This is the Friday before Labor Day Weekend. Made me think about how
the work force has changed, at least from my perspective. Used to be that
slackers were the minority and most everyone did their job. Nowadays,
slackers rule… it is almost like the more you can slack and get away with it
the cooler you are. Cool to who? your peers? Anyways, as I think about
my work history, I always have and will work, as that makes me happy.
Work is something I like to do and is part of me.
As I continue to grow older, I am amazed at how much things change
and how much some things never change. My parents are still alive and
well, and I hear them say “how much has changed in our life time.” a lot.
When I look back at my almost 60 years on this earth, one of the things
that has changed from my perspective is the way we view work and the
way we view “Them” – “They” – “Everyone else”, etc…
Specifically, the “work ethic” that seemed to be prevalent in most every
job I ever had is not so prevalent today. It is as if there is a new fad or wave
of thinking and projecting a sense of entitlement that resonates from
many present day workers. They want to be in charge NOW. Many new
hires project a sense of “they are doing the company a huge favor” by just
showing up and that entitles them to money for nothing….etc….
It is not only the words spoken, it is the actions taken, not taken, and the
drama with which many work related issues take on in this day of extreme
caution and political correctness. Some folks are just looking for a chance to
claim “foul” or blow a whistle to let everyone know they are being wronged.
I was raised to be polite and respectful and this whole new political corectness
is something we have let get out of hand. Who is to say what is politically correct
or incorrect? Common sense would be a good rule of thumb from my perspective.
The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is not so
important or nearly as appealing as how can I get the most out from the least input.
When I was growing up in the early 1960s as a young teen, we all wanted to
work, we wanted to be grown up, and the elders advised me to enjoy my youth
and not speed up the process, as I would become of age in due time.
Wow, they were right. In 1977, when my buddies were still in year 4 or 5 of
their higher education career, I was out. I hurriedly graduated to make sure
that I was out of the college degree program in the four years, as I was not about
to have others think I was slow and that I could not get a four year degree in four
years. When I did get the degree and the reality of WORK all the time was in front
of me, at first I was angry and not ready to grow up, then I realized how fortunate I
was to be young, have a degree, and the world was my apple. When I began to look
at the world with that perspective, along with a work ethic that I had been raised with and had
taken for granted really helped me excel in all jobs I took. I was always striving to do
my best, do more than was expected, and to continue an upward mobile path as I was
maturing into a young man. This was called the “American dream.”
Now as an employer, I am still very impressed with some of the people I am so lucky
to work with, as they know how to work, and they know a lot more than I did when
I was their age. The problem is that these type of folks are the minority, as I see many
more people just looking for a paycheck, an excuse, and always a greener pasture.
Seems to me that this type of lollygag approach was always around, just a real minority
compared to the go-getter’s that I was lucky to be influenced and surrounded by when
I was in school and early adult life. It is not that there are no hard workers, it is that
the hard workers are in the minority it seems at this time in my life.
Not sure if it is me, or if our society as a whole is looking for an easy way out and not
willing to strive for excellence and to better themselves or their company each day
through each action.
I applaud those of you who see work as a good thing as a way to help solve problems
and make forward progress in life. Please let me restate that I am truly fortunate to
have a team of really high performers in my company and as friends. Not everyone
is off the charts as far as lazy or allergic to work….it is just more prevalent, accepted,
and it appears that our present government leaders are promoting this behavior, rewarding
it financially and creating a safe haven for this type of thinking and acting.
Maybe it is me, maybe it is my age, maybe it really is a change that is taking place in our
society. I just got to thinking about how many people I have hired and worked with in the
past 25 years and the ones that I remember the most were those that I learned from. No
matter where you are in your life, there is always more to learn.
Why is there no one cheering for individual success? Has this led us to the state we are in
where we are all “successful” as it is not cool for there to be winners and losers?
I don’t like to lose, yet the large battles in life that I lost, seem to be the situations I
learned the most from. Easy stuff is in my memory, just not as vivid as the things that
required a great deal of work, time, patience, and persistence on my part.
Not sure there is a any solution other than each small business taking care of what we
can that is in our control. When all of us focus on moving in the same direction, there
will be progress. This works in positive ways just as well as it works in negative ways.
I am not sure what is going to happen, and I will do my best to think before I act which
speaks much louder than any words I speak. I will remain an optimist, and do my best
to encourage and reward hard work and smart work, and never give up on the potential
that we humans have. My goal is to tap into the most potential within me and the team
of people I work with.
What are you going to do? What ideas do you have as to how we can increase the popularity
of hard work and smart work? I am always open to learning from others and look forward
to your input and ideas.
After all, this is labor day weekend….