Can We Guess If You Have a Strong Work Ethic?

EMPLOYMENT

Zoe Samuel

6 Min Quiz

Image: Caroline Schiff / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

These days, people are working harder than has been the case in 40 years, and they're not getting as much for it: One estimate suggests that if wages had tracked worker productivity or gains by the top incomes, the median household income in America would be closer to $85,000 than the current $59,000. That means that a great work ethic used to be optional, but is becoming ever more necessary to simply survive in the world.

This is insanely unfair, but everyone has their own way of coping with it. Some say, "Screw it" and just do the minimum; they know the game is no longer winnable and conclude the only way to win is not to play. The vast majority do their best and try to carve out what space they can for their personal relationships and goals, and if they find a fulfilling, decently paid or stimulating job (or, holy of holies, one that is all three!) then they count their blessings.

Meanwhile, some people double down on the rat race. They figure that if only the top 10 percent are really reaping the rewards, then they need to be in that group. They decide to make like the shire horse Boxer in George Orwell's "Animal Farm" and simply respond to all challenges by saying, "I will work harder!" While some simply don't have the chance to meaningfully choose that option, and others work themselves to the breaking point under the combined weight of paid work, care work and other responsibilities, a few of the super-workers make it through to the sunlit uplands of a balanced life, with fulfilling, well-remunerated work. Which of these sounds like you? Let's find out!

How often did you raise your hand in elementary school?

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Do you fear burnout?

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How ambitious are you?

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What is "full-time" to you?

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Does your workplace suffer from a culture of "presenteeism"?

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How would you complete the following sentence: "Well begun is..."?

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How much of a procrastinator are you?

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What's your primary form of exercise?

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Is the word "can't" in your vocabulary?

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In "Lord of the Rings", Bilbo Baggins says he feels, "Thin, like butter that's been scraped across too much bread." Can you relate?

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What time do you get up?

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Would you ever accept a party invitation on a school night?

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Where do you think you're headed in life?

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How many people do you typically take care of in at least some way during the day, all the way from making their tea to doing their copying to feeding or bathing them?

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What is the hardest day's work you've ever done, in terms of the task you did?

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What is the longest day's work you've ever done?

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How many hours of sleep do you get per night?

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Do you feel like the rat race is winnable for you?

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What is the point of work, in your view?

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Are you available to your workplace outside regular office hours?

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Have you ever pulled a sickie when you weren't sick?

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If you won $10m on the lottery, what would you do about your work?

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How many full-length books do you read per year that aren't required by your job?

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How long a vacation can you take before you get antsy?

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At what charge level on your phone do you get low-battery anxiety?

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What is the most meaningful work you do most days?

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How tidy is your home?

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How do you mentally justify spending time or money on something nice for yourself, like a massage?

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Do you feel like if you aren't always optimizing yourself, you're falling behind?

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What do we say to the gods of housework?

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