For those of us in the USA, the Labor Day holiday is to commemorate the contributions of working people and labor unions. Since I have worked in IT most of my working years, I have never belonged to a union, so I'll just speak briefly here to the work ethic in software quality. However, I think much of this could apply to other fields as well.
Like you, perhaps, I have been on projects that required extreme effort and commitment to complete. Even then, some of the projects failed.
Over my 25+ years in software testing consulting, I have heard people complain about how difficult some tasks can become. My reply is something along the lines of, "Yes, that why we call it work."
I have also worked for managers that were totally clueless when it came to how to treat people. These managers expected 100% availability, no allowance for sickness or family emergencies, provided no training or encouragement to the team, and generally created a work environment that was de-motivating in nature. That is the dark side of work, in my opinion.
If I had to capsulize what a person should bring to a project, they would include:
- Motivation - Passion for the job
- Skills - Knowing how to do the job, and continuously learning new skills
- Creativity - Being able to do things differently and better
- Problem solving - So that the team lead doesn't have to do everything
- Integrity - Doing the right thing when no one is looking
- Caring - For the quality of work performed, and for the welfare of others
- Vision - To see the big picture of what they are doing
- Calling - To know why they are doing what they are doing
- Respect - For others, for other people's ideas, for leaders
You might have other things that would fit well on the list. By the way, my two favorite books on this topic are "Peopleware" by DeMarco and Lister, and "The Mythical Man-Month" by Fred Brooks.
So, relax this weekend and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Ironically, some people will not be able to do that. They will be working. This normally includes law enforcement, military, medical professionals, broadcasters, and people working tech support, food service and retail. I salute those fine people and wish them safety in what they do.