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May 30, 2007

Suck it up kiddies

As a parent, the story this morning on NPR entitled Firms Hire Consultants to Handle Needy Workers caught my attention. Seems, about 20 years ago, parents realized that kids need a good sense of self-esteem and imparting that became part of their repertoire of good parenting techniques. Consequently, the resulting new workforce, as claimed by NPR, needs a pat on the head daily to feel loved by the company they work for.

Well, children, get ready. While some companies might do all this shit to continue where your parents left off, most won't. You'll actually have to like your work to be satisfied. One company even had a ritual of giving awards for loyalty and a good job, daily. Ha, ha, ha.

My wife and I put Frankie's self-esteem high on the priority list, but we also emphasize a strong work ethic by being exemplars. Jobs often suck, really, really often, but, we go off everyday and work. And, the reward is merely doing the job you were paid for - and doing it well.

I don't believe the sorry cases in this story ended up this needy because "everyone got trophies for soccer" and the like. If kids were raised with a strong sense of self-esteem, the contrary would exist. They wouldn't need these menial rewards that marginalize their work. This behavior is a consequence of indulgent/permissive parenting (e.g., the way Paris Hilton ended up) where the kid was excessively rewarded for anything they did and the parents never put up boundries for behavior. Self-esteem can never be a bad thing for children (or adults).

2 comments:

Lisa said...

Ugh. I feel really old every time I touch on this subject, like an old woman saying "those crazy kids," but it is totally true. And, it's only like a 4 year difference between me (last of the Xers) and the beginning of the new flock. I have friends who are only a few years younger than me and they practically refuse to do any work without constant stroking. I'm always like "what about just doing it because it's the right thing to do and let your satisfaction in a job well done be your reward?" I am happy when I do something I can be proud of, I'm proud of a job well done. Of course, it's always nice to be complimented, but it isn't my driving force at work. It's really frustrating to work with people like this. The other day Husband came home and said about a new 20 year old worker "this kid has never had anyone tell him he's done anything wrong. He has no concept that when he does something the wrong way, it affects everyone else negatively."

The new mentality is one of the reasons I chose not to persue my education degree, after I started it. I just couldn't imagine trying to teach in a world where everyone is right and everyone's opinion is just as valid. It's maddening.

Of course, I don't have kids so I have no right to talk about this, but I think there's a way to get kids to have a good self esteem and teach them how to do a good job without constant praise. I'm not sure what that way is, but I'm sure someone more qualified than me has thought it out. There has to be a happy medium.

Dave said...

Hey Lisa,
I gave in on the teaching thing too. THREE times! So don't feel bad. Teaching, in principle, sounds great, it's the infrastructure that held me back. Lots of work, low pay and authoritarians at the helm of the system (and the entitled kiddies too).

But, I really think this is a result of a bad parenting style and the kids that result from it are the minority but since they're so vocal, they stick out the most. My daughter, at age 4, definitely knows when she's crossed a boundry. We're not authoritarian, but she definitely knows when she crossed the line. I don't think she'll trot about like Paris (I hope).