As the Assistant Manager of a small retail store, one of my nascent responsibilities is to hire an entry level customer sales associate. Much to my surprise, I have found the task to be extremely tedious and frustrating. In our lackluster economy many Americans are looking for a job, but it seems that many of these people don’t actually want a job. I believe that this phenomenon may be one of the many factors producing a stagnant economy, but more importantly, it perfectly illustrates an American flaw that could potentially be our undoing.
In my search for a new employee there certainly has been no shortage of applicants. I have received applications from people coming from all walks of life, yet none of them have accepted the job offer. The reason, I have decided, is that many people without established careers are completely unwilling to start at the bottom and work their way up. Instead, they dream of the perfect job with unrealistic paychecks, and refuse to settle for anything less. This particular position does not offer the highest wages by any means, but the potential for career growth is unlimited. This store is there for the taking. Yet I still cannot find someone to fill the position.
After witnessing this common theme among applicants, I have realized that the adverse reaction to the idea of starting at the bottom is actually a nation-wide theme. It seems to me that many job-seeking Americans will settle for nothing less than the perfect job. Applicants will often place a price tag upon themselves, and then simply not work until that price is met. The problem with this mentality is that it isn’t always pragmatic. Regardless of how much money a potential employee thinks they are worth, their real value is only as much as potential employers are willing to pay them. This may be a small sum starting out, but any good businessman will reward the efforts of a productive employee. In other words, don’t be afraid to start at the bottom.
I believe that this mentality and poor work ethic stems from two main sources: affluency and welfare. Most young Americans come from well-off families and don’t fully grasp the importance of a job. The vast majority of Americans have grown up without experiencing the deprivation of life’s essentials. We have always had what we needed, and we have come to expect it will always be this way. If some circumstance does arise that makes it difficult to satisfy our needs, the government is more than willing to increase their never-ending welfare state. In short, jobs are not all that important because regardless of what happens, we will always get what we need somehow. In my experience, this is the mentality of many young Americans.
I began my current job when I was 16-years-old. I started out making minimum wage, but received a pay increase after only one month. Two months later I had another pay increase. On average, I have received a pay increase every six months I have been at this job. I started in the lowest possible position making the lowest possible amount of money. Now, after only a few short years, I am making double the amount I did when I first started, and I am in a managing position. I write this not to boast by any means, but simply to show that hard work does indeed pay off. It is possible to start at the bottom and work one’s way to the top.
It is essential for young Americans especially to banish the idea that someone will always take care of them. We all must realize that given our current economic state, any affluency we now experience is extremely precarious. We must instill in young Americans the value and importance of hard work. The perfect job doesn’t fall out of the sky. The perfect job is the one that is sought after through hard work during our early years, and eventually achieved after many grueling hours and less-than-desirable paychecks. So stop filling out applications. Find the job with the most promise, and get to work.