Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Work Ethics

Let's talk for a moment about successful people.

They have a commonality, whether they're Brittany Spears or Michael Jordan or Bill Gates or Nora Roberts. It isn't genius, or talent, or luck, though they may have some of that.

No, the thing that most success stories have in common is: Hard work, perserverence, and sacrifice.

Nobody gets handed a successful career. There are failures beforehand. Adversity. Set-backs. Mistakes. Learning curves. Hurdles to overcome. Refusal to give up.

Not too many bestselling authors debuted at #1 on the List. It was a gradual climb, over many years and many books. Lots of writing. Lots of promotion. Lots of persevervence and dedication.

I have life-long friends in Corporate America, and I find it interesting how many parallels there are between their careers and mine. We'll talk about long work weeks, and travel, and business politics and gossip, and competition. What happens in the publishing undustry happens in the engineering industry and the finance industry.

For my friends in the corporate world, I composed this list:

JA Konrath's 12 Steps to Success

1. Sleep is for babies and old women.

2. If you have anything left in the tank at the end of the day, you didn't work hard enough.

3. Fate is a future you didn't change.

4. There's a word for someone who never gives up... successful.

5. No one became rich or famous by being a good parent.

6. There's more to life than work, I've heard.

7. Vacation is a perfect opportunity to work hard in a different location.

8. If your boss doesn't push you as hard as you push yourself, your boss sucks.

9. If you don't take the credit, someone less deserving will.

10. Work smarter and harder.

11. You don't win races without facing some injuries.

12. Pain is temporary, chicks dig scars, and you need to stop reading blogs and get back to work.


The list was meant to be tongue in cheek, but looking at it now, it isn't as silly as I'd intended it to be.

Obviously, this isn't a recipe for leading a balanced, fulfilling life. But it isn't a bad course to follow if you're consumed with desire for success at the cost of everything else. And it's probably the course that Brittany, Michael, Bill, and Nora followed.

Everyone is looking for that edge, that way to get to the next level. In publishing, the buzz is all about high concept, hooks, marketing, publicity, promotion, advertising, and coop.

Somehow, good old-fashioned hard work got left in the dust.

You need to write a good book. You need to have a good agent. You need to have your publisher behind you.

But most of all, you need to bust your ass. And if it isn't busted yet, you only have one person to blame for your lack of success.