the chance to work hard at work worth doing”
While U.S. President
Former U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt said it. (Roosevelt looks similar to Mr. L, who is father of one of my boyhood friends, who was a member of our church, and who was a Boy Scout leader. He now lives, retired, in a cabin in Michigan with his wife. Mr. L also shares a certain "old-American" temperament with Roosevelt, in certain ways.)
The kind of spirit behind this quotation can also be stated as "doing quality work for the sake of quality work", or "pride in a job well-done, expecting no reward other than personal satisfaction". This is the way I (like to) think of my own attitude towards "work", whatever that "work" may be. If there's a job to do, you might as well do it well.
Talking this way sounds so old-fashioned, doesn't it? Today's people are more cynical, more inclined to avoid work, and probably inclined to make sarcastic remarks about anyone sharing Roosevelt's idea there. I mean, he said these words 110 years ago (in 1903, I find online). The updated version, for a century later, may be: "The best prize that life has to offer is the chance to be able to get by doing very little real work and to mock those who think that anything is 'worth doing'..."
Yesterday, a foreign coworker (a male from San Francisco, aged 23) told me that he'd decided to abandon a plan he'd previously proposed for a collaborative project for our 5th and 6th graders. It is something I'd done alone before. For reasons I won't bother going into, his cooperation was necessary starting in June. In effect, he said he'd rather do as little work as possible. He aims to use prep time for goofing-around on the Internet, it seems. This project would eat into that a bit, it's true. Sorry, he said, when he sensed I was a mite disappointed with his change of heart and his lame justification. Perhaps Mr. Roosevelt would say that the person this coworker ought to apologize to is himself!