That said, when I was just starting out it never occurred to me to do anything BUT my job during the time I was being paid to do my job. As the work came to my in-basket, I faithfully completed the assignment and proofread it to make sure there were no typos or spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. When I moved on to the teaching profession, I worked long hours preparing my lesson plans, marking students' papers, and evaluating their day-to-day and overall progress. I never had music playing in the background or plugged in a Walkman (the old-fashioned version of the Ipod). I didn't chat with co-workers about what I did last night or was planning for the weekend, drink coffee at my desk, waste time in the washroom except during breaks, or ever come to work hung over.
For a couple of years before I took early retirement, I became more and more disillusioned in the workplace. I have many friends who are still working and over the past little while, many have commented on how a lot of young people in the workplace today do not seem to have the same sort of work ethic that we older people do. Employees work with Ipods stuck in their ears only taking out one pod to answer a telephone call, personal cell phones in hand texting to friends, taking long coffee and lunch breaks, and complaining that they are overloaded with work. Finally, their work attire is so casual it borders on sloppy. During the winter, it's jeans and tops and in the summer it's shorts and spaghetti-strapped/bare stomached T's. Maybe it's just out West (here) where life tends to be so casual. Finally, let's not forget the gum-chewing, coffee slurping, and other not so attractive personal habits that can be viewed by co-workers.
Now, I'm not saying that everyone has become sloppy, but let's look at one day in the life of moi. One day as I was standing in line at one of the banks I frequent, I noticed that all the tellers looked like slobs. All were wearing ill-fitted and ragged jeans, so I thought maybe it was "Jeans Day." But no...one of the young male tellers looked as though he'd slept in his clothes, T-shirt and pants totally wrinkled and his hair was a mess. The women wore either sloppy T-shirts or tops that didn't cover all their "tops." I went across the street to my other (main) bank and was so impressed that I complimented them all. One of the male tellers was actually wearing a suit and the other was clad in neatly pressed pants and a shirt (no tie, but he looked very tidy). So in the case of banks, I think the outward impression connects to how the customer believes they handle their money. Appearing sloppy makes me think you're not being careful with my money. Conversely, appearing tidy makes me think you're handling my money carefully.
As one person said to me, "The supervisors are away on holidays, and I have no authority to tell these kids to put away their Ipods and cell phones and get to work." That must be so frustrating to a senior employee who has worked long hours and years and is also overloaded with work.
Once we baby-boomers are out of the work force, I dread to think how businesses will be run. I'm not saying employees need to go back to the times when we all wore suits. However, I do believe that young people need to understand the image they project when they come to work. Work is work and play is play. Give each 100% of your energy.
And now for your amusement...