>Work Ethics – Part Two


An undergraduate with good communication skills, looking for a part time job after college hours: her profile suited the vacancy I was looking to fill. Young, smart and seemingly dynamic she was and I was mighty pleased with my luck and patience for having waited long enough to come across the right candidate. That was on Day 1.

Day 17, she became another stat in my office. She was the fourth person I had hired for that position – all of them had been young, all capable, all lazy. She’s the third person I had to, quite literally, chuck out because of inefficiency, unprofessional behaviour and lack of commitment to work.

I’m trying to make a point in case. And my case is that it might be all too well that we have a young workforce around, but are the young serious about their career or their jobs? Or are they only interested in making a quick buck? I know it’s not fair to generalise but I deal with scores of students everyday who fall in the age bracket of 18 to 22 years and I’m surprised at how badly they want to start earning early and how little they are ready to work for it.

I started working when I was all of 22, and I worked very hard for very little. My take-home salary was around Rs. 4000 per month that time. And I never cribbed. I was so happy just proving my worth at the workplace. The youngsters I’m talking about aren’t happy with a starting salary of Rs. 10,000 at age 20!

So inflation in India is at an all time high, but these boys and girls aren’t looking to run households. They just think 10 grands is no big deal! Really? Either I must be ancient or times have changed very fast!

And let’s just suppose they are high-paying jobs being offered to young people. Like this 18-year-old girl who was being paid Rs. 20,000 for her first job. She joined like any excited teenager would. And quit before she’d completed her training period. Another one of her ilk couldn’t cope with the training and resigned even before her!

There are plenty of examples I can quote. Like of this girl who was looking for a job but refused to go for an interview because her hair was oiled that day. Heard of a shampoo, anyone? Another young girl gave up a job offer for the post of Assistant Manager because… of no apparent reason! A bunch of 20-somethings were sent for a training in a 5-star hotel in another city. After the first day, they were all ready to come back home because they had missed a meal trying to find accommodation for themselves and didn’t get dalroti for their next meal!

What I’m trying to say is that it’s great to have landed a job that pays a bomb, but you still have to work for it. Is there a minimum age to realise that? Is an 18-year-old not mature enough to understand what it means to be working for the remuneration you get? What attitudinal shift has ensured that the young these days do not know how precious the money they earn is and expect a respectable job and a handsome pay cheque served to them on a platter? They will willingly spend thousands of rupees on collecting diplomas and certificates for professional courses, but they won’t move their butt to make those diplomas and certificates work for them!

It may be an extension of the call centre culture where qualifications do not matter and you get a substantial amount as your first salary. But even working in a call centre is no mean task. And you have to slog to justify that pay cheque.

There could also be some economic/social trend behind all of this but all I see is scant respect for work – of any kind – that I thought was essential to succeed in life. A young employee is preferred for a job because he’s likely to be more enthusiastic about his work, give in more than a 100% in terms of effort and be willing to learn. Ironically, it is the absence of all these qualities that characterises freshers in the job market these days.

Who is to tell them that to reach the top you still have to start from scratch? Who is to tell them that there is no short cut to success? Who is to tell them that there is no better recipe for success than hard work? You could be lucky for a while, but when that spell is over, you’ll be expected to know your work. These aren’t some startling revelations; these are facts that one learns through the years in school or college. Why then are youngsters averse to accepting them?

What also rankles is that they have the tacit support of their parents in behaving the way they do. The girl whom I had to sack from my office had her father call me up two days later to ask what would be her remuneration for the days that she had worked. I was appalled: the father was just not ashamed or apologetic for her daughter’s behaviour. On the contrary, by calling up on her behalf, he was giving his tacit support to his daughter’s impropriety.

You would expect parents who’ve worked their way up to know what it takes to reach the top. Ironically, they are the ones giving in to the whimsical demands and unreasonable professional ambitions of their children. This blindness to their children’s faults isn’t acceptable: even if you love your child and believe in his capabilities so blindly, you need to push him to perform. You need to know everyone’s is not going to look at him the way you do. You cannot keep finding fault with others – teachers, employers, organisations – to justify the behaviour of your own ward. Perhaps, the children simply know to have their parents dancing to their tunes! But it’s not a tune that the rest of the world will dance to.


33 responses »

  1. >Is it really getting that bad? I feel like a dinosaur then, because when I started work, me and my colleagues were more than eager to do more than what was required of us.Its so sad, that youngsters are losing value if money as well as hard work.Such obscenely high salaries for freshers, should motivate them to work twice as hard as anyone else. Easy money is never there, and they need to learn that.

  2. >sigh! my first sal for 4k too and i slogged by butt off for it! and even today i am really not paid that well, but still we do work!kids feel everyone should earn IT salaries in their first job which is such an unreal expectation. we had a cousin who even refused to go for the interview sayin its too far!!and this was after we used a favour to get that interview! now that si plain irresponsible, aint it?!and btw, you have been awarded! :)cheers!abha

  3. >Wow, what a post ! It’s simple straight forward facts, simply laid down.It’s important for parents, to point it out to kids, rather than dance to their tunes. It’s only spoiling them further.It’s important to realise, there is no short cut, and that life is not going to be easy.Great post !

  4. >Once again, well written :)I am surprised to note that the situation it this bad…I would have expected the scenario to be just the opposite, with the level of competition these days…Maybe it is just a matter of time before these youngsters realize that there is really no shortcut to success. But one thing is for sure, like you mentioned, parents as well as the education system don’t stress the need for hardwork and focus for one’s success, as much as they do on scoring. I think students must be constantly pushed to think about what they want to do in life and to stay focussed, really early.

  5. >Wow… a great post. Enjoy your writings.When I read the Part One, I had questions, but after reading Part Two, all my questions have been answered. Your post has convinced me that something is amiss in our school system, in our education, in our value system. They say it is easy to teach someone technical skills but very difficult to change attitudes. A person with the right attitude will always do well. Does the younger generation have an attitude problem? Why? Who is responsible? Parents? We too are parents. Are we doing the something wrong?

  6. >Yeah its really this bad. I remember not so long ago when I and few of my friends started as 21 year olds we worked our butt off becasue we were so excited about our first job! We didnt even care about the money we were making(it was enough). But there were a few who didnt like to work hard, and they were the ones who always came late, went on frequent smoke/coffee breaks, took lots of sick days off and generally sent bad vibes to the manager. They were all fired. I think a lot of this comes with the way we treat our careers. The first few years, granted are not the most fruitful, but you get to learn work ethic and understand what type of a worker you make.

  7. >I cant imagine it being that bad. Really!I guess you`re right. Its pbly the parents who prod the kids into this state of callousness. And are the kids getting a starting package of 20k these days?? which field of work is this, D? maybe I should switch ;-))fabulously written post!

  8. >@GM: They’ll learn it the hard way probably.@Abha: That’s exactly what I am trying to put across – unreal expectations.@inwantofbeingme: Thank you.@Jira: Yes, it is that bad, if my experiences are anything to go by.@JP: Yes, I think there is a major attitude problem that needs rectification.@Shilpa: And it’s interesting because we were 21 not so long back!@Piper: 🙂 The 20k job was that of an air hostess.@Chandni: Sigh indeed!

  9. >i so agree with you…and you seem to be facing one big prob there…i face the same issues all the time…many of the youngstres want more than what they are willing to work for…and a dad calling up to ask for the daughter’s salary is limits! If she is old enough to work then Im sure she is old enough to handle her own tasks as well…parents should not intefere like this…loses the professional attitude…

  10. >Are there really ‘good’ jobs giving an 18year old Rs. 20000/-?I started work at 17 and my first cheque was of Rs. 1000/- after a year of writing selflessly and spending more than that on all the running around, collecting stories and making phone calls. But that moment I still remember because it was my first pay…something I had deservingly earned for myself. I still do not earn too much, at 20 with three years of freelancing, but the fact that that every cheque, even if it is for Rs. 300/-, I know is ‘all mine’, Is what I deserve to get!Are you really paying 20 year olds 10K? I’m in for it, D… lol 😉

  11. >Lord… tell me about it! I’m exactly in the age bracket you’re talking about, and the situation is absolutely appalling. Everyone wants money, no one wants work. I say it’s good for people willing to work – even more room for us to work with!Right now, instant gratification seems to be the top priority. With no thought of what it might lead to in the future. Of course, it’s only fitting that I should be writing this within three hours of a test, with no thought of the consequences of being under-prepared!

  12. >@dip: Yes, where was this dad when his daughter was too ill to call us up?!@IHM: I agree. Where does it come from?@Nabila: 🙂 Yes, there are “good” jobs, depending of course on what you think is “good”. I was talking about an airhostess’ job!@Suki: Takes something to be capable of such self-analysis 🙂

  13. >Well People have no respect for hard work…easy money is what they look for…sp after the call centres mushrooming every and anyone can earn 5 digit salary…what also rankles me that people jus open a training class with little or no experience… u have thousands of classes loke…singing,cooking,craft,Art,tuitions etc etc and most of them do not have the expertise or qualification for them..

  14. >ahhh well, sometimes even i feel guilty of not being commited to work… but i need to take control of my career, so, Iv resolved the next time I take up employment (which will hopefully be somewhere that requires the effort) ill be more serious! 😀

  15. >this is a state which we have to accept… availability of easy jobs with good money (banking sector, BPO sector, retail sector etc), availability of job here and there, now and then etc can be the main reasons for this kind of new ‘attitude’ in these guys..under me one guy was working with a wage of 5500..he was doing some creative work and had to learn lots(am into manufacturing industry)…but ultimately he then went as a sales boy in big bazaar with a salary of 6500…once i met him over there..he said life is so easy..a/c room…no work..no tension… but professionally he is not gaining anything..!!people are getting lazy, more lazy these times..!!:)

  16. >@my space: I know what you’re saying. But when you start something of your own with no expertise, how long can you survive?@Unmana: Yes, parents who’ve struggled their way up feel that they can ensure their children never have to struggle. They do not understand that that would also mean they never learn anything!@Ab: Oh well, I’m glad you’re at least aware of your lack of committment.@Vinz: Exactly what I’m trying to say!

  17. >Hi, I was not expecting that from the New generation in India. I m from France but I have friends in India and colleagues from work, and all of the them mostly work really hard and a LOT, more hours than we do in Europe. The only difference I ve seen is they can quit a job just like that, go back to live with their parents and then find a job. Now, in my personal opinion, I think the new generation got too much assistance from their parents.In France (I m French), my brother s generation yes they re getting lazy, they re staying longer with their parents, they ve never fill a tax paper, paid a bill, they don t want to work. Some are just working 6 months and then get money from the government cause they are unemployed. And they re not ashamed to tell u that, they ll work again 6 months then stop to get paid by government without working.As for India and the new generation, I think that living with the parents don t help the kid to grow up on his own, parents love their children and do anything for them, u don t have a job, stay home, when u said some quit because they did not get their meal while looking for a room, they don t have to worry about that when living with their parents, mum will cook.I have several friends in India who quit their job and go back to their parents house, and when I ask them, did u find an other job, they ll tell me, no i m going to my parents then i ll look for a job.I can t do that, i ve been living on my own for the past 5 years, If i don t like my job, i ll find an other job first and then i ll move, there is no way i m going to live with my parents! My brother however would not mind :)I m not just blaming the parents here, but my parents teach me the value of money, when i decided to have car I paid for it, my dad told me, u wanna use that car, u need money to fill the tank, get a job, I was a student, and working during the weekend, do I regret that, no! I ve seen many student, when they got their first they ve never work before but because they ve a master in something, they have a high level job with no experience at all.So I hope when i have kids that i ll be able to educate them in a way that yeah u HAVE to work, and the value of money.phewww that s was a looooong comment for my first time here sorry 🙂 but ur topic was very interesting :)C.

  18. >Young people today constantly feel like there will be something better around the corner, which is precisely why they are restless and dissatisfied with their current job (no matter how good it is). It’s a bad attitude overall, but that seems to be the popular sentiment these days. :\

  19. >Not to sound like a granny but I think a lot of this is due to the fact that my generation rarely has to help out at home with their salaries. Many even expect to have parents buy stuff for them when they themselves are staying for free and are earning more than I do right now.That has to make a diff to how responsible one feels and how important one’s job is to one. I think your post is related to mine on service, btw.

  20. >@Cess: You may be right, but I’m not so sure. Yes, having your parents to fall back on is a big reason for the youth to not try hard enough to be independent and responsible. But the older generations in India were also living with their parents. And that was not reason enough for them to shirk responsibility. Why then does this generation feel that they can get away with suc behaviour?@Sindhu: To avail the next best opportunity, you first need to make use of the existing one.@Sue: But whatever happened to things like proving your worth or having a sense of achievement? Surely, people work for reasons other than money alone!

  21. >All linked. If you help run the household, in however marginal a fashion, your automatically develop a sense of responsibility and build a sense of self worth and achievement.The way these kids see it, they do work for money alone — pocket money.

  22. >Why then does this generation feel that they can get away with suc behaviour?I dunno, I m totally different than my bro, my parents were more strict with me than with my bro. I don t say it is only because of the parents, the generation evolves too, the influence of the western view in India or the fact that many indians are going abroad and then come back to India, many factors have to be taken in account 🙂 I hope it won t get worst 😦 for the next generations!

  23. >Sorry situation this – young people these days want too much too soon, and without having to work hard for it.As for what Sue said – I or my friends didn’t have financial responsibilities to our families either, but we slogged our butts off trying to create a niche four ourselves in our professions. Not because we had bills to pay, but we felt a sense of responsibility. Great post as usual.

  24. >ah well , D, it isnt just that Im aware… im aware that this lack of commitment is whats making me feel empty in working.. after 3 years… ! so i guess, i shud do better next time!

  25. >Yeah but Mystic, didn’t it become a matter of pride to at least pay for your own amusements/books/clothing/birthday gifts for friends/whatever once you began earning?Some kids I know earn and then continue to get their pocket money. Some days I wish I had their parents! 😉

  26. >@Sue and Mystic Margarita: I agree with Mystic. By your logic Sue, all rich folks’ children would be irresponsible and lazy. But that’s not how it is. People work and work honestly for more than just money. There’s something like self-respect and work ethics. @Avaran: I agree – I feel like that after every unfruitful day’s work!

  27. >Who said anything about rich folks? I was thinking of very middle class people I know. Anyway. Not to become all trollish so if I want to harp on this I will take it to my own place. Ta.

  28. >My first salary was a substantial amount but then I had to slog my ass off.Sometimes,I worked for 2 days at a stretch without going home.Never once was slacking off an option.In fact compared to those days,I feel I have more free time and freedom at work now.I guess it is always tempting to look at the exception rather than the norm and feel that if they could,then so can I.I know of a relative who somehow managed to became head of operations for south india in this really big company.This girl could not manage to finish her BA but somehow scored on the job front.Nobody knows how.So her nephews who are my nephews as well, idolize her and quote her as an example when their mom chides them for goofing off at school.If she can earn so much money then so can we is their logic.

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