Someone close to me accepted a job opportunity with the goal of learning to serve others for a future career while also helping out a company in need, being paid far less than deserved. What this guy got was a trashy supervisor who issued impossible tasks, ridiculous hours, and critical comments. All within 24 hours. So to this boss and others like him, I would like to say the following:
Has it occurred to you that one day we will be the ones to perform your life saving operations, teach your grandchildren math, design cutting edge technologies, change your diaper in the nursing home? Have you thought about how the bitterness you are leaving us with might affect the integrity and passion with which we do these jobs? Did your elders do this to you? If so, I’m sorry. I’m sorry that that anger is so deep-seeded you felt the urge to pass it on to the smiling, eager college student in front of you when you finally found yourself in the boss’s chair.
I am just baffled how ethics don’t seem to apply in the workplace, when they should matter everywhere. I’ve heard my generation called ignorant and lazy. (You know what’s funny? I don’t seem to recall a single one of my same-aged friends supporting segregation! Or purposely toppling the housing market! Or not willingly giving their time to support volunteer efforts! Hmmm.) Most of us, honestly, are just terrified that you’ve handed us a world too polluted and broken to repair. But thanks for your insights that we’re too stupid and/or entitled to make something of this place! Especially given the excellent job you’ve done!
“Respect your elders” was not a cliché haphazardly tossed around in my house. It was a given. More often (read: all the time), my mom would ask me if I was treating my brother/friend/cat the way I myself would want to be treated. This is not about just treating someone older with dignity. It is about treating all people with dignity. I see it as critical to reward elders, especially the amazing ones in my life, with the same esteem they have shown others. I see it as equally critical, however, to demonstrate to young people that regardless of their age they are worthy of respect. Encourage the talents of the young people who come to you eager to learn. Enough of the pithy comments about their abilities to excel at the same tasks you have done.
Another saying I got a lot growing up was “the meek shall inherit the earth.” I guess looking at our culture, I didn’t see that. It’s always the powerful ones, the attractive ones, the genius ones who seem to have it all. But do they? Do you, the boss screaming yourself red in the face, call yourself happy? Maybe not. Now that I’m older, I do think the meek are inheriting. I think these people do the best they can and are gratified in how hard they worked regardless of whether or not Mr. or Mrs. McGrumpyboss was appreciative. I think they come home to warm homes with good food and people who love them and respect them regardless of their successes. I think these people, every once in a while, can look out over their talents, homes, memories, and loved ones and know that they do have the world.
I think these are the same people who have sisters who occasionally write blog posts to defend them from evil bosses.