Echoes: Oh Where, Oh Where Has… Our Work Ethic Gone?

By admin
January 14, 2014

By Lana Turnbull

First, let me say, that in this economy which is working very well for many at the upper end of the pay scale, but is still dragging heavily for those struggling at the bottom, I know there are lots of folks working two and three jobs, part time and full time, contract and hourly, and any other combination or description of work just to get by. For them a work ethic is not a philosophy so much as a necessity to keep food on the table and a roof over their family’s heads, although many show a work ethic that could and should be emulated throughout our economy. I’m talking about a work ethic, or lack there of, that is just as pervasive as a bad economy, and just as detrimental to our overall economic health as a nation.

I’m talking about the credo of a lot of folks who are fortunate enough to have a job, but who don’t seem compelled to do it. I don’t mean they don’t show up at all…although that is often the case. I mean the ones who sit at their desks and play video poker or watch the playoffs or text their buddies. The ones that come in late, leave early and take a long lunch hour. I’m talking about those who can’t seem to meet their deadlines, but who never miss the cut off to turn in an expense report or put in a request to take off the next holiday. I’m talking about those who are too quick to give up, too ready to make an excuse, too distracted with everything but what they are getting paid for – too busy to go the extra mile or even an extra inch.

Whether it is building the best widget, selling the most product, creating the most beautiful art, or doing the best job possible of mopping a floor, besides the obvious financial benefit of working, whatever happened to working hard not only because it gives you the satisfaction of a job well done, but because you gave your word you would do it. I don’t lay this at the feet of any one generation. Good work ethics can be found in people of all ages, though they seem few and far between. If we look hard enough we’ll find the student who studies even when there isn’t going to be a pop quiz – the clerk who stays after their shift to finish serving a customer – the technician who makes sure he gets the equipment repaired for the person who needs it to complete a job himself – the nurse who stops to console a crying child in a busy ER – the banker who realizes there is more to good credit than the sum of a person’s assets.

Unless we are born into great wealth, the time we spend at work accounts for more of the days, weeks and years of our lives than anything else we will do…sometimes more than the time we spend with our families. Since our job is going to consume so much of our time on this earth, isn’t it worth doing well? Isn’t it worth putting everything we have into it?

If I could choose one collective New Year’s resolution that would be for every American, reclaiming our good work ethic would be it. We built this great country on it. We walked on the moon because of it. We are the richest country on earth thanks to it.

But we can also lose everything we have without it. Happy New Year…America. Let’s get to work!

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