What's Happened to Our Work Ethic? - BodyShop Business

What’s Happened to Our Work Ethic?

Life changes from generation to generation. When I was young, I didn't get an allowance. Today, what child doesn't? Approaching sixteen years of age, kids ask, "You mean I have to drive that car?" or "You mean I'm going to college without a car?" But what about kids who go to a vo-tech school? What do they get? And what do they learn? It depends on many factors, ranging from the person attending, the parents, the school and the teacher.

We had an excellent instructor at a local vo-tech school who asked me to be on the advisory board. Two of my employees started at my shop after graduating from that school and are still here 20 and 24 years later. The instructor died of cancer and a replacement took over. At a meeting, I asked him, “Are the students taking a test?”

“No, they’re doing their homework,” he said.

“When did the meaning of homework change?” I asked.

“Well, if I wouldn’t allow them to do it in class, it wouldn’t be done,” he said.

“Wouldn’t that mean they’d fail?” I asked.

“Yes, and I’d only have a handful of graduates,” he said. “Bottom line, I feel, is to allow them all to graduate regardless of their abilities. The school gets paid for the quantity, not the quality.”

I’m no longer on the advisory board.

Having about half a dozen apprentices in my shop over the years, I’ve had many disappointments. Some examples:

  • One set fire to a car (we put the fire out and repaired the vehicle). He immediately quit.
  • Another had been working here for one day when I asked him at 10 a.m. the following morning how he was doing. “I love it,” he replied, and then failed to show up after lunch. When I called him the next day, he simply asked, “When do I get paid?”
  • The shop foreman asked a vo-tech student we had working for us half-days if he could jack up a car. He did so, placing the jack under the gas tank. He quit and lost two other jobs in the area, along with his driver’s license.
  • Another parked a car but didn’t put the brake on properly and the vehicle ran away, totaling another car in its path. He promptly quit.

How many more do you want?

Discipline as we knew it when I was young no longer exists. “Don’t you dare touch my child!” parents say.

Youngsters don’t have any work ethic. Instead of cutting the grass or washing the car, they have hockey practice, etc. And when they’re warned that drugs can ruin lives, they still try them. …

I’ve had two friends in the industry tell me that drugs are a major problem. They’re in our area also. A local master plumber recently died from a drug overdose. I can’t understand where common sense disappeared to. We have to be able to hire good, intelligent people with some ambition and pay them a comparable wage.

Vaun Hamlin Jr., president
Bridgeville, Pa.

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