Friday, October 26, 2012

America's workforce more lazy than ever

By Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

As we approach the first of November, I am reminded that the holiday season is just about here. How can anyone help but be reminded? We are just celebrating Halloween by the calendar, yet retailers are already beginning to inundate us with Christmas ads.

Something that I believe needs mentioned as we approach the holidays is Americans preoccupation with not working.

As most Americans continue throw their arms out of joint patting themselves on the back about how great we are, still attempting to live off of, rather than up to, the reputation and work ethic of our parents and grandparents, what they are really plotting is how to get away from, or out of, work.

My father was a self-employed carpenter. I would like to think that I learned my work ethic from him. His work day began every day at 7:30 a.m. Lunch was from noon until 12:30, not 12:31 p.m. The workday was done at 5 p.m. There were no morning or afternoon breaks. His philosophy was that you did not sit down to work, even if it was more convenient for what you were working on at the time. You should kneel. His concern was that if the person who hired him showed up and saw you sitting, they might get the idea you were not working.

More often than not, Saturday was also a work day, for at least half the day. It was the old make hay while the sun shines rule. What if the weather turned bad? What if jobs dried up? If it rained ... you still worked. It it was 100 degrees or 10 degrees below zero, you still worked. It was your job. It was your responsibility to  your family, to your customer and to yourself.

Today, between breaks, holidays and "calling off", the new phrase for skipping out on work, Americans work fewer hours than ever.

One thing that jumps out as glaringly as the Griswold family Christmas tree, is the trend toward making the day before a holiday into a holiday of its own.

Since when is Christmas eve a holiday? Since when is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving a holiday of its own?

These are only two examples of things that I observe Americans attempting to weasel into yet another day off work. Or, if not a day off, one in which they leave early.

Unless it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, December 24th is just another day. There is no reason in the world for anyone to have to make special plans for the day before Thanksgiving or the day before Memorial Day.

People argue that they have things to do. There are preparations to make for the holiday. You know what? I don't care.

My parents' generation, and their parents' generation, worried that their obligation to their employer might not be done. They worried that the time off would mean less money for the family. Of course today's Americans have that part figured out, they want the day off with pay.

Americans wonder why our economy is failing. There are, of course, a number of factors. Could one of the reasons possibly be that employers aren't making enough money  to do all the things employees demand, such as health care and paid vacations because the general work ethic of today's work force just doesn't work as efficiently or with the same sense of pride as our forefathers?

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