Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Easiest Lesson Lost

Curmudgeon speak
After this post, I'll seem like a curmudgeon. So be it.

Any trip to Lowe's (or Home Depot), Wal-Mart (or Kmart), or, as it happens, Qdoba (and, quite possibly, Chipotle), or any place of business, for that matter, has the distinct possibility of ending badly. When I'm forced to visit, well, anywhere, I've become adept at picking out the "high speed, low drag" representatives.  

The Lesson to be Learned

I know it's difficult to go into work as a front line, minimum wage employee of John's Box Store with the attitude of "How can I help you? And, I mean that!"  I've been there and failed as often as I succeeded in keeping a good attitude. What I recognized, even as a lazy college student, was that I was working more for myself than "for the man."

Which helped me do a decent job.

Which, with minimal effort, I might add, separated me from others in my position. 

It taught me that if I work harder/better, I can improve my lot.

I've often thought this will quite possibly be the easiest lesson I will teach my children, because it generally works. It's provable. If they try it, they'll see it and feel it in everything they do.

But, Maybe I'm Wrong?

Because, that line of thinking seems to be disappearing. The high-speed individuals are harder to find, they're nearing extinction.

If you guessed that what moved me to think about this particular topic was something I've experienced lately, you're right. 

It was the three young gents at a local chain restaurant in the business of selling burritos that, apparently, were not excited about selling me a burrito.

It was the lady at a locally-owned dance studio that was upset someone forgot to turn the "open" sign to "closed" before I came in to buy dance lessons for my in-laws. A problem she rectified before saying to me, "What do you need?" I did not make a purchase. She did not care.

The good thing about both instances was that my children witnessed them. I used them as "teaching moments."  After the latter incident, my 10-year old said, "She was like the boys at [burrito place]?" 

This sort of thing is repeated everywhere, everyday. It is still counterbalanced with instances of great service and assistance, but the balance is tipping in the wrong direction. 

The Good News

The good news is, for my children and yours, the workplace could be easy pickings in a few more years. That is, if the motor of the world hasn't stopped. 

If they're willing to do a good job for their employers, or themselves, they'll succeed quite readily. If they take the prevailing attitude about life and their lot in it, they'll be miserably happy wallowers. I hope they'll chose the road less traveled and become a person that people will seek out.

Just as I feared. I'm a curmudgeon.

Who is John Galt?

Photo courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/oh_darling/

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