My youngest daughter The Effervescent Gabrielle pointed out to me last night that today’s date is 07-07-07, which is a ‘lucky day’. Since she’s already a lucky person, she thought I should take her up to the convenience store at 7:00 am today and have her buy a lottery ticket. She’s thirteen, this is summer and none of my kids have seen the awake side of about 10:00 am in a month. Somehow I think she’d have reconsidered how lucky today is if I really had woken her up at 7:00.
Personally I’m not feeling real lucky. I’m paying the price for being a business owner today (and yesterday) by having to cancel a trip I had planned to my New England park operation to work painting airbrush tattoos at the Mall of America thanks to an employee who decided to quit suddenly.??á¬¨‚Ä† Said employee left me a voicemail last Saturday to tell me she was quitting because she was invited on a 4th of July trip and since she was scheduled to work 7 of the next 10 days, she’d was just going to quit. This voicemail was left about 2 hours before she was supposed to come in to work a close shift.
I had to scramble to cover her shifts. Thankfully the mall was understanding and I was allowed to operate at reduced hours for two days this week to help, although the second half of Saturday was lost. I placed an ad on Craiglist for a new artist, and interviewed two candidates on Wednesday. I thought either would have worked out well, but one was available to start immediately while the other had plans this week end and next. This weekend I needed them to work so I would be able to make my trip to Six Flags New England. I hired this young lady, who seemed very sharp and on the ball. She didn’t show up for her training on Thursday, and after my phone calls went unanswered I got a text message from her saying this: “I have accepted another position”. No phone call to me to tell me not to meet her, no consideration for the other people I had told the position was filled (the other girl had gotten another job in the meantime), no concern she might have caused me a lot of headaches having to restart the process. A TEXT MESSAGE. Coward.
This isn’t a lone incident. I have been concerned for the last decade that the kids of today have this bizarre feeling of entitlement, where they think what they need should be provided unquestioned and what they want should be given to them with the barest of efforts. There are notable exceptions but all too often I see a horrible lack of work ethic in the young. They place their jobs somewhere below volunteer community service on the totem pole of priorities. Many seem to no qualms about calling in sick or just quitting if the slightest social activity is being compromised, and worse they don’t feel the need to make an effort to do their jobs well. They think that showing up is all that’s needed to earn their paychecks.
As I said, not all kids are like that. I have had some excellent employees in the past, and have a few right now. It’s just become harder and harder to find them.
I was raised to believe that hard work is it’s own reward. I was taught that when asked to do 100 of anything, you always did 110. I always felt when I was entrusted with a job it was my responsibility to do what I could to help out my employers, and I treated the business I worked in like it was my own. This started with my first job at a wholesale produce store, and continues today. I lament that these mid-west work ethic values are slowly being lost.
I don’t know where this sense of entitlement comes from. I suspect it’s a byproduct of the “Me Generation” and the selfishness and self-centered world we live in. Parents are mostly to blame, of course. We all spoil our kids a little more than we should. I hope when the time comes for my kids to start working I have managed to instill in them the same kind of work ethic my parents taught me.
Judging by how hard they work to keep their rooms clean I am failing miserably.
263 My cover art for the next issue of MAD, exclusive sneak peek from @entertainmentweekly website
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