I heard my grandfather use the phrase “work comes first” and he lived life that way. Grandpa Goldbach prioritized working life over other aspects of life, such as leisure time, family, and personal interests. However, this is not the view of his great grandchildren.

Some key points about the phrase “work comes first” emerged when I asked Perplexity.ai about it:

  1. The UK public ranks among the lowest internationally for the importance they place on work, and are among the least likely to say work should always come first, even if it means less leisure time[1]. There has been a notable shift, with Millennials becoming much less likely to say work should always come first compared to in 2009.

  2. Prioritizing work above all else was more common among older generations like the Baby Boomers, who tended to stay at companies for longer periods and were exposed to more hardships growing up. For them, making a decent living was challenging so they craved workplace stability.

  3. Research in Forbes shows Younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z are much less likely to believe work should be the top priority. Factors like economic stagnation, student loan debt, and seeing their parents' poor work-life balance have made them question the value of putting work above everything else.

  4. There is an evolving definition of work-life balance, with more emphasis on family time, flexible hours, the ability to work remotely, and a positive workplace culture. When employees are happy in their roles, work feels more fulfilling rather than just working for a paycheck.

  5. While some people may choose minimalism or simple living as an escape from work, engaging in focused, deliberate work that leverages one’s full potential can provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Hard work enables personal growth, benefits society, sets an example for one’s children, and makes leisure time more rewarding.

I’ve included a photo of the company delivery truck from my pre-teen years.

Goldbach's Decorators