Dear Gen Y: 11 Lessons to Improve Work Ethic

26 January 2016
26 January 2016, Comments: Comments Off on Dear Gen Y: 11 Lessons to Improve Work Ethic

I’ve been working since I was 13 years old – by choice.  I could not wait to earn my own money! I had worked in my grandfather’s country grocery store since I knew how to count every summer to help buy my school clothes.  I visited my other grandfather’s furniture upholstery store every so often with my dad as they talked about everything from land in the area to the latest community problems.  The store was so full of furniture, you had to squeeze through the aisles to get to his desk which were piled high with order forms and receipts!!! My maternal grandmother Rosye was a bookkeeper and she talked to me about money so much, I knew I never wanted to be in a position where I couldn’t take care of myself.  And oh my paternal grandmother Rosie was a housekeeper!!! Those rides with her to the homes of Highland Park (big houses and big money) were full of dialogue about what type of life I wanted for myself and what it would take to get it.  My parents, they were the first in the family to work with computers so I grew up around computers long before other children even knew what they were.  And I can’t forget watching my aunt run a daycare from her home for years.  I often rushed home from school to help with the afternoon snacks and play time.  She multi-tasked so well, it would make your head spin! All of these examples of working people who constantly poured into me what it takes to succeed.  There was never a doubt in my mind that I would work.


What I am doubtful about is what is going on with the new generation of workers?  I talk to my family members, friends, other colleagues my age and we are all noticing a similar trend – a pathetically low work ethic that is annoying.  So, I have two theories that I think may contribute to the low work ethic:

  1. Parents are so busy providing “a better life for their children than they had” that they take little time to teach the youth what it takes to earn the living necessary to create the lucrative environment
  2. People with bad work ethic are having more children than people with a good work ethic and they are outnumbering in the population of workers.


So, here are a few lessons I learned from my family that were beneficial in the workplace.  And some, I learned over the way. . .


  1. You will need a work history that demonstrates you are disciplined and able to maintain composure for more than three months at a time.
  2. Dress for the position you want, not the position you have.
  3. Get to work on time.  You don’t want to get paid late so stop being late.
  4. Don’t burn bridges. Even people who anger you, may help you one day.
  5. If you are displeased with a job, don’t quit or get fired until you have found a replacement.
  6. Computers have a history – stop surfing the internet on the company’s time and internet.
  7. Do not back up your phones to the company computer.
  8. Taking care of your personal business on the company’s time is asinine.  I know you think you are the most important thing in the world, but your time at work is not the time to take care of your travel arrangements, bills, traffic tickets, or grand ideas of stardom!
  9. No one cares about your attitude.  Telling people not to talk to you at work is comparable to you telling a cat not to meow or  a bird not to sing.  Check your attitude or get a job where you can work from home.
  10. Have some integrity – what you do when no one is watching says far more about who are than what you do when people are watching.
  11. No one owes you anything! No one! You were hired to do a job.  Do the job and go home!

Share your experiences or theories in the comments.

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