I saw an interesting post on Facebook from one of the kids I watched grow up in the neighborhood.
“Labor Day the communist holiday!”
I’m sure he was just having some fun, but it got me thinking how young adults see work very different from past generations. We saw work as an opportunity to achieve all of our goals and dreams. In other words, we saw it as a way to get a car. Most of the kids I know today just see work as a hassle and something to be avoided. Heck, most of the kids I know don’t even have cars. Times have definitely changed.
Why it Pays to Work Hard
Anyone who watches any sport realizes the star players make a lot more money than the others. A baseball player with a .300 batting average often makes four or five times as much as a player who hits .250. There is always someone who is willing to pay top dollar for the top performers in any field. Everyone else is competing for the scraps and left-overs. Even if your employer fails to recognize your talent and effort, someone else will. If you have your own business, you will be picking up the best customers, instead of your lagging competitors.
Everyone knows that times are tough right now. The bad news is they may be getting tougher. Even if we do recover from this prolonged recession, millions of good paying jobs may have been lost permanently. Corporations are banking record profits and squeezing maximum productivity from employees. Most of the new jobs being created are low-paying retail positions. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is going to continue to widen. Now, more than ever, it’s important to be a top performer.
A Good Start is Important
The unemployment rate for teenagers is almost 25% in the U.S. and much higher in other countries. Young people with college degrees are having a tough time finding work in their field. Employment experts believe many will have permanently lower incomes, just by graduating into this recession. College grads are supposed to be the winners in our society, but they are struggling, along with everyone else. The kids I see winning right now are the ones who have worked through college or completed an internship. Those who come out of college in their 20s and have never held a job aren’t finding a receptive market. Employers can afford to be choosy right now and they are only hiring the best and brightest.
I was 17 years old during the Jimmy Carter recession and conditions were very similar to what they are now. It took me six months to get a job as a box boy at the local supermarket. I showed up twice a week and got the only open position in six months. Tough times call for tough measures and a lot more hustle. There are good jobs out there, but most of them aren’t being advertised. If you are looking for work, it’s important to knock on doors and hit up your friends and family.
Employment is an Opportunity
Employment is much more than an exchange of hours for pay. It is an opportunity to reward yourself from hard work and dedication. It’s also an opportunity for your employer to enrich themselves to from your efforts and talent. Understanding this is the key to success in employment. Those who shirk their workload or resent their employer’s income aren’t going anywhere. People who want a bigger piece of the pie need to find ways to help enrich their employer and share in the reward.
I chuckle at the people who post on Facebook about how much Monday sucks or about how happy they are that it’s finally Friday. To them, work is a burden or jail sentence. It is something to loathe for 40 hours, while they are dreaming about freedom on the weekend. I have a different attitude. I like to enjoy every day, whether I have to work or not. Life is too short to live in drudgery.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that truly happy people like their jobs. They know each day is a gift and every problem an opportunity. Truly happy people like to give of themselves and have gratitude for everything they receive.
Happy Labor Day!
“Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.”
Ulysses S. Grant – 18th President of the United States
Barbara Friedberg – Positive and Negative Consequences of Globalization
First Generation White Collar – Work is Just Like School
The Biz of Life – Happy Capital Day