"Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them." - Ann Landers
"Setbacks and stressors are bridges to be crossed to our goals... not barricades to keep us from them." - Stephen Pierce, Speaker and Author
"History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats." - Bertie Charles Forbes, 1880-1954, Financial Journalist, Author and founder of Forbes Magazine
Over and over, I have been stunned by the poor work ethic of many of today's young people and college students. The latest example is a young woman who was cleaning our house every week. She stated that she really wanted the job because she was saving her money for school. But, after working for us only a few weeks, she called on the day she was supposed to come - two hours after she was supposed to show up - and informed us that she wouldn't be here that day because she had family coming into town.
I told her that we would need to find someone else, as we needed someone who is reliable. We have decided that young people and most college students are not a good bet. We've heard the same thing over and over from our neighbors.
One of our young friends, Aubree, who has been working with us on and off for the last four years, since she was a freshman, was equally disturbed by the situation - especially since the young woman is a friend of hers. "This happens all the time. I don't understand it. None of my friends have a decent work ethic. They don't seem to care."
Why is this? How did these young people get to feel so entitled? Why do they think they should not have to work hard? Why do they think things should be easy?
I'd love to get your ideas on this. I have some ideas of my own that I'll share with you.
When I was growing up, my parents were poor. If I wanted something, I needed to find a way to get it myself. So I started to earn money when I was very young - four years old! I wanted a two-wheeler bike and the only way I could get it was to earn the money. So I found many ways of earning pennies, and I was able to buy my bike when I was six.
I worked summers during my adolescence. I worked all during college. Because my parents didn't do well financially until I was into my 20s, I never expected anyone to provide for me financially. This is the case with Aubree, which is why I believe she has a great work ethic. But it is not the case for most of the other young people who have worked for us. Most of them have parents who consistently bail them out financially, who buy them cars and pay for their tuition and living expenses. These young people grow up, not with their parents' work ethic, but feeling entitled to being taken care of. This seems to lead to a lack of caring and commitment.
For example, the young woman who didn't show up to clean, knew that we need to keep our house very clean because we were trying to sell it. But she didn't care. It's this lack of caring about the effect their behavior has on others that is so concerning. I believe that the people with this poor work ethic don't care because they never had to - their parents cared about them but never expected caring in return. This creates entitlement issues.
All this is very sad to me, as these young people never receive the great satisfaction and aliveness of meaningful hard work, and the satisfaction of acting with integrity. Not that cleaning someone else's house is meaningful, but integrity and caring are. People who value their caring and integrity are likely to find much more satisfaction in whatever work they do than those who don't.