Friday, 13 July 2012

Work ethic missing.

Having written about the seventy year old  job seekers yesterday it feels only right to talk about the young ones today . The program continued following some old people and also by contrast some young ones...
The older ones won hands down but this should be no surprise for anyone of my age who has spent a life time in teaching.
The work ethic was quite simply missing...and it started me ruminating on what has gone so wrong in the last years....
In education, in employment law, in medicine.....mistakes have been made  and new laws passed   in almost panic terms by successive governments.
In trying to make everything in life a level playing field the habit of working hard, of competition  with peers, has just gone...not for all but for many.
Accidents happen...sometimes things are unfair and need to be addressed.... but you can't legislate for everything.
Men came home from the last great war determined to make a better place for their children and grandchildren  which is iron out class differences as well as pay deals....but somewhere we forgot the basic ethic of living good lives, of not cheating , or stealing or bullying...
Young people today are intelligent, are possessed of IT skills we would never have dreamed of....and yet some, not all would rather stay home with the TV than do an honest days work...
This may change as they reach the point of actually having to pay their own way....but last nights program revealed this lack of  a need to work  in all its depressing  detail....
I honestly believe that what is missing may well be respect....
To respect old people, their teachers , their parents is surely the beginning of a useful life....and yet its not there in some cases at all....
Respect has to be can never be a given....I am older than you therefor you will respect me is not going to do it.....we have to earn respect...
If there was a simple solution to this it would have become apparent to us all by this time but may I suggest that to start by living good lives, by helping others when they need it, by working with joy and even love may be the start of respect.....its not too late. The wheel keeps can all be made right with good will and effort. So what are we waiting for?


  1. We too watched the second programme yesterday evening. We had high hopes for the young people, which were realised in one or two of them. Sadly, others seemed to think that the level of work was beneath them. The comments about work in the chocolate factory being boring were true, but if it puts bread on the table, that is what is needed.

    I was pleased with those older people who demonstrated their capacity and willingness to work, even though, they might have been a little slow, particularly where manual dexterity or computer use was concerned - what they outshone the young people in was life experience, people skills and plain doggedness in getting things done.

    I think that workplaces need a balance of older, experienced workers to mentor those entering the work place for the first time - they come (mostly) shiny eyed, but totally unprepared for what to expect or what is required from them. They are capable of picking up computer skills quickly (using bespoke software) as they've probably used IT since early childhood, where they fall down is in 'personality and character' something the church wants from it's Ordained Ministers - they are raw, undeveloped and not really able to cope with people to any real extent. Evidenced by the young man showing houses to potential tenants, he was tongue tied and did quite a poor job. It was a bit unfair to him, as he really needed to gain experience alongside a mentor before being let loose on his own.

    I think that our young people deserve better, and that can only be reasonably addressed in real life work experience before leaving education or straight after. Placements in the industry of choice should be made available across the board to allow them to sample life in that industry before committing to it. Two weeks is not enough, something like 3 months would be more productive.

    In the end, the lady who worked in the Cafe, was an inspiration. She demonstrated motivation, commitment, maturity, real people skills and a sense of a work ethic which was admirable. Her relationship with her manager was exemplary, as was his to all of his staff.

  2. I didn't see the programme myself (though I think we recorded it - if not then I shall use iPlayer), but I have a couple of thoughts about this:
    1. I rather suspect that when modern employers complain about what school-leavers can't do, they expect them to come into the workplace as already fully functioning adults.
    2. in "the old days" a lot of socialising of the younger employees went on in the workplace, whether in white- or blue-collar jobs. Some of this may have amounted to bullying, but the expectation was that the person would probably spend a significant time, if not a lifetime, with the employer. Today, even those lucky enough to have jobs will probably change organisations every few years if not even more frequently.
    3. I am not sure I really agree that "respect has to be earned." I do agree that respect can be lost in an instant, and that it can be enhanced. But how about if the default were that respect is assumed until lost? This does not mean the kind of societal deference that existed (or was assumed to exist) in the early part of last century, but I think our society would be a lot better off if our present assumption was reversed.

  3. I sometimes think it is a teenage thing to be prone to laziness and untidiness. They change! I fervently believe this anyway!