From a historical perspective, the cultural norm placing a positive moral value on doing a good job because work has intrinsic value for its own sake was a relatively recent development. Work, for much of the ancient history of the human race, has been hard and degrading. Working hard—in the absence of compulsion—was not the norm for Hebrew, classical, or medieval cultures. It was not until the Protestant Reformation that physical labor became culturally acceptable for all persons, even the wealthy.
— Roger B. Hill Ph.D., Historical Context of the Work Ethic