Work Hard, Play Hard

He's the most efficient person in your workplace. He thinks of plans that work better than anybody else's and can take down anyone when he's attacked. He might be a harsh employer or a kind helper who teaches you how to make your work habits more efficient. He is always professional and mature, if not a little too uptight. Either way, you can always rely on him for anything, as long as it's work related.

One day, he invites you to hang out with him after work. Curious, you agree.

You're surprised to see him break open the alcohol, start screaming karaoke or show other wild behaviors that you never saw at work. Turns out, he spends as much energy partying as he does working hard. He might even use the fact that he works so hard as an excuse to why he plays so hard.

Truth in Television here, as relaxing and having fun is good way to keep stress levels down. Being social is also a good way to find employment and learn from others, so a complete workaholic is pretty tough to find in Real Life. There's also the fact that most people enjoy having fun and relaxing — but need to work to earn money. Frequently this is the other side to characters like The Reliable One.


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     Anime and Manga  

    Fan Fiction 
  • Surprisingly, Xander Harris in The Passing of the Shades of Black. Off the clock, he's still the same lovable goofball as canon. On the clock, anything that doesn't pertain to the mission or his comrades' safety gets passing acknowledgment at most. Best shown when he has to help a pair of bounty hunters stake out an alien strip club/brothel for a couple of bounties; he gives the working girls a glance to make sure they're not the target before moving on and ignores the manager's attempts to goad him with insults to his experience and age.


  • Tony Stark in Iron Man more clearly demonstrated this trope at the beginning of the movie, where he's pretty much inventing state of the art weapons systems in between having crazy hardcore parties. He stops playing so hard, though, when his experience in Afghanistan leads him to make very serious efforts to curb the violence.
  • The late Charlie Wilson, as portrayed in Charlie Wilson's War, fell under this. Well, after he decided to get involved in Afghanistan, anyway — we see little evidence of the "work hard" before that.
  • Lt. Rasczak in Starship Troopers encourages this for his men. "Here's the beer! Here's the entertainment! Now, have fun - that's an order!"


  • In the Star Trek Expanded Universe of novels, there was a temporary security chief on the Enterprise who embodied this trope: a total hard-ass with his staff on-duty, but off-duty he parties with them in the lounge, and as a result, their loyalty to him is absolute.
  • The declared mission statement of Hawkeye, Trapper John et al in the original Mash novel is to be such brilliant and reliable surgeons when they're on duty that they can get away with absolutely any crazy shit they feel like pulling when they're off duty. It works.
  • The king in Dr. Seuss' The King's Stilts. The whole theme of the book is why only working is not emotionally healthy and causes problems in the long run.
  • The Tayledras in the Heralds of Valdemar books are explicitly stated to be this at one point. They fight horrible magic-born monstrosities and purify magically-twisted land in little scout teams where one wrong move could get them all horribly killed... and live in little glens of eternal summer where they throw wild parties whenever they have an excuse.

     Live Action TV  

  • Jadzia Dax from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is an exceptional science officer who enjoys partying hard, gambling with Ferengi, brawling with Klingons, drinking, rough sex, fun on the holosuite, and playing practical jokes, and still finds time to be the station's biggest gossip. It's hinted that she got some of this from previous host Curzon.
  • As in the literature example above, the characters from Mash maintain a healthy level of insanity whenever they are off-duty, as a defense mechanism against the horrors of war.
  • Samantha Carter of Stargate SG-1. She's an incredible workaholic who spends long nights and weekends working on her science stuff. The rare times we see her at home, she's building and racing motorbikes. The closest thing she has to taking a holiday is entering an alien death race.
  • Firefly: Simon of all people has alluded to some pretty spectacular drunken antics while at university. Of course, he was a medical student...

     Video Games  

  • In Dragon Age, the Qunari are described as this by Sten if you're friends with him by the end of the game. He compares you being declared "The Hero of Fereldan" to when a Qunari is declared Qunoran Vehl, and says that they party so hard that executions are sometimes required to get everyone back in line. Of course, when they're not throwing a raucous party, the Qunari are extremely serious and efficient - Sten says he has no memory of playing when he was a child and is somewhat offended by the notion that you'd think a Qunari would waste their time with such frivolity; even childhood is merely a time for studying whatever role they will be playing in society as an adult.

     Web Original  

  • Ystos from Noob plays a MMORPG professionally. In his downtime, he's never without reading material or a portable console, while his casual play second avatar is a master of the Stealth Hi/Bye who speaks in borderline Creepy Monotone. He's also seen to have a big outburst of joy when his older but less talented brother's avatar reaches level 100.

     Western Animation  

  • In The Simpsons, Homer was worried that Bart was turning gay and he brought Bart to a steel mill to show him manly men doing manly jobs. Turned out it was a Manly Gay steel mill. Then the 5 o'clock whistle blew, and the place became an industrial-themed gay dance club. "We work hard, we play hard."
  • In Young Justice, Word of God says this is the general perception the public has of Bruce Wayne, rather than as the usual Rich Idiot with No Day Job he depicts himself as in other continuities.
  • When the main cast of Max Steel aren't saving the world from supervillains, they're throwing themselves into extreme sports. Said verbatim by Berto - or rather, Dread impersonating him - during a ski trip.
  • In contrast to most versions of Bruce Wayne, his DCAU version openly takes an active interest in running his company. But that doesn't mean he's not still a Millionaire Playboy in his free time.

     Real Life  

  • Deutschland. note 
  • Nippon. note 
  • Imperium Romanum: Work ethic centred around strict obedience to the Paterfamilias, massive engineering projects, technology too advanced for their time, a well-sustained government, the ability to manage countless nationalities into a single Imperium that most considered the equal of The Empire of the Han or The Persian Empire, even a thousand years afterward. The language of Latin IS the official language of European societies' Laws (hence why European societies' legalese has all kinds of Latin terms, and considering the Legalistic tradition of Roman society), and the field of Science would not mind borrowing a few Latin words to supplement the Greek. Yet the Romans were, also, you know, Romans.
  • Investment traders/speculators and corporate executives are said to subscribe to this trope particularly strongly, especially during the heady days 80s and 90s (as memorialized by movies such as Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street). It was said that there are only two possible ways for a respectable Wall Street trader to die: overwork or overdose.
  • Many U.S. university student bodies stake a claim to this concept as a guiding philosophy, complete with the slogan, "First we'll out-think you, then we'll out-drink you."
    • Medical students in particular are infamous for this sort of thing; it's an incredibly stressful course of study that leaves them with very little free time, so when they do get a chance to blow off some steam they grasp it with both hands.
    • More outgoing engineering students tend to be this way as well, especially those who run their faculty or department's student societies, pulling through difficult coursework and then cutting loose with abandon as soon as they have the opportunity. There is a very solid basis for the Engineers' Hymn, of course.
  • Elizabeth I was rather like this. She loved giving parties and men made elaborate (and perhaps somewhat suspicious) statements of Courtly Love toward her.
  • Christopher Titus described his father this way; he never missed a chance to get drunk, high, or laid, but he also never missed a day of work.
  • This is more or less a way of life for many branches of scientists. Go to conventions during the day, and when night falls, go out and get rip-roarin' drunk. Repeat cycle until retirement.
  • Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots: Famous for being a major party animal and arguably the best tight end in the NFL.
  • Despite his well-deserved reputation for self-indulgence, Louis XIV was no decadent wastrel. Quite the contrary, he was a meticulous workaholic who spent long hours handling official business and oversaw his programs down to the last detail.