I was chatting with 3L Publishing author Jason Kraus about his forthcoming book Late Bird. The subject of work ethic came up in the conversation. Jason admitted he chose 3L Publishing to create his book for two key reasons. He had watched my posts on Facebook to observe my viewpoints on key social and political issues, and he noted that I had an amazing work ethic. Without digressing into my stand on social issues, which I really don't spend much time revealing on social media but I guess I showed enough, I'll address the work-ethic discussion.
What happened to good-old fashioned work ethic? I've asked that question many times over the years? Without making sweeping statements, I'll give examples. The younger generation, which I'll suggest is from about ages 20-30 give or take have some perspectives that baffle me. My operations manager who is in this age range says this generation thinks they are all "special snowflakes" -- and honestly that made me laugh. I could see a teacher tell five-year olds, "You're all such special snowflakes." You know in that sweetly voice, too.
So we'll call this the "Special Snowflakes" syndrome. Special Snowflakes are taught that everyone gets a trophy for "trying". Everyone is special in his or her own way. Hard work and excellence are on par with mediocrity and effort. Kids are not rewarded for being the best. They are not acknowledged for working hard. When every Special Snowflakes gets an "A" for showing up this instills the belief system that to just be there merits something special. It dilutes competition. It kills the desire to be the best. Its like milk toast for excellence.
What's the fallout? Now I'm going to give you specifics. I've had not one, not two, but three personal assistants in this age range who thought nothing about work ethic. One girl didn't think calling in sick or calling in at all to let me know she wasn't coming was a perfectly acceptable work behavior. Another girl thought that if she didn't want to do it or she didn't "feel" like doing it, that worked as a reason to go home. I'll never forget being out on an errand and my assistant called about the Quickbook work. She said, "I don't like this. I'm going home." I about fainted from shock. Since when is it okay to tell your boss, "Um hey! I don't like this job. I'm leaving." AND still expect to be employed the next day.
When I started my career I never thought it was okay to not show up on the job. I didn't think I could object to work I hated doing. In fact, I just did it and got it over with. I felt fortunate to have a job. I was happy to be employed. I wanted to succeed. I wanted to rise to the top. Competition in my opinion is a good thing as long as its healthy. I want to strive for excellence. I want to be proud of my work. I want to stand out. A healthy work ethic, discipline, hard work and excellence all go hand-in-hand with success. It's time to stop telling kids "we're all special snowflakes" and encourage them to reach for the stars! And no, my son didn't need a trophy for every car race he "participated" in! It is the ones he got for first place that he still has! The rest went into the recycle bin.