What happened to hard workers?
That’s the dilemma I find myself struggling with on the pretty regular lately. In short, it’s a tough time to be a parent on many accounts. This hard work notion, however, has really found me scratching my head.
I’m the parent raising my children as I was raised, actually perhaps a bit tougher. I don’t believe in allowance (I earned an allowance as a kid). Now as the parent my perspective is a bit basic and simple. We all share the same home and therefore equal responsibility when it comes to caring for the home where we live.
As I’ve shared with my children, when you go out on your own and care for your own home no one is going to pay you to do so. It’s simple responsibility and yes, some of us take it a bit more to heart than others.
Now, I’m not a complete toughie; I do compensate them for certain things which is a bit “extra.” Things like cleaning the shutters, baseboards or ceiling fans – there could be payment for that or it could also be a punishment. Again, I’m not an easy parent – most times.
I’m going to take this a step further and readers will either agree with a strong “Amen!” or think I’m nuts. In truth, makes no difference to me. I’ve been in the workforce at some degree since I was 13 years old. I earned my first paycheck at 15 and I have had fewer days without employment than I have with. This isn’t about a sob story or a “why” did I have to work.
I didn’t “have” to work when I was young, I chose to. I desired earning my own money and even as an adult when married I learned that while it was indeed nice to have the privilege of staying home, I liked having my name on a paycheck.
This generation coming up however, more specifically a large number of the 20-somethings I’ve encountered … I’m worried not just for them but for us as a society. Recently I listened to an employee complain to my partner (his boss) about being tired. Apparently he had worked nine and a half hours (this included break periods – you do the math) and felt he was done for the day.
Now of course I understand there are eight hours in a work day or 40 hours in a work week. I also know of a thing called overtime. Personally speaking, I always loved overtime when I worked as an hourly employee, maybe I’m odd or maybe we’re just not raising hard workers as we once did. I’m really not sure.
What I do know is that more of us need to be raising our children with not only a good work ethic, but a hard working work ethic – in both the classroom as well as the workforce. We’re hearing more and more that we need tradesmen and laborers in the workplace more so or equal to those with college degrees.
Regardless of path, this is a country which was built on hard workers. Bridges were built, roadways paved and families fed by workers who weren’t afraid or “too tired” to work beyond an eight hour day.
As I type this I can’t help but chuckle a bit. These very words will be read by my Editor. A college educated woman whose days begin at 8 a.m. and conclude often times well after 8 p.m. on a Monday. There’s no overtime in her world as the Editor. She doesn’t have the luxury of being “tired” following nine hours of work. If she did, our words wouldn’t make it to the press in time for our readers to enjoy.
So what’s the point here really? It’s really quite simple – let’s keep the standards high. Technology alone has made things so much easier on our youth (remember encyclopedias?) Let’s not do them a further disservice by enabling little Johnny after nine hours of work and asking him if he needs a nap. Let’s build a generation of hustlers and hard workers, just as the generations who taught and groomed us.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.