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Best Jobs for Establishing a Good Work Ethic

This post is written for parents looking to guide their kids towards jobs that will teach them to have a good work ethic.


I don’t suppose anyone goes looking for a job that will teach them to have a good work ethic – most of the time you simply fall into those types of jobs, and years later look back and realize how that role positively contributed to your career.


While researching this topic I asked friends and family on a couple of different social media platforms to weigh in on the subject. I got a lot of great responses and have categorized jobs that establish good work ethic into three main categories.

  1. Pay for Performance

  2. Counting on You

  3. The Greater Good


Pay for Performance

Pay for Performance jobs primarily includes commission-based sales roles as well as those where you can earn tips for good customer service.

Examples of these types of jobs include commission-based sales jobs, car sales, signing petitions, door-to-door sales, servers in restaurants, baristas, car wash sales, bartenders, food delivery drivers, tour guides, valet, hotel bellhops or concierges.


Pay for performance jobs, such as commission-based roles, encourage good work ethic by incentivizing effort rather than time spent. Unlike hourly jobs that reward those who put in the most hours while doing the least amount of work, commission-based jobs reward the individuals who work the hardest and achieve the most results. This creates a positive cycle of hard work and reward, promoting a strong work ethic.



Counting on You

The Counting on You jobs provide frequent interactions serving customers or involve being responsible for someone else. Many will bestow immediate feedback upon poor performance enabling fast feedback loops.

Examples of these types of jobs include: cooks and waiters in food service, newspaper delivery and other types of delivery drivers, lifeguards, camp counselors, and coaching youth sports.



When you're in a job where others are counting on you, it's game time. No more lollygagging and no more shirking your duties. Why? Well, because if you don't perform well, it impacts others. If you're delivering newspapers, for example, and you miss a house, you're not just letting yourself down, you're letting the customer down. That's a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility, but it also means you get quick and in many cases instant feedback on your performance. Good job? People will tell you. Bad job? They'll let you know too - you don’t want to get that angry call from the customer who didn’t get their newspaper that morning. That sense of responsibility means you can't hide and not do your job. You're accountable for the work and that leads to a strong work ethic because you know that your actions have consequences.


The Greater Good

The Greater Good jobs include roles where you are part of some larger mission that is doing good in the world. This category does not define specific jobs, but rather specific organizations to be involved in.

Examples of these organizations include: Conservation Corps, homeless shelters, humanitarian aid, disaster recovery, and environmental cleanup efforts.



When you feel like you're making a difference in someone else's life, it can give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment in your work. Plus, helping others can develop your empathy and compassion skills, which are important traits to have in any job. Finally, this category of jobs is the only one that often teaches teamwork, working with others to achieve a common goal.


In conclusion, the three main categories of jobs that establish a good work ethic - Pay for Performance, Counting on You, and The Greater Good - offer unique and valuable experiences that promote hard work, responsibility, and a sense of purpose. Commission-based sales jobs incentivize effort and reward results, while jobs where others are counting on you promote accountability and responsibility. The Greater Good jobs allow individuals to make a difference and develop empathy and teamwork skills. By guiding young people towards these types of jobs, parents can help cultivate a strong work ethic that will benefit them in their future careers and life.


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