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Bring back the work ethics of yesteryears

Bring back the work ethics of yesteryears

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What happened to employees who believed in working hard, working smart and working business hours? There are so many bad example employers that we often forget that not all employers are 'rotten apples'. We also forget that not all employees are not 'rotten apples'. Here is the other side of the coin.

What happened to worth ethics? This is the chief complaint among some of the best companies to work for. As an employee I constantly hear the rants and complaints created from the greedy and manipulative employers. I've even added a few of my own to the online forums. But what about the employers who just want an employee who is honest, shows up to work on time and bothers to slip on a pair of jeans if not at least a pair of business casuals?

Misguided and bad apple employees are not only a problem for employers but are a big problem to the rest of the employees. In an era of health first promotions it seems as if some employees are taking advantage of the employer by saying things such as

“I can't work Tuesday & Thursday afternoons from 1 to 3 because that is my yoga class times.”

How far must an employer go to provide a healthy working environment?

Anther question is when does “I'm busy” turn into “your stuff is not as important as mine?” This type of experience happens day after day in the workplace of even the most prestigious companies and non profit agencies.

What has happened to hard work and diligence? Employees seem to be giving less and playing more... on company time. Numerous surveys and studies have proven that the majority of “work time” is spent instant messaging friends, surfing the net, viewing dating sites, reading blogs and engaging in cell phone social talks. The rest of the time seems to be dedicated to some crucial work projects, 10 minute breaks, lunch, visits with other co workers and some minimal amount of work; just to get by on each work day.

This isn't true for every single employee and this isn't to say that most employees are lazy and dishonest. This is simply a tap on the shoulder to say there is anther side that needs to be considered. While most employees do put in an honest day's work the ones that do not place a shadow of doubt over everyone, not just themselves.

Eventually every employee must face the Human Resources Manager and if they are lucky they get a stern warning and a second chance. If the employee's luck has run out, their procrastination, apathy and lack of productivity has caught up with them and they are terminated. Is that fair? Is it fair that their poor consideration for the other employees is fair?

Everyone does it!

Just because everyone does it doesn't make it right. Here is anther situation to consider.

  • Employee Jane sometimes work 50 hours a week and occasionally comes in on a Saturday.
  • Employee Sarah passes Jane's desk numerous times a day. Whenever Sarah looks at what Jane is doing on the computer she seems to be doing nothing but personal stuff – surfing the net, personal emails, social networking and basically wasting company time. Feeling justified Sarah does the same thing.

If you compare the two work productivity outcomes there is a huge difference.


  • Almost never misses a deadline
  • Rarely takes a day off
  • Stays late to ensure a project gets completed on time  


  • Is always late meeting deadlines
  • Has had four personal days off & has been 'sick' four different times and always on Monday or Friday
  • Sarah does half the work of Jane

How is it that Jane can make her deadlines and Sarah cannot? If Jane seems to always be online doing personal things how can she produce twice the work of Sarah?

Instead of taking a day off Jane takes care of as much of her personal errands, socializing and responsibilities online. Her cell phone is turned off and she tells her friends to email her during work hours By dedicating herself to her work and work organization Jane is able to meet goals and deadlines by using her time in a more efficient manner. However, when Sarah's boss finally has enough of her poor performance and online activities the boss enacts a policy prohibiting any and all personal dealings on company computers – is that fair to Jane?

The point to this is that everyone should consider how their work ethics effects their co workers as well as the company. A person who possesses a strong work ethic is hard working, conscientious and ambitious will prove themselves with the quality of their completed work.

Life Reboot published a wonderful and right on target article titled “The Working Dead.” The article hits the bulls eye by starting the article with the following situation.

Co-worker: Sup?

Caller: Sup. What ya doin’?

Co-worker: Nothing. Working.

"Both answers were accurate. That’s because at this job, doing nothing was still considered “work” if you were on the clock. In other words, the main requirement for this job was simply being there." - The Working Dead.

Historically work has always been a necessity for monetary and material gain; as a means of support for one's self and one's family; and regarded work as a way to grow a strong economy. However, those entering the workforce today do not understand that hard work reaps both financial rewards and personal enrichment – it builds strong character, maturity and can give their life purpose and value. But it is up to the employee to do what they love, it is up to the employee to want to be there. An employee who is there only for the pay check is a weak link.

I know some people may already be cursing this article and calling it an article of trash, but employees with poor job performance take advantage of their fellow employees who are working to capacity. Again, this is not every employee of corporate America. This is the other side's view.

Every job can be a stepping stone to the career you dream of. Every stepping stone offers something to be learned. A rock solid work reputation is earned, it is not given. That reputation is earned by giving 100% even in the jobs you don't like. Work ethic has sunk to an all time low and while there are many underlying factors that contribute to the decline of the work ethics one person's disregard should not become an approval for yours.



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