Fillmore County Journal
Every once in a while, I hear someone around my age or older say, “I’m worried about these young people and their work ethic these days.”
They are talking about the next generation of teenagers.
The problem is that all of these “young people” seem to be lumped into the same category. People think they are lazy, which is not necessarily true.
I know of a ton teenagers who entered the workforce as soon as they could legally start working (age 14). They are washing dishes, bussing tables, waiting on tables, working on farms, mowing lawns, and a whole bunch of other jobs that need to be done. Quite often, they are doing the jobs that nobody else wants to do. And, this is a good thing. They need to learn the ropes.
These kids are so lucky, because they are learning how to interact with people on the job – both coworkers and customers. They are learning how to work together as a team to accomplish something. And, they are rewarded with compensation, so they can learn the value of a dollar. Along the way, they are building skills to become self-sustaining some day.
Of course, we need their help. If you talk to any employer in our region, they will take all of the help they can get. We need more young people entering the workforce as soon as they are able.
Unfortunately, we do have some very capable young people not in the workforce. They are playing video games or just hanging out and bumming money off of their parents.
I have many thoughts on this perception we older folks need to think about.
First off, if any of us think that young people are lazy, then we need to blame ourselves. Our generation is responsible for raising them to become who they are today.
But more importantly, we need to focus on the positive. What about all of the young people who are working?
Instead of lumping all of these young people into the “lazy” category, let’s consider a different approach. Let’s praise all of the young people who are working. When you are at a restaurant, recognize these young people for stepping up as they are clearing a table of dirty dishes. If they are waiting tables, tip them well. Your praise will make their day a little brighter.
Young people in the workforce should give us a sign of hope for the future.
Every time we encounter a young person on the job, that presents an opportunity to encourage our next generation to keep the economy going.
We have an opportunity to make somebody’s day every day. Today could be that day.