Work Fast or Work Right?
No matter where you live or who you are, you will encounter work. We usually think of work as a job or occupation, something you do to earn money or food. But it can be much more. Work is any task, or set of tasks, that make you wish you were doing something else, even if that is just another type of work. Going to an everyday job is fulfilling, but working on that novel would me more fulfilling. Nothing is as fulfilling as just playing games and having fun all the time.
A lot of people really do enjoy working. They move seamlessly from task to task like dynamos of productivity. I have a love-hate relationship with work. On one hand, I hate it. On the other, I love when it’s finished. The best part of any job is when you get to stand back, look at your achievement, and know you don’t have to work on it anymore. A completed task must fill a narrow niche in order to be most satisfying. I don’t want to have to work on anything forever. And yet, I don’t want to leave anything unfinished.
There is an episode of The Simpsons where Bart is sent to a Juvenile Detention Hall, or whatever the correct term for a kid prison these days.
At a big dance in the Juvie gym, Bart seizes the opportunity to escape from a high window. The Warden calls out to the Janitor to shut the window. The Janitor, calm and steady, takes a hook on the edge of a long stick and tries to fulfill the request, but he misses several times. “Can’t you go any faster?” The Warden yells as Bart escapes.
And the Janitor says, “I can do it fast, or I can do it right.”
You can view the clip here.
I’m not sure if the Janitor’s statement is true. Maybe there are things you can do fast and right, like racecar driving or catching snakes.
But lets say there is an inevitable choice between doing things quickly and doing them correctly. When faced with such a dilemma, I like to think I would choose Right over Fast. The truth is, I probably would not. I would choose to work fast. After all, then I could get more stuff done. It might not be perfect, but there will be a lot of it, and it will still be pretty good.
If I choose to get more things done fast over fewer things done correctly, what does that say about how I really feel about morality? Is simply finishing something more or less important than making sure it’s done right? When its all over and fingers start pointing, is it justifiable to say this? “Hey, at least I did something. Even if it wasn’t perfect.”
It is quite the dilemma. Especially when you consider that when I work fast its not really so I can get more stuff done. When I do things fast it means everything gets finished. And I still have plenty of time to do nothing. Unless playing video games and watching TV counts as something.