Working—prioritizing employment over enjoyment—limits one’s time, but so does unemployment. When you have a job schedule to keep, you can’t go to the beach and surf whenever you feel a passing whim to do so. But, when you don’t have money, you can’t ever surf because you can’t afford a surf board.
But, a good, strong work ethic is not only about employment—working for someone else; a work ethic is about self-respect. Work ethic is an intrinsic motivation—to have dignified pride in one’s own effort and accomplishment—a reward that exists on the inside as a “good feeling” for having achieved something noble and worthwhile. The intrinsic motivation for a good work ethic is well told in the adage, “Work is good for the soul.”
The intrinsic motivation for a good work ethic is, or course, exploited by employers. It’s overplayed and underpaid more often than not. But, counterfeits are only made of things of value. Paul did not lie when he told slaves to work as if for Christ since Christ would, indeed, reward them for their work beyond what any employer could ever pay—just as much as Paul didn’t lie when he told slave masters to treat their slaves with respect since Jesus is the master of all. Thanks to Biblical teaching like this, the freedom of Jesus entered a world of slavery like a healthy virus and eventually abolished slavery altogether.
The moral of the story is: Work for Jesus.
But, there are also practical arguments for a good work ethic. Societies where people take personal pride in their work outperform societies who regard labor with contempt.
Your job doesn’t need to be your dream job, but nor do you need to hate your job in order to strive for more. Always seek to improve yourself, including doing a good job right where you are, including achieving other goals so you can move on from where you are. Do well across the board and bless God for the road you’re on that will lead you to better lands.
Your own opportunities are interlaced with others in your economy. When everyone does good work, that’s better for everyone.