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What the midwestern work ethic is


Since I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, people have often pointed to the midwestern work ethic as part of the reason for my success, and part of the reason that I am so annoying. And I've known a lot of people who have the midwestern work ethic, and many of them have never even been close to Minneapolis.

Let's start with a definition: the midwestern work ethic means that a person, like me, will get the job done in spite of small details that get in the way, such as blizzards, etc. It has to do with a responsibility to the community, or character. It's a real "grit your teeth" and "get it done" attitude. It's the opposite of the stereotypical Arizona and California attitude of "maƱana", or being laid back.

Now, waitaminute - this doesn't mean that I haven't known a LOT of people in Arizona and California who have the "midwestern work ethic". That's because midwesterners don't have a monopoly on that type of behavior.

The midwestern work ethic has its costs. Sure it's great to have someone who forges through whatever the odds, and gets the job done, but they can be kind'a maniacal. And they tend to be very unforgiving of people who can't get the job done. They have naturally high energy levels, and are impatient with people who don't have that.

I don't know why the midwest gets credit for having a work ethic. Every day I turn on a light switch, or see the world working around me, I know that there are a lot of people like that. They get the work done, they show up to open businesses on time, they keep the lights on. There are people taking DayQuil climbing power poles, there are parents who didn't get a wink of sleep last night working the cash register at the grocery store. There are heroes all around us.