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Discussion in 'Politics' started by Drifterwood, May 31, 2011.
Have you seen changes in the work ethic where you are during the course of your own working life?
I'm not sure if I've noticed a change in work ethic during the course of my life (because I'm fairly young), but I have noticed that my work ethic is a lot different than my peers.
I'm really hesitant to say that I have a better/stronger work ethic than my peers, because it'll immediately be met with skepticism, cynicism and probably a fair amount of rolled-eyes of anyone who reads this.
BUT, I just don't see my peers work as hard as I do. Everyone seems to put in the minimum effort necessary just to get by (and at times I envy this attitude, especially when I get home from an 8 hour shift and am completely exhausted, both physically and mentally). I've actually been criticized (perhaps jokingly, but I suspect half-seriously) for working too hard at my job; they figured if I worked hard, the boss would expect everyone to work hard. [As a side note, I completely understand their point, we are much too underpaid to put in any more than minimal effort.]
I really don't intend to brag or anything. If anyone gets the credit for my work ethic its certainly not me; blame my parents. My parents (especially my dad) would always lament the poor work ethic of my generation.
I will, however, never forget what my father told me a few years ago. He said that though he often criticized my generation's poor work ethic, his generation (Baby Boomers) were not much better in reality, especially compared to the generation that preceded (his parents, the generation that lived through and directly after the Great Depression). From what I knew of my grandparents, this is probably true. They were some of the hardest working people I knew.
I lived in quite a few places and can say that the locale seems to have something to do with the work ethic. Hands down the worst work ethic was in South Florida. My dad would say that if they showed up sober on Monday morning, didn't smoke reefer at lunch, and could manage to clock more than 35 hours a week, they were a keeper. Didn't matter what they did while they were there. Really a shiftless populous in general. In Wisconsin and in Canada people are mostly good and conscientious workers.
The best workers I have been with are in Turkey. They are NEVER late for work. They normally work 45 hours per week and are always ready for more. They get on each other's case for slacking off, and do it with pretty good humour.
The emphasis was once on presenteeism. Turn up, do the hours, get paid. The ethic was that work was part of life and had to be done. EVERYONE accepted this.
Now I'm noticing two different directions (yes the old style syill exists, but is much les common). One is for people to see work as an imposition. Many in the UK feel that the gritty jobs are beneath them and just won't do them. They make terrible employees - indeed many in the UK seem to have elected to take benefits. The other style of work is for people to be self employed, or to have a portfolio of employments with different employees. These are motivated to do the job. There is an ethic of ownership of the task and often pride in the task.
IMO this is beginning to cause friction in the UK. For example I'm mostly self employed. I've just met an impossible deadline for a five month project that most would have treated as a year plus. Right now I'm exhausted - but I've done it. And just a couple of days ago I heard how someone has managed a scam to get some enormous benefits payout for the duration - tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money - and is off on what sounds like a life-long holiday.
I happen to think right action is its own reward, but the ethic that has developed in the UK where people either work their socks off or take their "entitlements" is galling.
(Yes I know there are many genuine claimants.)
The biggest change that I've noticed is in the "cover my butt" mentality. No one wants to deliver bad news:wink:
There has been a fall in work ethic in my experience. But I think that's partly because of the internet at work, micromanagement, excessive rules, & the explosion of contract & Temp workers hired by management to reduce long term labour costs. It doesn't help morale or boost productivity or expertise & experience.
I find it difficult to work in a structured environment, partly because what I do is normally troubleshooting chaos. I work toward a project goal, & I only want to do it my way (& I am hired because of my previous success) Turning up at 9 is pointless if I don't have to meet anyone till 12, or if I'm dealing with the US - & if I work more efficiently doing 10-7 or 12-11 - I should do it that way.
What we do have is a bunch of assholes who believe that turning up at 9 (or 7 in some City roles) is somehow a good indicator of ability. In all those roles, I charge by the hour -not the day - if they want to pay me when I'm yawning - more fool them. That said, I find it frustrating how many layers of management some organisations have that do f*ck all - apart from stop me completing early by forcing me into up to 5 pointless meetings a day.
So if there is a lack of work ethic, it comes from the top down, in all large organisations, as senior execs cover their asses with huge layers of managers, all with nothing better to do than call loads of meetings & set up matrices, all in order to show that they are actually doing something.
I have never been disappointed by the staggering ignorance of all layers of managers & execs of their own businesses. They incentivise themselves, but then float down preposterous new edicts upon the people who actually do the work.
No wonder so many feel disassociated with work. There are too many high rewards for those who do f*ck all. And for all those on the bottom few rungs of the ladder - they're barely better off than being on benefits, & certainly far more time poor.
Ha ha - I've never been anywhere as expensive as the Keys where so many people were stoned & just vaguely working. They weren't all like that though.
My employees know their incomes rise and fall in direct relation to the quality of service they offer our customers, including how good the food is. So, when I ended up with what I thought was going to be a problem business I empowered the employees (almost all females who are good cooks in their own right) to refashion and change the menu as they felt was appropriate. About the only thing left from the original menu is what I call "chunk of cow with side dish,"; the expected cut of rare rib roast found everywhere in Nevada. The Baron of Beef roasted for the prime rib is the same, but now it comes with a Thai/jicama, Won Ton/clear noodle, or Feta/three-bean salad, plus potato of choice. They are in charge of hiring new personnel. So, if a waitress or bartender spends too much time being "dizty" and not pulling her weight, they have a "come to Jesus" meeting with the new employee. That little intervention usually works. But when it doesn't they have my full authority to can anyone's ass who isn't pulling their own weight.
I get these little summaries from my CPA (and separate ones from my employees). According to the most recent "official" CPA report my little bar restaurant (which is a business I never intended to own) served 487 meals Monday night (between 5:00 PM and 8:00 PM), with only three waitresses working the dining area and two waitresses working a full bar. When you break it down each waitress served 126 meals (remember, they serve that many glasses of water and 80% of the time two or more beverages per diner). So, they're getting a good cardio workout caring for 40+ clients an hour. They also bus their own tables and seat diners waiting to eat.
That was just last Monday evening and doesn't include the same employees who worked lunch from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, during which they served 136 meals.
Average age of my employees is 52. There are a couple of gals my age who, despite having practically no cartilage in their knees, still race around as if they are 15 years-old. They all have children and most of them have grand children. And there's plenty of nepotism to go around. When several young pieces of window dressing were hired to work the bar and keep it churning money from 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM, all but one ended up being replaced by daughters-in-law or grand daughter who were equally as moist and fetching as the young blondes who were originally hired. Old cowboys, miners, and ranchers need someone to fantasize about as they suck down suds. This was not a policy I put in place. It was something I learned about from the middle-age waitresses. We've had a couple of male bartenders, too. But they quit as soon as Neumont Mining offers them a job. There is a sign the wimmin made and placed over the bar register that says, "Sexual harassment will not be reported, but it will be graded!"
However, just about everyone is my age. The after hours clean up crew is a family, legally working as citizens of the USA as they argue among one another in Spanish. The ONLY Board of Health violation we've had in 6 years was one of the faucets from which we pour well drinks was "a little gummy." Compared to the Big Gulp dispenser at any 7/11, our drink well faucets are sterile.
So, I don't see much of a problem with the work ethics of those wonderful wimmin who keep Elko's favorite place to lunch, dine, and argue while watching sports on one of the four flat screen TVs, and everything thriving at a steady pace. We're known as the home of the $10 martini. But that's only if you've been brainwashed into drinking Grey Goose. You can't imagine our markup on that shit and we serve the cheapest Grey Goose martini in town.
As for the house keepers I have who show up twice a week to clean my long-term rental apartments in Barcelona? They clean my place, too. And once they've finished I'm afraid to use the bathroom because it's to fucking clean. I tend to overpay them because they have to deal with the porno and occasional used condom stuck to the ceiling that renters often leave behind. But they are as reliable as a quality wristwatch.
The only people I've encountered since 1990 who have lax work ethics have been attorneys in the State of Ewetaw, regardless of age. They blow. :biggrin1:
Big time! Most of the younger generation now thinks that they are "entitled" without earning their stripes first...
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I work in management in a non-profit organization. Non-profit means that we have to do a lot "other duties" including cleaning our own coffee room, buying snacks for meetings etc. I know how to answer phones, file, fix the photocopier even though those things aren't even remotely my job. In my view, no job is too small. If something needs to be done, I will roll up my sleeves and do it.
My last couple of hires were people in their early twenties. Educated and personable. But their work ethic makes my jaw drop. They wander in 10 minutes after work starts and leave a few minutes early like their ass is on fire. I heard one tell another colleague, "that's not my job". So I walked over and said, "Well, then I suppose I'll do it - as it needs to be done."
One, a 25 year old male and fitness freak, had to come into work on a Saturday as we had a big meeting. It had snowed and I was shoveling the walk. I have 20 years on him. I said, "Thanks goodness you're here - you can finish shoveling for me!" He looked at me and laughed and said, "Yeah, right!" and walked into the building! I was gobsmacked!
I have spoken to these employees about their attitudes, but the only improvement is that they "work to rule" and truthfully I cannot make them to do anything beyond the absolute legal minimum. They have no future in this company and certainly not in this field where personal intergrity carries a lot of weight.
Who the hell has raised such kids? Who taught them that the bare minimum is enough? Are these the type of people who compete on American Idol because mommy thinks they are brilliant when they truly suck? Is their self esteem based on a parental lie?
Maybe it's because my career jobs were all in furniture retail, where one is paid a commission (and not a salary, usually), but I've never worked any place that tolerated (let alone rewarded) sloth or the sort of insolent behavior LaFemme describes above. Anyone with such an ethic would have been shown the door, or be terrorized into quitting.
I'll agree with much of what Vince says, too, about productivity here in SoFla: service is almost impossible, superior service is singular. That's one of the reasons why I keep my circle as small as possible; people simply cannot be rude or indifferent to customers whom they interact with constantly.
My own job right now is in a bar/nightclub pretty much in the middle of everything, where the average age of the staff is somewhere just over 50. As I am not a bartender, my business is actually busier on quieter nights. On very busy weekend nights there are too many distractions and, frankly, when it's shoulder-to-shoulder my station gets blocked and I don't get the same exposure as I do on, say, a Tuesday.
And despite having my own little AC and the fact that I work in my underwear and a leather harness most nights, when I'm busy, I sweat like a whore in church and stay drenched for the rest of the night. Despite my age and the nagging pain of an arthritic neck, I break my ass.
But I'm hardly alone in that regard. The bartenders serve hundreds of cocktails and/or beer on busy nights and usually don't even take a piss break unless desperate. And I've always said that the most physically demanding job I ever had was working there as a barback, working in 90+ degree heat (except when you're in the 36 degree walk-in) for as many as five bartenders, lugging 40 pound buckets of melting ice through crowds that will not move, etc, etc.
It's what's euphemistically called "pace", and could only do it full-time for two years. It's also why, despite virtually no turn-over otherwise, the bar goes through barbacks like toilet paper: it's just too much fucking work when done right, and anything less that perfect pace is not tolerated: the bartenders simply won't tip you out your share.
In my first place of work, there seemed to be a tacit understanding amongst workers that the more dominant personalities would decide at which pace/effort everybody was to work at. Unfortunately, the dominant personalities were also _more_ likely to complain and _less_ likely to work with great effort. This created a tough environment for those who entered the workplace with a positive, 'can-do' mindset until eventually, they too, succumbed to the negative mob-rule and became chronic complainers themselves; Ready and waiting to alienate the fresh, new employees into submission! I am sad to say that peer pressure (ie. co-workers, who are on the same level) tends to affect a person to a much higher degree than one individual on a superior level (ie. the boss), and hence it is plausible that an entire group of employees can have a low work-ethic without their employer realizing, because the low work-ethic is all that he's known with his batch of poisonous employees!
I think the problem is down to there being many other cushy options for people out there who are laid-off (state welfare, schooling/ training courses with monetary benefits.. ---at least that is the case in Ireland-- though admittedly less-cushy in recent times---) and that safety-blanket mindset can easily lead a person to forget that they're actually getting paid for their time/ they actually pursued their employer.
Ridiculously, I would find myself working hard but then lying about how much work I had done to my co-workers so that I wouldn't be ostracised.
Also, though, I believe mid to high-level job-holders are more likely to work hard because they have a better chance of obtaining a raise/ are more likely to be replaced by somebody looking to get into the work-ladder if they aren't up to standard--especially in this economic climate.
Interesting points, whatthefoucault. Clearly you will find people working within their comfort zone, but the problem, as you point out, is that they can then engender a culture of doing the minimum to get by.
Personally, I just care about doing as good a job as I can. I don't mind being tested and learning from my failures. I would just get too bored otherwise.
Well when my father managed to bust his ass for 40 years without a college degree, knowing the in's and out's of his job and loses everything to a kid with a college degree, yeah.
Now, you can be a total idiot with a college degree and get a job. Be a genius without one and you're mostly ignored, it's stupid.
Or I can work a job for 5 years, work from a part-timer to head supervisor and *poof*, laid off. Now I'm working for crap with no hope of ever getting a raise or a promotion.
It's all bullshit, now I won't try hard. There isn't anything to try for.
I'd work hard at trying to find another good job for yourself, Mercyful.
Well --- an interesting thread! I fully believe the work ethic has changed in direct relation to the "company's" ethic concerning it's employees. Time and time again I am told how "valued" I am as an employee.....and yet -- as I said in another thread......after 9 years and our Company just having purchased 35 new retirement buildings and paid CASH for them -- I was given a 1.75% increase going from $16.15 per hour to $16.43 per hour! My raise has been less than 50 cents total over the last 2 years combined!
In my father's generation..........the attitude of the worker was, "If I work hard, the company will appropriately reward me FOR my hard work!" Now I'm not naive enough to believe that was ALWAYS the case -- however -- THOSE companies of yesteryear managed to keep many of their employees for 30+ years of service!! When you think you're going to be at a place for the long term --- you behave long term! When you think your ass will be canned at any time because the company will pull the rug out from underneath you or expect $60,000 of labor for a $30,000 salary --- you're ALWAYS on the lookout for something better.
Simply put -- you can't be happy in a "marriage" if your eyes are always roving for the next "lay!" Today's 20 year olds just don't believe they will be at their present jobs more than 5 years max! What kind of hard work ethic does that promote??
hmm. I think what has been said about older generations makes it clear that the need to work hard is much less nowadays than it once was. Whether you think it good or bad that we have a welfare state, we do. People will naturally behave accordingly. It is true we are rich compared to past generations, and can afford to take life more easily.
i remember hearing something recently about managers (and higher ranks generally) not being motivated much by money. Clearly the lower ranks arent, because they dont get much. I think the comments about having a personal stake in whatever it is you are doing are right, and people will work harder if they feel a real part of whatever it is they do. There are a lot of bottom of the pile jobs nowadays where it is hard to imagine people feeling appreciated.