French proverbs about work - Proverbes sur le travail 

Here are the most common French proverbs about work.


Proverbe / Proverb Literal translation Idiomatic translation / English equivalent Meaning
Si de beaucoup travailler on devenait riche, les ânes auraient le bât doré. If working hard made you rich, donkeys would be covered in gold. - Hard work does not necessarily make you rich
Les cordonniers sont toujours les plus mal chaussés. Shoemakers always have the worst shoes The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot A skilled or knowledgeable person commonly neglects to give his own family the benefit of his expertise.
Toute peine mérite salaire. / Tout travail mérite salaire. Every trouble taken deserves a salary. A laborer is worthy of his hire. Someone should be properly recompensed for his/her effort.
Un mauvais ouvrier a toujours de mauvais outils. The bad workman blames his tools The bad workman blames his tools People do not want to take responsibility for their mistake / imcompetence
Ce qui est fait n'est plus à faire. What is already done needs not to be done Don't leave till tomorrow what can be done today Don't leave till tomorrow what can be done today
Il n'est point de sot métier. There is no stupid profession - All professions are respectable
Ne remettez jamais à demain ce que vous pouvez faire le jour même. Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today Why put off until tomorrow what can be done today Don't leave till tomorrow what can be done today
On n'est jamais si bien servi que par soi-même. You are never better served than by yourself Don’t count too much on others. Help yourself! If you want things to be done the way you want, you'd better do it yourself.
On reconnaît l'arbre à ses fruits. You recognize a tree by its fruit The fruit tell the value of the three You recognize the value of a man by his work (and/or children)
Qui est propre à tout n'est propre à rien. The one that is good at everything is a good for nothing Good at everything, excellent at nothing. You cannot be good at everything.
Aide-toi et le ciel t'aidera. help yourself, and the heavens will help you God helps those who help themselves Don't count on others and you'll be fine
Qui peut le plus, peut le moins. he who can do the most can do the least - If you can do hard things then you can do the easy ones.
Chacun son métier, les vaches seront bien gardées each to his craft/task, and the cows will be watched well mind your own business; tend to your own You should mind your own business
c'est en forgeant qu’on devient forgeron it is by forging that one becomes a blacksmith practice makes perfect practice makes perfect