UPS Work Ethic - IS America Losing It?

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by Photog, Jun 22, 2015.

  1. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt You can call me Chappy Staff Member

    I know this is against the principles and beliefs of Unions but UPS and it's Union employees may be an exception.

    From Mike Rowe's Facebook page:

    Off The Wall - Mike Rowe

    Carrie writes,
    "Did you know the "Tea Party Express" was using your image and words (out of context) to "advertise?"


    Hi Carrie,

    Yes, I’m aware of the image, and no - it was not created with my knowledge or permission. Last I checked though, it’s been shared over 160,000 times, and seen by over 20 million people. Since my posts are intended to encourage conversation, this is a good thing. On the downside, many of those who oppose The Tea Party are no longer willing to talk to me. And that’s too bad.

    Jack says, “Seriously Mike? The Tea Party? Adios...”

    Frances writes, “I suggest you hop aboard the Tea Party Express and ride it straight to hell.”

    Debbie observes, “Mike Rowe - “Another Dirty Teabagger.”


    My own mother, more curious than judgmental, just saw the image, and called to ask why there was a “choo-choo train next to my face.”

    “I don’t know, Mom. I guess maybe The Tea Party agrees with what I wrote?”

    “Oh well,” she said. “At least they spelled your name right!”

    For the record, I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of The Tea Party. And the irony of this situation is precisely why I'm not much of a joiner. My original post was an honest attempt to illustrate how a simple virtue like “work ethic” can no longer be discussed without becoming instantly politicized. Of the 20,000 comments that followed, nearly all were positive and thoughtful. But now that my thoughts have been reduced to a single sentence and associated with a group that half the country views with deep suspicion, my words are a touch more...inflammatory?

    Janyl writes, “Wow. Mike Rowe just devalued a whole generation with one quote.”

    Diane says, “Who are Mike Rowe and The Tea Party to tell us our kids a lazy? My kids are hardworking and respectful!”

    Jason declares, “Mike - Please stop judging the work force like you are in it. Working a half a day with someone and calling it work is show biz. Want to impress the work force? Come work in our foundry for 6 months with no cameras.”


    Let me be clear - I stand by everything I said in my original post. The lack of work ethic in America is a serious problem, and it’s getting worse everyday. But obviously, that doesn’t mean every parent is a failure, or every teacher is a hack. Nor does it mean every kid is slacker, or every person out of work is lazy. However, there’s no getting around the fact that we - the collective we - are no longer instilling the belief that mastering a skill and working hard can lead to a prosperous life. Consequently, millions of able-bodied people have concluded the system is rigged, and stopped looking for work. This is, in my opinion, is the greatest threat our country faces.

    Let me riff on the Tea Party quote for a second. Many are asking me to explain exactly how we are we “churning out” the people in question. Personally, I think it started when we began pushing a four-year degree at the expense of every other form of learning. Back when we started describing education as “higher,” vs. “alternative.” Back when we started embracing goofy platitudes like “Work Smart, Not Hard.” Traditional portrayals of hard work have been slowly devolving into stereotypes ever since. On TV, plumbers were 300 pounds with giant butt-cracks. Every other skilled worker looked like Schneider from One Day at a Time. Books like “The 4-Hour Work Week” became instant best-sellers, American Idol became the #1 show in the country, and Madison Avenue found endless way to remind us that true contentment required less work and more vacation. Hard work, delayed gratification, and many other virtues once acknowledged as keys to success were gradually repositioned as impediments to happiness.

    Over time, people got the message. Enthusiasm for the skilled trades began to wane. Vocational education vanished from high school. The definition of a “good job” began to change, and before long, everyone was getting a trophy, or expecting one. Meanwhile, demand kept increasing for four-year schools, so universities were able to raise tuition at rates that far exceeded inflation. Vast amounts of money were then made available, and students borrowed it like never before.

    Today, the results are self-evident. One point two trillion dollars of student loans hang like a millstone from the necks of college graduates. Many are now perfectly educated for jobs that don’t exist, and untrained for those that do. Thus, the people we’re “churning out,” have been told to expect something that isn't there, and trained to see genuine opportunities as vocational consolation prizes. Now, there’s an added obstacle that many employers talk about with real concern - a profound resistance to moving to where the jobs are. Not just a resistance - but a kind of indignation at the mere suggestion. Many people now believe a “good job” is a job that exists in one’s current zip code. This to me, is the most jarring thing. A nation once defined by a pioneer spirit and a willingness to keep moving, now seems stuck in one place.

    I know it’s hard to relocate. In some cases, I know it’s nearly impossible. I also know it’s easy for a guy in my position to sound judgmental and out of touch with the problems so many face. But every statistic confirms my point. People are resistant to change. We don’t want to retrain, retool, and relocate. We want a job that meets our expectations. A job that we like. A job that’s convenient. A job that pays what we think we deserve. These expectations are both limiting and unrealistic. But we - the collective we - have allowed them to persist. We reward the precise behavior we should be discouraging. My foundation does not.

    Last month, I heard from a 24-year old guy who went through a welding program on one of our scholarships. He lives in Kansas with his wife and young son, but he commutes to North Dakota for a few months at a time, and comes home when he can for brief visits. It’s not easy, but it’s opened up a world of possibilities. He just paid off his home. He’s debt free, making six-figures, and saving a small fortune. In short, he’s becoming indispensable, and giving his family options they’d never have if he had waited for the jobs to come to him. That guy’s heroic, in my opinion. He's also a threat to anyone who says The American Dream is dead.

    Here’s an even better one. Last week in San Diego, I hopped in one of those Pedicabs, and let some guy peddle me around the waterfront. The guys name was Ali, and he came to this country ten years ago with nothing. In fact, he didn’t even speak the language. Today, he owns 90 Pedicabs, employs 60 people, and speaks English better than a lot of people who were born here. We spent the day together, and next season, you’ll see his story on Somebody’s Gotta Do It. To me, it’s an inspiration, and proof-positive that anyone can make it in this country who’s willing to learn a skill, provide a service, and work really, really hard.

    Truth is Carrie, I’m not as bearish as The Tea Party makes me sound, but I’ll stand by the quote, even out of context and festooned with a logo I didn’t request or approve. Frankly, I’m glad the Tea Party chose to share my words, and wouldn't object if The Socialist Party follows their lead. In fact, I’ll officially invite them to do so right now, along with The ACLU, The NAACP, The AFL-CIO, The NEA, The EPA, The NRA, The FBI, Jews for Jesus, The SPCA, Greenpeace, OSHA, The USMC, The local PTA, and my old pals at PETA. The more the merrier! Because ultimately, the enthusiastic support of a national work ethic is something ALL groups should get behind, even if I can’t get behind all groups.* Some things are simply too important to be co-opted. Work ethic is one of them.

    Mike

    *Offer not valid to NAMBLA, The KKK, ISIS, Hamas, or The American Nazi Party. Because every rule has exceptions...
     
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  2. Brownslave688

    Brownslave688 You want a toe? I can get you a toe.

    I like his quote about a "good job". I remember when I quit school talking to my parents about moving to where my girlfriend was in school. I said if I could find a good job I would stay. My mom asked what a good job was.


    My only criteria for the job was that it support me living on my own and that I be able to support my girlfriend through school also. Nothing else. I was willing to do about anything for the right amount of money.


    Now my 18 year old cousin thinks $12 an hour is min wage and he better not be asked to work all that hard for that.
     
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  3. SCV good to go sir.

    SCV good to go sir. Active Member

    If the turnover rate for new hires at my hub is any indication, yeah.
     
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  4. brown bomber

    brown bomber brown bomber

    The stories I could tell re: work ethic
     
  5. PT Car Washer

    PT Car Washer Well-Known Member

    Oh really. Minimum wage job for 3 hours a day and no benefits and be treated like a borrowed mule? I think most young people are smarter then that. When I started PT I was making $.50/hr less then a FT driver. UPS had no problem hiring good PT employees. When you pay peanuts, you hire monkeys.
     
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  6. Jackburton

    Jackburton Gone Fish'n

    It all starts with parents and how they raise the next generation. No, having your kids work during the summer isn't child abuse. Neither is demanding they get good grades, brush their teeth, and wear suitable cloths for their age. Showing them how to balance a checkbook, pay for a bill (Netflix) with their own money, and making them save a portion in their paycheck considered "running my house like North Korea"; was told that last week.

    It's called parenting, I'm trying to raise adults, not 26yr old children that come back home because I didn't give them life skills.
     
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  7. PiedmontSteward

    PiedmontSteward RTW-4-Less

    This line of thought doesn't generate any traction with me and I'll explain why. There's some very valid and very isolated criticisms of my generation (millennials) that I witness every day when I hash out "3 day no call no shows" and warning letters for attendance with managers but -- for the most part -- Rowe's statement is bull:censored2:.

    The "jobs" climate now is completely reprehensible and Mike Rowe (who has happily taken Walton family money shilling for Walmart) is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. It's hard to cultivate a "serious" work ethnic when the 40 hour work week (even for the fortunate few full time Teamsters) has been annihilated and labor in this country has suffered a serious epidemic of casualization (ie. the rise of the low-paying part time job.)

    I've watched my mother and father get utterly :censored2:ed by the fallout from NAFTA and the modern economy we "enjoy." When I was a kid, my dad had a pretty solid job in middle management at a local copper plant and my mom worked for Iomega (remember the Zip drive?) NAFTA saw Iomega relocate to Mexico immediately after Clinton slammed it through Congress and she (as a working class women that went to college for a few years and then went to work instead of graduating) was laid off and couldn't find work for almost two years. When someone's identity and culture is intricately tied into working for a living and providing for a family and that ability is taken away for purely economic reasons, the results are traumatic and I'll leave it at that.

    The copper plant lost more and more business to China and my dad jumped ship to a major computer manufacturer before being laid off right when I started working at UPS before I graduated high school. This guy straight up bled Dell Blue and they thanked him by moving his job to Malaysia after 6 years of service. He went back to school to learn a new trade and no found out one wants to :censored2:ing hire a 60+ year old man so he's busting his nuts in a :censored2:hole warehouse for $10/hour, no benefits, and no vacation time after getting a second college degree

    The system we have now is inherently unfair. The deck's been stacked since the 1960's and Mike Rowe isn't doing us any favors by perpetuating the myth that people simply aren't working hard enough.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 22, 2015
  8. FrigidFTSup

    FrigidFTSup Resident Suit

    What work ethic? I get guys who come in the door on an almost weekly basis who say they did this or that so they know hard work, only to see them during the sort wondering if they are going to need a ventilator.

    It's not only in the blue collar world. My stepfather works as a director at a chemical company. He says it's comical how these millennials walk through the door. They all think their 4 year degree means they should be running the show and making upper six figures. Then when they actually get hired they're in the door at 8 and out at 430 and complain when they have a normal workload. The hand holding has created a generation of wimps.
     
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  9. SCV good to go sir.

    SCV good to go sir. Active Member

    Heaven forbid the concept of delayed gratification be applicable to the real world. Why should any young person start at the bottom and rise through the ranks? It's not like the experience of doing so will have any value whatsoever. I guess there's nothing to be learned from that (ahem patience ahem willpower ahem impulse control ahem self-regulation ahem) when someone is so smart that they already know everything. Yes, I'm sure that person fresh out of high school with 0 skills went on to bigger and better things immediately when they quit UPS after 3 days of 3 hour shifts.

    You and I both know very well that the lack of perks of the job you're describing is only temporary and it gets better with time. Please tell me of another part time job that offers full medical, dental, vision, 401k, paid vacation, sick days, and a pension. Until that young person has put in enough time to develop the skills needed to reach bigger and better things, the part time gig at UPS isn't that bad. And those bigger and better things are still going to require a strong work ethic and come with their own type of bull:censored2:. The grass isn't greener.
     
  10. PiedmontSteward

    PiedmontSteward RTW-4-Less

    That's the other side of the coin to what I posted.

    At some point, millennials bought the ideal that you could go to college, get degree, and land a gravy job making $80k/year out the gate. That's completely unrealistic and another very valid criticism of my generation.

    Unfortunately, the result has been folks with $100k student loans in basket weaving and no actual skills. While a great deal of the blame lies with these "students", they would have never been granted these loans had the Department of Education not been backing student loans and giving carte blanche to shell them out like hot cakes in the early/mid 2000's.
     
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  11. I Am Jacks Damaged Box

    I Am Jacks Damaged Box Well-Known Member

    Bingo. They are way smarter than they are given credit for.

    Quite a few younger guys I have worked with, 21-28 year olds specifically, tend to exhibit a more non-linear way of thinking about their compensation and instead think of it as work versus reward.

    I've heard wages referred to as "4 gallons of gas an hour" to "4 hours of this to pay my cell phone bill".

    Fascinating way of thinking actually.
     
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  12. Jones

    Jones fILE A GRIEVE! Staff Member

    That article struck me as the latest version of someone complaining about "these kids today...".
    People are people, they're just as willing to work hard as they were 50 years ago. What's changed is the economy.
     
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  13. Sleeve_meet_Heart

    Sleeve_meet_Heart making the unreadable unreadabler

    As long as the income gap and inequality continues to rise, and everything is outsourced out of the U.S., the hard work/care/concern will continue to dwindle, as well as decent earning jobs. Also, the small-business spirit was broken decades ago in this country....the business class who is taking the loot, does not want competition.
     
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  14. Sleeve_meet_Heart

    Sleeve_meet_Heart making the unreadable unreadabler

    He is pushing for blue-collar types to transform into dusk-to-dawn Puritan nonsense of his. That's easy to say, from the outside looking in.
     
  15. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    We are talking about putting packages on to trucks-----do we really need more than monkeys?
     
  16. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    No way.
     
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  17. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    When my kids were much younger and wanted to make a major purchase I would ask them how many hours I would have to work to pay for said purchase.
     
  18. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    Are you advocating that in addition to backing these loans the DOE should be tasked with measuring the validity of the major being pursued and even go so far as to deny financial aid to those students who choose to pursue a trivial major? 18 year olds are adults and if they want to mortgage their future to study ancient Egyptian art than that is their right; however, at no point should our government even consider a "bailout" other than for those students who agree to commit to work in underserved areas (teachers working in an inner city school).
     
  19. PiedmontSteward

    PiedmontSteward RTW-4-Less

    Honestly, I'm not sure. There's a broad spectrum of folks saddled with student loan debt for different reasons-- I carry the "national average" with a liberal arts degree but have a decent enough job to be able to pay ahead on my student loans because I went to a public university. I got out at just the right time because tuition started spiking my junior and senior years as more and more state governments started advocating educational austerity. This had the additional consequence of my original chosen profession (teaching) actually paying less than moving boxes in a warehouse.

    Part of the problem is generational and the other part is the climate shift in the jobs market. Coming of age, millennials were told we could be anything we wanted to be if we just went to college. Then the recession happened and we had to compete with our parents' generation for entry-level jobs.

    18 year olds are adults, sure. But just barely. They don't have the life experience to understand they're essentially taking on a house payment later down the road if they want to pursue XYZ degree at the private university they were accepted into and the best thing they can hope for is a white collar job paying $30k/year.

    I went to community college/paid of out pocket (charging tuition to a credit card sucks FYI but I was fortunate enough to work at a hub with tuition reimbursement) for about 70% of my college career. I didn't have to pursue student loans until my early 20's but still didn't really take in the entire ramifications of the financial decisions I was making. Quite a few of my friends tried to hide from the economy by going to college and they're paying the price now.

    It doesn't help that the DoE is now one of the best funded government bodies. Private companies are more than willing to shell out a student loan for almost anyone or anything, especially when the tax payers are underwriting their losses.
     
  20. bbsam

    bbsam Moderator Staff Member

    Then why complain about work ethic? They're only monkeys.
     
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