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Eh…another rant coming I suppose. Must be the times; everybody wants to rant these days so I might as well join the crowd.

We simply live in a “What’s in it for me?,” world.

I got my very first legal job just about 40 years ago, when I was 15. I started out as a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant. NOBODY made any money. I think minimum wage was $2.35 at the time if I recall correctly. We worked like Hebrew slaves in that place. We didn’t ask questions, we didn’t question orders, and we WORKED! The equation was easy; if you didn’t work like a banshee and keep your mouth shut the owner of the place, John, would simply fire you on the spot and escort you out. Then, he would make the rest of the crew work extra hard to make up for the fired guy.

I loved that guy like a dad, and worked for him until just before I graduated college. I respected the heck out of him, too.

Hmmm…I’m wandering off here. Anyway…John didn’t pay jack. Minimum wage was about what I made for almost 8 years. As a  dishwasher, my reward was to be a bus boy some day. As a bus boy, my reward was to be a line cook some day. Then the dream was to get to come in early to do prep. The ultimate dream for the kitchen help? Our dream was to be the grill cook. There was only one each night, and the grill cook was the main man(or woman as it might be). Eventually, I actually would run the whole place when my boss would actually take off some evenings.

Why, you say, would a person do that?  Good question.

I needed a job for one thing. My Mom worked two jobs for a number of years after my Dad left us, and we needed two incomes to make it. In our world, it was just accepted fact that, when I could legally work, that we would still have two jobs in the family, but that I would have one of them.

Jobs weren’t just laying around back then. 40 years ago, there were not fast food joints, restaurants, and convenience stores literally on every corner. A place that would give a 15 year old a guaranteed, more or less full time job was a plum.

All of those “promotions?”; they were reward in an of themselves. Nobody gave away anything. When you were the grill guy, EVERYBODY knew you had earned your stripes. The knew you were there because….you were better than them. No money, but a whole lot of pride and bragging rights. That seemed enough at the time.

What changed? It’s just not the same anymore. Everybody wants a reward they can quantify, and they want it now, and they want it free. It’s like that song “Money for Nothing.” Ugh.

Get this. In my business, we pay a pretty decent wage for a position that requires no training at all except for the training we give you. This is Southeast Arkansas. Jobs just aren’t hanging on trees. If you don’t work at the Paper Mill, the Railroad, or sadly even the Prison, things can be tough. Then, there is us. As I said, just for meeting basic requirements we pay better than most places in these parts. But, it doesn’t stop there. We pay for performance; we pay liberally in fact. For those willing to do it exactly the way we require, in conditions we work in, and to do it accurately and rapidly…things get lucrative pretty quick.

Sounds great huh? Should be right? Apparently not. The turnover is insane. New guys drop like flies

Hey, you mean we gotta work when its (hot, cold, raining, snowing)?

Customers are mean!

I’m tired of working 6 days a week, even though it’s ALL over time!

I’m tired of working 4 days a week because I’m slow!

Ya’ll make me keep track of too many things!

Do it better and faster? What? Huh?

It’s even worse once folks have been around a while, because then they want raises. We can get a raise anytime we want; all we have to do is exactly what is asked, and do it faster and better. Simple, right?

No, no.. I want more money, just for hanging around.

These expectations aren’t fair!

You’re asking too much!

Does anybody know where my world went? The world where people worked as hard as they could…because the boss said so. The world where the equation was simple…work hard and stay, don’t work hard…bye bye. The world where excellence was its own reward, and where bragging rights for excellence mattered?

Does anybody know?

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