I’m not typically one for New Year’s resolutions, but based on what I’ve been witnessing in the workplace, in my hometown, and in the media, I think I need to make one very serious resolution, at least in my work.
I work in the training and development field, and I often serve as facilitator to newly hired employees in the workplace. I am seeing a disturbing trend in many Americans’ attitudes toward their work and career. The trend is that many employees’ focus is so narrow and limited that they do not allow themselves to see and plan for a bigger picture, a career and a life that could bring them much more than getting past the next round of bills to pay.
Too many focus on just the entry-level job they were hired in at, on their first paycheck, on the next paycheck, and the next. On a regular basis my jaw drops, aghast at the comments made by newly hired employees, complaining in just their first few weeks of employment about their pay rate, their shift hours, the difficulty and/or redundancy of the job they were hired in at. And mind you, they complain right in front of trainers, supervisors, and other management figures in their place of employment. Talk about a bad career move.
Really? These folks are in serious need of a career coach, or at least need to read an article or two about what NOT to do if you want to get ahead. Somewhere along the line, individuals have lost that internal “little voice” that stops them from shooting themselves, and their career prospects, in the foot. And I fear that this little voice has gone the same dismal route as that enigmatic concept once known as a “work ethic.”
And I wish I could say that this trend is strictly confined to the “younger generation” entering the workplace. But woefully, I seem to find this “attitude” nearly as prevalent in older employees. Somewhere along the line, putting in the grunt work to make a career a reality has become a lost concept.
Which brings me to my New Year’s resolution. I have resolved to use the advantage of my platform as a trainer to do more to instill a positive attitude in as many employees as I can. My part doesn’t have to be much. Just a brief discussion on the topic in the first week of training is perhaps all that is needed. But it could be just enough to get some individuals to break out of their myopic worldview and start seeing the big picture of their career and more prosperous years to come.