I Deserve More
I Deserve More
I had lunch last week with an extremely talented group of business professionals. The inspiring conversation centered around how to effectively convince a group of employees with diverse backgrounds and goals to collaborate and gel into a productive team. Not surprisingly, a portion of that conversation centered around the newest generation of employees and how their expectations differ from those dominating the workplace since the second World War.
The upside of the Gen-Z attitude is that they almost all seem to be searching for a job with meaning. They want assurance that what they’re investing their time in will facilitate a lasting and positive impact on society. That’s a needed addition to our traditional work ethic and something that should be embraced by employers at every level.
On the flip-side of that coin, this new generation of employees seems to believe they deserve rapid and significant advancement within the workplace. They have no comprehension of the plodding, methodical pace of commerce or about the zero-sum game of employee compensation within a fixed payroll budget.
That last subject woke me up at 3:00AM and left me pondering what led to an entire generation believing they were “owed” something. And the more I lay there pondering that thought — while studying the dimly lit ceiling texture above my bed — I realized that every strata of our society (maybe even including me) suffers from our own sense of entitlement.
A friend in San Francisco recently forwarded me an article about drug addiction and homelessness in his town. Large cities like San Francisco are finally coming to grips with the fact that the problem starts with local, state, and national governments over-indulging irresponsible behavior. At some point, compassion becomes enabling, and our culture seems to have lost its grip on exactly when that threshold is crossed.
Where did we get the notion that we’re each owed something? Nature sure doesn’t advertise that! Are we owed a healthy, happy life with plenty of food, a warm, safe place to sleep, great healthcare, a reasonably new car, a smart tv, free internet service, and an inclusive society that constantly makes us feel good about ourselves? Who owes us that debt? Is it everyone with “more” than us? What did we each do to “deserve” all those things?
Certainly, there is a balance between compassion and enabling, between reasonable accountability and contempt, between where we’ve gotten ourselves and where we could end up if we overreact. The only question is “How do we get there?”. How do we treat people with a balance of respect and accountability – not because they deserve it but because failure to do so turns us into what we profess to detest. And, how do we correct the problem before those cracks in the foundation of our civilization become chasms?
Maybe you have some ideas or maybe you even have some objections to my point of view. Neither of those are of the slightest value unless you communicate them. You know where the reply button is. Let’s have coffee and a healthy discussion.
“The rewards of freedom are always sweet, but its demands are stern, for at its heart is the paradox that the greatest enemy of freedom is freedom.”
— Oz Guinness
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The Power of the Other
– Dr. Henry Cloud
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– Daniel Coyle
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