A New Work Ethic

After reading the attachment on “A New Work Ethic?” Write a 2 pg. MLA style paper on the questions below, three or more source.

1. How typical are the attitudes that Sheehy reports? Does his description of a new work ethic tally with your own experiences?

Case Study 2

A New Work Ethic?

YOU WOULD THINK THAT EMPLOYEES WOULD do something if they discovered that a customer had died on the premises.

But that’s not necessarily so, according to the Associated Press, which reported that police discovered the body of a trucker in a tractor trailer rig that had sat—with its engine running—in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant for nine days. Employees swept the parking lot around the truck but ignored the situation for over a week until the stench got so bad that someone finally called the police.

That lack of response doesn’t surprise James Sheehy, a human resources manager in Houston, who spent his summer vacation working undercover at a fast-food restaurant owned by a relative.78 Introduced to coworkers as a management trainee from another franchise location who was being brought in to learn the ropes, Sheehy was initially viewed with some suspicion, but by the third day the group had accepted him as just another employee. Sheehy started out as a maintenance person and gradually rotated through various cooking and cleaning assignments before ending up as a cashier behind the front counter.

Most of Sheehy’s fellow employees were teenagers and college students who were home for the summer and earning additional spending money. Almost half came from upper-income families and the rest from middle-income neighborhoods. More than half were women, and a third were minorities. What Sheehy reports is a whole generation of workers with a frightening new work ethic: contempt for customers, indifference to quality and service, unrealistic expectations about the world of work, and a get-away-with-what-you-can attitude.

Surveys show that employee theft is on the rise throughout the business world.79 Sheehy’s experience was in line with this. He writes that the basic work ethic at his place of employment was a type of gamesmanship that focused on milking the place dry. Theft was rampant, and younger employees were subject to peer pressure to steal as a way of becoming part of the group. “It don’t mean nothing,” he says, was the basic rationale for dishonesty. “Getting on with getting mine” was another common phrase, as coworkers carefully avoided hard work or dragged out tasks like sweeping to avoid additional assignments.

All that customer service meant was getting rid of people as fast as possible and with the least possible effort. Sometimes, however, service was deliberately slowed or drive-through orders intentionally switched in order to cause customers to demand to see a manager. This was called “baiting the man,” or purposely trying to provoke a response from management. In fact, the general attitude toward managers was one of disdain and contempt. In the eyes of the employees, supervisors were only paper-pushing functionaries who got in the way.

Sheehy’s coworkers rejected the very idea of hard work and long hours. “Scamming” was their ideal. Treated as a kind of art form and as an accepted way of doing business, scamming meant taking shortcuts or getting something done without much effort, usually by having someone else do it. “You only put in the time and effort for the big score” is how one fellow worker characterized the work ethic he shared with his peers. “You got to just cruise through the job stuff and wait to make the big score,” said another. “Then you can hustle. The office stuff is for buying time or paying for the groceries.”

By contrast, they looked forward to working “at a real job where you don’t have to put up with hassles.” “Get out of school and you can leave this to the real dummies.” “Get an office and a computer and a secretary and you can scam your way through anything.” On the other hand, these young employees believed that most jobs were like the fast-food industry: automated, boring, undemanding and unsatisfying, and dominated by difficult people. Still, they dreamed of an action-packed business world, an image shaped by a culture of video games and action movies. The college students in particular, reports Sheehy, believed that a no-holds-barred, trample-over-anybody, get-what-you-want approach is the necessary and glamorous road to success

2 pg. MLA paper, 3 or more source

1. How typical are the attitudes that Sheehy reports? Does his description of a new work ethic tally with your own experiences?

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