This is another old saying I heard a lot growing up. Back then, doing a good job in whatever profession you chose was extremely important.
As time went on, it seemed many people didn’t take their jobs seriously anymore. I have felt numerous times, particularly in dealing with representatives of businesses on the phone or in retail stores, like I wish I could just do everyone’s job for them. But this attitude isn’t right either. “Patience is a virtue” comes to mind.
A number of internet sites attribute the coining of this proverb to Dave Vanderbeck of Yardville, New Jersey in 1850. Actually, it dates back to at least the 18th century. The 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Stanhope, in a letter to his son in October 1746, wrote the following:
“Care and application are necessary … In truth, whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.” [1746 Chesterfield Letter 9 Oct. (Published 1932) III. 783]
Later it was cited by other authors, including H.G. Wells in Bealby in 1915:
‘“If a thing’s worth doing at all,’ said the professor, ‘it’s worth doing well.’”
If you would like to know the origin of a favorite expression, text the author at 931-212-3303 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.