Friday, September 23, 2011

Why today's society does not encourage hard work

Every now and then an article comes along that is so on the money it makes you go a little quiet.  Every now and then a writer comes along, it makes you want to cheer.
Such a writer is Alexandra Heep, a woman who can write about anything and everything and does so with a style all her own.  To sample Alex’s work, please visit

As a guest blogger at 9 – 5, I found this article of Alex rather appropriate.

Why today's society does not encourage hard work

 Today's employment society, when it comes to encouraging and rewarding hard work, can be summed up in one phrase: "The right to work (for less)".

I am not that old, but there used to be some simple concepts when I started out in the workforce. If you followed these concepts, monetary rewards were automatic:

* Work Ethic
* Seniority
* Promote from Within

Work ethics are pretty self-explanatory. If you worked hard, showed up on time, and made steady measurable progress, you got evaluations and, in turn, raises. A very simple concept really.

What changed all this? Good question. We all have had to call places or deal with organizations and received poor customer service. We get frustrated, because we wonder: If I acted like that at my job, I would not have a job!

While these people who give poor customer service are not necessarily bad people, they are simply bad employees. What makes them that way? Their employers think them of as expendable, and so it shows in their attitude. They know, even if they give good customer service, it won't matter one bit in the future as there is no such thing as job security.

Let's say for some reason they give excellent service for a year. Does that automatically guarantee them anything? No, it does not. Matter of fact, they become too good at what they do and too expensive for the company to maintain. Instead of eventually getting paid what they are worth, they simply get replaced by someone younger, with less experience, who will accept lower pay.

The notion of seniority in the workplace has simply become archaic. We can all relate to this one. Have you ever had a job where someone 20 years younger trained you? Have you ever had a manager that you thought did not even look old enough to buy alcohol in most places?

The concept of how to achieve a supervisor or manager position used to be simple: You worked your way up from the mailroom (or the equivalent of). This no longer applies. Achieving a position with more responsibility and the appropriate job title and compensation nowadays has become a game with rules known only to the employer.

Oh, there is still enough responsibility to go around. Do a good job at what you are doing and you will find yourself up to your eyeballs in more work. Will that lead to obtaining the job title and increased salary you deserve? If you ask your crystal ball this question you are just as likely to receive the correct answer to that question.

Promoting from within no longer applies either. You would figure that it would make sense to promote people who know the company best by having worked there for a while. However, "fresh blood" and "new ideas" are usually brought in to fix when a company fails to make enough profits to satisfy investors. Looking for those profits in the executives' paychecks would be far too simple an answer.


  1. Alex certainly does make a good case for the reality of what happens in a lot of working situations. Another factor is "politics." You can be a very competent worker, but if someone above you feels threatened or doesn't like something about you, they will block your advancement. Sadly, very little is fair when it comes to the business world.

  2. Conny, what a lovely introduction, thank you.

  3. I hope to feature you again Alex. While on your Helium profile yesterday I saw more than one article I would like to use.

    Unfortunately you're quite right Diane.