Wednesday, February 13, 2008


When I moved up north, I was the director of marketing for a retirement community. It was an amazing job and I loved it every single, solitary day. After I had my son, I had post-partum depression. I didn't make the best decisions during that time and chose to resign my position and go into media sales. For some reason, it made sense to me. Bad decision.

At first, things were fine. I was making money hand-over-fist. Then the economy began to slow down. Businesses pulled back on their spending and I began to stress out. It was absolutely awful.

As the economy began to get progressively worse, the first thing businesses cut was their advertising dollars. As a marketing professional, I felt that was a really poor move, but when a business owner shared with me that he either pay his employees or my television station, I understood his point.

My company was in the process of being acquired by another and there was a lot of tension and pressure to perform. Most people in media sales at the time were struggling, but you add bosses calling you 25 times a day to see if you could sell a $1,000 spot during NASCAR and it can get pretty darned ugly. My heart would race, my eye would twitch. I couldn't sleep. I was crabby. So. Very. Crabby to my husband and son.

One day, I just quit. I knew the affects on my health, my family and my friends wasn't worth it. I felt immediate freedom. I didn't have a job to go to, but I wasn't worried. I knew everything would be OK. Tom tends to worry about situations like these, but he powered through and supported me and hid any worries and fears.

After two weeks of unemployment, I accepted a temporary position at a large logistics company. I worked there for ten weeks and loved the stress-free environment. Going in and doing my job and then going home and Who knew?

I was grateful every day. I remember walking up the stairs to my office one morning thinking "I am making 1/3 of what I used to, but I am so much happier." I would joke about how little money I made with my husband and sisters, but was seriously thrilled to go in every morning, work hard and then go home. I loved it.

Some of my fellow temporary workers didn't see things that way. I would walk past their cubicles and see them reading books, chatting on the phone, playing solitaire online, etc. instead of working. They didn't hide it from me and they didn't hide it from our supervisor.

When we would have a slow period, they would complain that they had to stay there. We were getting paid to be there for when things got busy, and yet they would rather go home and earn nothing. Instead of asking our supervisor to find them a project (like filing or helping another department) they would sit around and talk about what a waste of time it was to be there.

One of our sisters is a health care executive . Recently, she was frustrated by the poor attitudes of some of her staff members who were being handed every working woman's dream scenario.

"Due to lack of space,I’m transitioning two of my departments (total of 10 employees) to begin working from home. These are positions that do not have direct patient contact and can be monitored by each individual's productivity.

These employees will be given a computer and have their high-speed internet access paid for by the company. They will continue to be paid as they currently are and will receive full benefits; health insurance, dental insurance, bonus, paid time off, holiday pay, etc. They will not have to get up in the morning, drive to work, buy lunch and work clothes, etc. Nor will they have to buy gas, at $3.00+ a gallon.

Instead of being thankful they have a job that allows them this flexibility, some have the nerve to question what else we will do for them. They asked, 'Will I get reimbursed for my office space?' and 'Will I be reimbursed for parking when I am required to attend a meeting at the office?"'

If they are not satisfied with the freedom of working from home and continuing to earn up to $19.00 per hour, then they can choose to sit home and watch TV and be unemployed. Either way, they won't be here."

When I accepted my current position as a property manager, I was stunned to learn about the work ethic of my predecessor. She complained that she was "bored", yet she had no systems in place for the next phase of development, warranties ran out on appliances that need repairs and upgrades that were promised were never delivered. Condo owners were not being assessed their fee for several months, and paperwork was not completed. I got to clean up the mess.

When she realized she wasn't long for my company, she deleted all the important files from the computer. Shredded essential documents. Did away with management agreements, contracts, marketing history-things I need to learn my job and perform well.

The condo owners shared with me that she was rarely on-site. Our corporate office is three hours away. My boss wouldn't know if she was at the mall, or in a meeting; getting a manicure or giving a property tour. She was being trusted to do her job. She was compensated with a comfortable salary, health insurance and generous vacation package and she gave nothing in return. And felt no remorse for her behavior.

Where is the work ethic of today's employees? Where is the guilt for messing around on the job? What makes them think they "deserve" more time off, demand a raise, a bigger office, paid parking, health coverage? Those are benefits a company can offer, not something an employee is entitled to have. If you want more, perform to the level which is expected and beyond.

If you don't like your job, quit. But first, check the economy in Michigan. There are thousands of people who would give anything to earn your paycheck so they can buy groceries for their family, have health insurance, put gas in their car and pay their mortgage. So shut up and get to work. You'll feel better about yourself. I promise.

What's that? You want to comment? Just click on the itty-bitty words below that say "Gimme Some Sugar". Can you see them? Good. We can't wait to chat with you.


Anonymous said...
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Ashlee said...

Amen Amen Amen!
My hubby and I have conversations about this FREQUENTLY. People don't care about doing a good job anymore. What happened to the pure satisfaction of going above and beyond? You work hard, you get rewarded. Nothing is free.

Momma Mary said...

Don't you love cleaning up messes like that? I work from home now, on a commission-type basis, but would KILL for a job tha tpays $19/hour working from home!

I found your blog through BlogHer, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to add you to my reader.

bubandpie said...

If the no-whining policy applies to employees, I'd apply the same code to management: if you rely on a pool of part-time temporary workers who are not being offered any long-term incentives to do a good job, you can't really complain if your employees are unmotivated and doing the bare minimum they can get away with.

Wade Huntsinger said...

Ditto; One of the things that Tc and I have talked about with this job is that we get paid to basically live. You could really skate on this one but we have good work ethics and do the best we can with what we have. Good post and I agree if I did not like what I was doing I would change in a heartbeat.

Sister Honey Bunch said...

bubandpie, thanks for stopping by.

I agree managment needs to do their part. However in this instance we all knew our temp. assignements would last anywhere from 6-12 weeks. We were working on a special project that the company didn't have manpower for.

Management never took any type of attitude towards the workers who were messing around. It just bothered ME because we were getting paid an hourly rate to work.

I just don't understand the mentality of some employees who think they deserve everything when they don't even put in a full days work.

Wade, buddy you are doing amazing work! You could never be compensated enough for what you and your wife do.

High hopes said...

Work ethic I don't think some people know what it is anymore. We have a generation of me-me people who have spawned me-me kids who don't know how to work for anything. I know this sounds tough, but it is true. When people constantly hand their kids whatever they want and the kids don't have to work and earn it, what more do we expect.

I work in an office and have people drop off resumes from time to time and I am completely amazed at how they dress. They are slobs, they come in running shoes and jeans or even worse yoga work-out pants. Hello first impression knocking on the door.

Somewhere along the line we have to start teaching people what is acceptable and that not everything is going to be handed to them on a silver platter. You want something you have to work for it. Simple if you ask me.

I hate the way our society has a bunch of whining winjing wankers who expect everything to be handed to them. Here's a novel idea people, hows about getting off your overweight butts and going to work and putting in a full day. I can promise you at the end of that day you will feel wonderful and fulfilled knowing you did a good job.

Obviously this post hit a nerve with me. Sorry if it seems tough, but the reality is this is why we are in such a mess economically.

Jen said...

Great post! (And a good eye-opener for me, who has been b*tching all week about my stressful job.)

I'm a contractor for the US Government, but I used to be a federal employee. I have NEVER encountered a sense of entitlement equal to that of the people I worked with as a fed. One woman brought cross-stitch to work with her and sewed all day. Another had a mini-TV under her desk and wore headphones to watch soap operas. It was abominable!

Sister Sassy said...

I've been both people I think. There was a time where i held down three different jobs at one time.

I also had a job where if there was nothing to do rather than going upstairs and volunteering to cut a giant bucket of onions and nearly dying-I'd play cards with the other girls. That was the best! lol!

Good post, this economy sucks and I better stop posting during work hours or I might not have my job!

snebrown said...

Nice to know I am not on this soapbox all alone!! Great post.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I couldn't agree more!

Anonymous said...

One more thing along the same lines. If you are looking for a job, or know that you will be in the near future, please consider that every public event could be a job interview or at the least, a first impression. A couple of years ago I took a Saturday morning class at our community college. There was a young lady in this class who always dragged in late, dressed in sloppy clothes, hair a mess and then she will lay her head on the desk during the majority of class. During the semester, I happened to have a job opening and posted it in the newspaper and on line. This classmate sent in her resume, which looked pretty good. However, I knew how she bahaved and looked in class and proceeded to put her resume in the Do Not Call pile. How unfortunate.

Sister 7 said...

One of the main problems with the work ethic today is that one is not taught. Parents a generation ago probably felt that their parents made them work too much and so they decided to give their children "whatever their hearts desired" and pay for everything. The kids didn't learn that they have to work for what they want, everything will just be handed to them. Even my generation has that tendancy. Why give my kids chores, I don't think they need to learn how to work. One thing I am trying to implement with our household is a chore system. My kids already work towards things and I probably give them too many things without work but I am trying to change that. I also feel that my children should have to work while they are in college. We have already set aside some money with their education but I am not going to hand it to them. I want them to learn to work and work well. I know it will be hard for them but I worked full-time and went to school full-time when I was in college and I think I learned something from that. My husband has the best work ethic of anyone I know. When he does a job he does it 110% without question and when extra jobs come up on the weekend he is all about doing them. I hope my girls learn that same work ethic. It is a hard lesson to teach our children but as seen from your article it is so necessary.

Brother JimmyEatWorld said...

I don't agree with some of the others that this is a purely generational or age issue. As a manager I have overseen people who make anywhere from minimum wage to those making over $30k per year. I've seen older people who are just as lazy as those 'slaker' high school kids. I've seen some kids who would work very hard and ask if there is anything else that they need to do before they leave.

I'm sure if you had said this same thing in the 1950's, parents who had gone through the deprection would agrue that young kids had it easy and don't know hard work means. As we get more and more inventions and automations in our life, it is easy to really on other things to get things done. 50 years ago the SAHM spent hours and hours and hours just handwashing clothes, hanging them, ironing them, now you throw them in and walk away saving time and energy. Kids these days have grown up with many improvements in thier life and adapted to them as we did when we were kids.

Just make sure you don't judge people because of the generation they fall into.