About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Work Ethics?

There's been some chat recently in my circle about the work ethics of the younger generation. Maybe the fact that we are tut-tutting what we see as their lack of work ethics is because they don't do things the same way we do/did. Maybe I'm getting old.

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...


Ruth W. said...

OMG...how true this is. I have been dealing with this the last 5 years at my work place. It is unbelievable what little, if any work they do.

RiverPoet said...

It's really a shame. People have gotten to where they joke that you've got an interview if you come in to work in nice clothes.

The big wake-up call for me about all of this was when all those girls showed up at the White House and posed with the president in flip-flops!!! It's like they are stupid!

But what can you do? I tried to teach my kids how to dress, but my daughter still dresses like a slob. Makes me mad...but she looks like everyone else...

Peace - D

Country Girl said...

It's a shame, isn't it? My husband and I have excellent work ethics, but the younger generation simply does not. I can't say that for all of them, though. I work with some very young teachers who are very hard workers.

leslie said...

After writing this post, I was chatting on the phone with a friend. She didn't know I'd done the post and went on to tell me how horrid her day of shopping had been. The young sales clerks and cashiers were so dense that she had to ask for a supervisor during one transaction. And the cashier actually went "humph" when my friend asked her to please add her points to her credit card after the girl had forgotten to do it. ERG!

Colin Campbell said...

Coming back into the work force in the last couple of years, it is very noticeable the anti social impact of ipods and mobile phones. It irritates me to have to "interrupt" somebody just to get some work done. That and the always on internet.

leslie said...

Hi Colin, yes I forgot to mention the playing of computer games right in the middle of work time. Terrible!

Russell said...

Where to begin??! Heh! So much could be said!

At the college I work at, I am one of the few instructors who wear a tie every day. I had one instructor come up to me - decked out in his jeans, weird t-shirt and sandals! - and tell me I needed to learn to dress down so students could relate to me! He was very serious, actually.

I asked him if he really thought dressing like a complete slob (I am so nice!) made students RESPECT him... I said to him that 19-year old kids don't want to "relate" to their instructors, they want to be stimulated to learn something. In a business class, I said you should dress like a professional. If it were art or photography or auto mechanics that is completely different. But, even then, clean is clean and neat is neat.

I told this guy his jeans were dirty, his sandals were worn out and his t-shirt was torn. I told him I did not relate to him and had no respect for him.

I could go on for the next few hours but...! Heh!!! Suffice it to say I completely agree with you and I frequently talk to my students are the importance of dressing well, being neat, being clean and being professional!! One of my routine sermons!! Heh!!!

Take care and what a GREAT post!

leslie said...

Hi Russell, thanks for your comments. When I taught at a business college for women on social security, one of my tasks was to take them to a second-hand (upscale) store in the area to teach them how to be able to buy professional-looking attire for work. I always wore a suit, dress, or skirt and blouse as I had to be a role model for these women who had been down on their luck most of their lives. They really appreciated all my help!

Casdok said...

Makes one wonder where it will end?

Isabelle said...

Hmm. Not sure that I feel so strongly as you about this.

By the way, I didn't get rid of the blue flowers, if you mean the blue/lilac alliums - like big balls on sticks. They'd just stopped flowering by the time the second picture was taken. It took me some time to do the destructive bit of gardening!

Daryl said...

I think that a lot has changed in the offices across this country and it sounds as if its changed in Canada too

Many companies (with the exception of law offices) seem to have relaxed their dress code and often with that comes a too relaxed attitude about work.

I work in for a media co. and I work in an office bldg where almost all the women dress very well .. whether its on summer's half day Fridays or during the rest of the week everyone looks very chic

I personally see nothing wrong with listening to one's iPod as long as if your responsibility is to answer the phone isnt hampered.

As long as the job/work/task gets done properly in a timely manner I dont think it matters how one dresses or if music is listened to.

I remember when women were not permitted to wear slacks/pants to the office ... I remember when pant suits entered the lexicon and the office ... I remember when closed shoes and hose were mandatory ..

And now I see people more relaxed and often working harder because they are comfortable AND most of the 'kids' who dress casually do so because they do not make a lot of money in their job entry level positions w/student loans to pay off

Do you recall how your grandparents (I know mine said this) worried 'what was becoming of the younger generation .. with their rock and roll'

Anyway .. that's my 2 cents worth


leslie said...

Thanks for your comments Daryl. You make some excellent points. I did find that when we lived in the East that women especially dressed better than they do here in the West. Maybe it's a regional thing because Vancouver has such an outdoorsy sporty lifestyle. But I still believe that sloppy isn't good especially if you're dealing with clients or in the public eye.

Ruth D~ said...

What's it all about (Alfie)? While I agree that it looks this way, and maybe even is, I can't help but remember all the quotes from some "ancients" that make the some complaints about us. :>) Just saying . . .

joycesuz said...

Hi Leslie: Just came over to see your blog page. I was and still am amazed about the dress code in the work place. I can tell you that if you dress for success, you will succeed. I may not of been the smartest kid on the block but in the work forced I dressed like I was and was always the one chosen for advancement by my superiors, while the smart people were left behind. It tells you something about society don't you think? All that education that people get and forget about this area and can't understand why they don't succeed.

I also understand fully the new age of "I Don't Give A Damn". One of your commentors mentioned not being able to get help from clerical types. I'll never forget going to a public school and going up to the receptionist....I swear she wouldn't even acknowledge that I was there and she wasn't doing ANYTHING. After 3 different occasions of letting her get away with it..I said "Excuse me, may I speak to the principal", she said "Why" and I said it was personal. She and the rest of the people in the office wanted to know why and would not allow me to speak to the principal unless I told them why. Luckily for me the principal walked by and I ask to speak to him on a private matter and he let me come into his office. I explained how I was greeted on each time that I came to the school by the front office woman and he had told me that it was appreciated and that it wasn't the first time he had received this kind of complaint. I also indicated that when a parent came to the school and ask to speak to him on a private matter that is was very rude for his staff to ask what the problem was and to indicate they must tell you first what the problem prior to having the meeting. He agreed that his directions to his staff had been misunderstood.

Now on the other work issues for younger teens, I say it's just a growing up stage. They either have it or they don't and I truely think it starts at home. My kids were taught that money does not fall off trees. During their school years, I gave them $100 each for clothing and they could go to a designer store and get 1 shirt, 1 pants or to discount stores and buy 3 full new outfits with shoes. They learned quickly.
Both my son-in-law and daughter are extremely hard working kids. My son-in-law leaves the house by 1 am and does not return until 2 pm. That's a 13 hour day and he does this 7 days a week. Then when he comes home he does yard work, pool work, laundry or whatever needs to be done. I love that kid. My daugther aka the Queen works hard as well, taking care of all the bills, grocery shopping, taking care of kids when I don't. We are a wonderful group raising my grand-children together.

Hugs Suz

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I agree with all that you say, Leslie. It really shocks me when people use the office phone without thinking - even to call abroad! - and take advantage in so many other ways. I come from a UK culture where you can lose your job for making a private phone call in the public services and, although this might be extreme, I understand the reasons for it.

marry said...

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