Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Vanishing American Work Ethic

**This is not based on anything other than my personal observations**

Do we not raise kids to work anymore?

I got a job delivering newspapers in my early teens. I often substituted for other carriers if they had to go out of town, or were sick. My brothers had routes for a while. My mom drove me sometimes and I got really good at throwing the papers up the driveways on both sides of the street--from the sun roof.

I still had the paper route when they started transitioning to all-car routes, basically eliminating the classic bicycle riding "paper boy" in the name of safety. And I get it. I got it then. But it meant I was being phased out.

Because of my work ethic, I took over two other routes as they let more paper boys go. Because they could rely on me getting the job done. Then, finally, my routes were taken over too.

That was my first job. 3 years ago I put my notice in at the local Dollar General because I needed to concentrate more on my family. The job was literally taking up ever moment of my life. I left on such good terms I can go back at any time. They offered me the manager job of that store, but I turned it down. They wanted me because of my work ethic--my willingness to actually do my job. I'm not talking about going above and beyond. I'm talking about the minimal basic requirements of the job. When I was at work, I was at work. Not at home, or on Facebook on my phone. I was working.

Bryan is working now at Walmart while he goes to nursing school. And they love him. Why? Because he's the same way. When he's at work, he's working. I don't call/text and pester him. He doesn't goof off or loaf around. He comes home from work and needs a shower because he actually worked.

Brandon has his second official job working at Long John Silver in Duncan. They are constantly calling him to pick up a shift some other employee didn't show up for, or asking him to come in and do some work because it has to be done and they're short staffed. They love him, why? Because he actually does his job.

My oldest brother and my mom visited this past July. Jim expressed his frustration that so many of their newer hires at work don't work. He told me stories about people logging in to work and then going away. It happened when I worked for the company, too. And it just seems to be getting worse.

So what's happened? I find myself longing for the "glory days" of America--when people were responsible, reliable, and honest. When did we get so lazy? Why do we have college kids who expect to have their hands held all through school? (I'm friends with a professor and he shares)

Where is the work ethic?

I'm happy to say that I don't know people who are irresponsible at their jobs. My kids understand what it is to work. Me and my husband do as well. But I've worked with--face it, we all have--a growing number of individuals who seem to expect to be paid just for showing up.

That doesn't even begin to cut it, people.

So where is the break down? Where is the idea that they are privileged and entitled come from? Because we really need to set the record straight.

Knowing what you DON'T Know

The internet has been on fire this past week. There's been lots of name calling, lots of accusations, lots of mud slinging, etc. And that's just on my news feed.

The internet is a wonderful thing. You can keep connected with far away loved ones. You can learn and improve yourself both spiritually and intellectually. Yes, the internet has it's bad side--not the least of which are soul and relationship destroying sites and general time sucks (facebook, twitter, instagram, etc). But using it with wisdom can make your online experience a positive one.

Here's my current problem with the internet (and, it's not even current--this is a large overlying issue): it gives far too many people a "platform" with which to express their opinions. Social media is the worst about this, because anyone can say anything and they're basically untouchable. And it has the potential to rile up even the calmest of people.

In short, there are far too many people expressing their opinions at the top of their lungs--or, fingers in this case. Opinion is not fact, but listening to one side or the other can skew your world view. Ideally, we would all appropriately educate ourselves about each issue and then, if we felt compelled to enter into a debate, express our views rationally and allow the other person or people to do the same. Instead, opinion-expressing on social media is basically like parking a live explosive in your front yard.

And it's easy to forget that people are expressing their opinions already skewed by the circumstances of their lives. I read this morning about a girl who lives in a $900k home, went to private school at $32k a year, and is griping about wanting college to be free for everybody. It calls to mind the heiress I invited to my wedding, and then sent her a hand made thank you--that she complained about. "I know money's tight, but..."

Each of us is colored by our own experience. That's the crayon we use most. Money being "tight" to you likely doesn't mean the same thing as it does to me. And it doesn't mean the same thing to the person who lives down the street.

But instead of allowing for these inherent differences in one another, we resort to name calling and verbal abuse--simply put, we start acting like primary school children.

There are many things about the world I don't know. I haven't personally experienced them, I don't have a frame of reference, and so I refrain from stating an opinion. I'm human--of course I have an opinion, but I know what I don't know, and I'm not going to spout off like an idiot about something I can't more fully understand.

What's more, I don't hit back and abuse people who disagree with me--regardless of how childishly they do so.

Can we just remember that we're all human? And supposedly adult? Because the playground monitor is off duty here.