Smart About Money: The best investment you can make in yourself

Nick Maffeo So much that gets reported these days seems to be clickbait … or nonsense.

Take the “great resignation,” for one. Supposedly large numbers of people are resigning from their jobs because they’re tired of working. Or something like that. It’s supposed to be a big, important trend. It gets a lot of media and social media coverage anyway.

“Quiet quitting” is another example. I actually just heard that there’s a newer version of “quiet quitting.” It’s called “bare minimum Monday.” Apparently some people claim they ease into the workweek by doing as little work as possible on Mondays. According to the reports, “bare minimum Monday” is about “self-care.”

People do get tired of working – there’s no doubt about that. But most don’t just resign from their jobs because there other important factors, including needing to pay the bills. Or maybe overall they do like their jobs.

It’s also probably fair to say that Monday has never been most people’s favorite day of the week. That’s certainly not new.

Some insist that no one wants to work these days and no one knows how to work. But that sentiment is not new either. It’s been around forever. It’s also not accurate or fair – not in my experience or in the experience of business people I talk to and work with.

The reality is that the vast majority of workers are not doing the bare minimum on Monday or any other day. They give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay because they feel that’s how it should be. They take pride in a job well done and that makes an impression – on others and on themselves.

Are there employers who try to take advantage of employees’ self-imposed work ethic, directly or indirectly? Of course. There always have been and always will be. Some workers put up with that for a while because they’re learning skills or developing a reputation or they’re willing to give a little extra for reasons of their own. But employees do have boundaries and most move on fairly quickly from exploitive employers.

The best investment anyone can make in themselves is to get a reputation for being dependable and reasonably cheerful with a willingness to do the work they’re getting paid to do.

In most jobs, that does not require an around-the-clock commitment or endless grinding leading to burnout. Not by any means. Most people find a practical way to balance work with the rest of their lives. It is possible.

Everyone has off days. No one is perfect. But people report feeling better about themselves when they feel like they have a purpose in their work and the chance to make a positive contribution.

People willing to take the initiative and do a little bit extra seem to be the ones who are most satisfied with their work and excited about their prospects. That old-school reality will probably never be the next big hyper-hyped TikTok trend. But it’s true.

A bare minimum/great resignation world would not be a pleasant place. But “professional conduct” is always there too. It never goes out of style.

Nick Maffeo is the President & CEO of Canton Co-operative Bank – right next to the Post Office – in Canton. Have a question? Email to

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