those women who prefer the home and have an ability for it will eventually return to it; that others, like myself, will compromise; and that still others, temperamentally unfitted for it, will remain in the world to add to its productivity ...

  • Until 'mothers' earn their livings, 'women' will not.

  • ... women have fallen hook, line, and sinker for a terribly narrow, restrictive male definition of what it means to succeed. For more than fifteen years we have blindly accepted income, title, and power as our gods, exchanged them for home, hearth, and children. We have fought to mold ourselves into reasonable facsimiles of the men whose status in the professional world was a source of envy. And we did it by insisting that women, given the opportunity and the chance to compete, were basically no different from the men who excluded them by law, custom, and tradition.

  • ... the world is not always kind to a clever woman even when she is visibly known to be earning her own living. There are always spiteful tongues wagging in the secret corners and byways, ready to assert that her work is not her own and and that some man is in the background, helping to keep her!

  • At work, you think of the children you've left at home. At home, you think of the work you've left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself: your heart is rent.

  • ... to be successful, a woman has to be much better at her job than a man.

  • I find it very heartening that of the women I have questioned lately about their feelings towards their mother, all the ones whose faces light up and who say, 'She's wonderful' have been daughters of women who work outside the home.

  • Women who work at home rearing children and attending to various household tasks are expected to provide something that is absolutely essential yet costs nothing, like the air we breathe.

  • But oh, what a woman I should be if an able young man would consecrate his life to me as secretaries and technicians do to their men employers.

    • Mabel Ulrich,
    • "A Doctor's Diary, 1904-1932," in Scribner's Magazine ()
  • It is common to hear dedicated working women say they have to be twice as intelligent, three times as industrious, four times as enthusiastic, and work for half the money paid their male counterparts. Even then they may not be taken seriously. Many women feel that no matter how excellent their qualifications, the rise into management is blocked.

  • My piano playing again falls completely by the wayside, as is always the case when Robert composes. Not a single little hour can be found for me the entire day!

    • Clara Schumann,
    • 1841, in Gerd Nauhaus, ed., The Marriage Diaries of Robert and Clara Schumann ()
  • The more diligently my Robert pursues art, the less I accomplish therein; heaven knows! there always are hindrances and as small as our household is, there's always this and that to do, which robs me of time.

    • Clara Schumann,
    • 1841, in Gerd Nauhaus, ed., The Marriage Diaries of Robert and Clara Schumann ()
  • You think, dear Johannes, that because I occasionally lay something aside I am giving too many concerts. But think of my responsibilities — seven children still dependent on me, five who have yet to be educated, and next winter I shall have them all at home again.

    • Clara Schumann,
    • 1861, in Berthold Litzmann, ed., Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, vol. 1 ()
  • I got in great political trouble when I was asked, 'How can you be both a congresswoman and a mother?' and I replied, 'I have a brain and a uterus, and they both work.'

  • Discrimination against women in job assignments, training and promotion, affects employers and our total economy as much as it does women. To fail to maintain the pace is to come out second-rate as a nation.

  • If you look at what is currently being highlighted as the ultimate managerial style — the secret for management in the late eighties and early nineties — most management seminars will continually put up the Japanese as an example. Japanese managerial style is all about the very skills and qualities that have been traditionally described as feminine. The Japanese are personified motivators. They are into participatory style ... not into aggressive-dictatorial style, which is typically addressed as masculine. They are listeners. Empathizers. These are all the qualities that have historically been described as feminine. And they also, ironically enough, are what are being described now as Japanese. Heaven forbid they should be described as feminine!

  • ... in a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "The Heart and the Lyre" (1947), A Poet's Alphabet ()
  • Anyone who works at home, particularly a woman, is expected to also run the household and be a parent. The family tends to think, 'Oh, she's not really working, so it doesn't matter if she does it today or doesn't do it today — if I need her to go shopping for shoes, she will do it. So what if she doesn't work today.' That, unfortunately, has remained true through all these years. And, even now, as a successful writer, I think the family still tends to feel that way — 'So what if she doesn't work today.'

  • ... there is a vast arsenal of resistance to the idea of women as bosses. ... The usual feelings of competitiveness aroused when a new person wins out are multiplied a thousandfold when that new person happens to be a woman.

    • Janice LaRouche,
    • in Janice LaRouche and Regina Ryan, Janice LaRouche's Strategies for Women at Work ()
  • Having the right image — the way people see you — is crucial to getting what you want from work: respect, raises, promotions, good working relationships, and an easier time of it all around. This holds for everyone in the workplace, but the 'right' image is particularly essential for women because they have to overcome the handicap of being the 'wrong' sex.

    • Janice LaRouche,
    • in Janice LaRouche and Regina Ryan, Janice LaRouche's Strategies for Women at Work ()
  • Other problems confront women in power. One is fine but two's a crowd seems to be an unspoken rule when the one wears a skirt. And those in authority have found ways to reward women for excluding others of their kind.

  • The moment we accept the theory that women must enter wage-earning occupations only when compelled to do so by poverty, that moment we degrade labor and lower the status of all women who are engaged in it.

  • In the past, work was a mystery to women. But when we get into it we find that there's no mystery and no magic to it. Women have to spend less time thinking, 'Am I doing it the right way?' and start thinking, 'Am I doing it?'

  • I'd like to see workplaces where women don't have to check parts of themselves at the door.

  • ... there is only one role or job which no woman is or could be qualified to perform: Sperm donor.

  • ... women, when describing their roles in their organizations, usually referred to themselves as being in the middle of things. Not at the top, but in the center; not reaching down, but reaching out.

  • Women also lose sight of their goals by taking on extra responsibilities. We are virtual responsibility magnets. We don't make these decisions consciously or deliberately, but out of the fear that if we don't act on a need, it will never get resolved. ... But we fail to realize that once we become responsible for something, we may be responsible to it forever.

    • Pat Heim,
    • with Susan K. Golant, Hardball for Women: Winning at the Game of Business ()
  • Being a working mother means that you are always disappointing somebody.

  • Most women work one shift at the office or factory and a 'second shift' at home.

  • If I had ever learned to type, I never would have made brigadier general.

  • The world cannot afford the loss of the talents of half its people if we are to solve the many problems which beset us.

  • ... if networks of women are formed, they should be job related and task related rather than female-concerns related. Personal networks for sociability in the context of a work organization would tend to promote the image of women contained in the temperamental model — that companies must compensate for women's deficiencies and bring them together for support because they could not make it on their own. But job-related task forces serve the social-psychological functions while reinforcing a more positive image of women.

  • ... a woman's success is more likely to be explained by external factors like luck or ease of task, or by high effort, an internal but unstable factor, whereas a man's success is more likely to be attributed to high ability. The reverse is true for explanations of failure; men are said to fail because of hard luck, a hard task, or low effort, whereas women are said to fail because of low ability.

    • Bernice Lott,
    • "The Devalutaion of Women's Competence," in Janis S. Bohan, ed., Seldom Seen, Rarely Heard: Women's Place in Psychology ()
  • Seeking approval and acceptance from a male hierarchy in the workplace is an all-too-familiar and illusive goal to almost every woman of any age, and the search for personal and professional fulfillment while meeting the needs of children and husbands remains a juggling act. Should I be working, should I be home? Who needs me most or dare I be alone? The mental radar is always scanning the skies to see who needs what.

  • I don't want to send all the married women to work, but what I want is an economic situation where every woman who prefers to be a full-time homemaker and mother may do so, and every woman who wants to be in an outside situation has sufficient, satisfactory childcare available to her so that she can do it without feeling guilty.

    • Beryl Beaurepaire,
    • in Susan Mitchell, The Matriarchs: Twelve Australian Women Talk About Their Lives ()
  • Women who bear children before they establish serious habits of work may never establish them at all.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "Creativity Versus Maternity," What Do Women Want? ()
  • Unpaid work never commands respect; it is the paid worker who has brought to the public mind conviction of woman's worth.

  • You don't ask a man, 'Do you want to be in control [of your job]?' You assume he wants control. Why would a woman be any different?

  • [Children] use up the same part of my head as poetry does. To deal with children is a matter of terrific imaginative identification. And the children have to come first. It's no use putting off their evening meal for two months.

    • Libby Houston,
    • in Cheris Kramarae and Paula A. Treichler, A Feminist Dictionary ()
  • If you were to survey celebrated women, with every step toward real success there came a baby.

  • How to go to work when your husband is against it, your children aren't old enough and there's nothing you can do anyhow.

  • Women have been in business such a long time now, they have for so many years been accepted on the same terms with men, that it seems almost archaic to caution them about expecting special courtesies and favors because of their sex.

  • ... the woman who holds an important position in a business organization does so because she is making some special contribution to that organization. ... She fills a niche that is important to the survival chances of that company.

    • Dorée Smedley,
    • in Dorée Smedley and Lura Robinson, Careers in Business for Women ()
  • There appears to be a disturbing trend in this nation to try to force single moms to choose between their children and their careers. If they take their careers seriously, they are labeled as bad mothers. If they spend time with their children, they are labeled as people who can't be serious about careers outside the home. This is a sexist double standard. No such guilt trip is imposed on men, who are generally not forced to choose between their children and their jobs.

  • [On the attitude of the few women in her university department in the 1960s:] We said we'd make coffee if everyone would take their turn. And by damn, we never had coffee all year.

  • Women were relegated to an inferior caste ... most dramatically with the coming of industrialization. 'Women's work' was segregated from significant human activity.

  • Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you're wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn't love you anymore.

    • Lady Gaga,
    • in Amber L. Davisson, Lady Gaga and the Remaking of Celebrity Culture ()
  • Women occupy, in great masses, the 'household tasks' of industry. They are nurses but not doctors, secretaries but not executives, researchers but not writers, workers but not managers, bookkeepers but not promoters.

    • Vivian Gornick,
    • "The Next Great Moment in History Is Theirs," Essays in Feminism ()
  • [On women in the workforce:] Most of them went 'straight up the down escalator.'

  • If all men labored hard every hour of the twenty-four, they could not do all the work of the world.

  • What's the worst part of being a woman in business? We asked these three men what they think.

  • How much should you smile during your job interview? The answer is not too much and definitely not too little. Try practicing a smile that's somewhere in between, even if it makes you look like you're having a stroke.

  • Telling your coworkers about future family plans is risky. If they think you'll be going on maternity leave soon, they could immediately start to count you out for future projects. Try to keep your pregnancy a secret until your child is at least eighteen years old.

  • Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious offense and will not be tolerated, except in cases where the harasser was clearly joking and you need to relax.