Larry Winget, author and workplace expert, is the author or a book entitled “It’s Called Work for a Reason – Your Success is Your Own Damn Fault”. The book claims that the new generations in the workplace today are lazier than the generations of their parents and grandparents. Winget talks about his father’s experience of working for the same company for 47 years and not questioning whether or not he was happy, he simply went in to do his work and get his pay – it was just the deal he made when he entered the to him, happiness is a choice and we have to love our jobs.
Winget says that many workers today spend significant amounts of time surfing the Internet and taking long lunch breaks. However, many young workers will cite that they carry their phone with them “24/7” and their work life and social life are interweaved now whereas their parents would leave work at the end of the day and stop work.
Winget claims that this is simply not the case. He says he believes people feel guilty that they diworkforce. He says workers today are told that we have to be happy all the time, and according dn’t do their job during working hours so they drag their social life into the workday making their company suffer, and then drag their work home and make their family suffer. Winget says the solution is simple, “When you’re at work, work… When you’re at home, enjoy yourself”. His book tells those who are not top performers at work to “Go to the closet mirror, look yourself in the eye and say ‘This is all my fault’. Take responsibility”. When asked if this was “harsh”, Winget says no.
Winget went out on the streets of New York City to find out how hard people felt they were really working and if they behaved ethically at work. When Larry asked people how hard they were working, he received replies ranging from someone saying they were working hard, to they were only doing what they had to do, to they felt more was expected of workers today than in the past, and that people spent a lot of time telling people how much they were doing at work just to justify their job. He also asked if people loved their job and the replies were everything from “I love what I do”, to “No”, to “It would be great if everybody loved their job, but that’s not the reality”.
Are there slackers in the workplace? When asked this, people replied “There are definitely slackers out there and they let the hard workers pick up the slack for them – and that’s not fair”. Other justified slacking saying “Sometimes people have to slack off to lose a little frustration” and even “Maybe one day I will work hard, but I am going to delay that as long as possible”. Many people believe that making personal calls at work or photocopies for personal use is acceptable. Winget says the rubric to decide if you are not behaving ethically is to simply ask yourself “Am I being paid to do this?”, and if the answer is no, then don’t do it. The same is true if you wouldn’t want your boss seeing you do it. He claims the big issue is that if someone sees you doing it, then that justifies them behaving the same way. This turns a small issue into a big deal and in the end, productivity suffers.
Questions for Discussion
1. Why do you think the work ethic today appears to be different than in the past? Is it really different or is it just different views of work by the different generations?