You know you’re reaching old age when you start comparing the present to the past. Things made more sense, life was simpler, you didn’t have to worry about surveillance. The little things; they matter. Well, something that has been gnawing at me over the years has finally bit to the bone and that is the lack of work ethics this generation possesses.

I had a father who believed children should be up by five whether it be to prepare for school (six kids, one bathroom, yeah it was necessary) or to get an early start on the day. He did it partly to have some interaction with us due to the long hours he worked as well as to instill some discipline. Woe to those who missed the alarm because he would kick in ypur door and subject you to such inspirational tirades you never, ever missed that alarm again…in the near future. Then came the Army where 4:30 was the norm with early PT, followed by chow, then by duties/training. The routine made work simpler, the shared hell normalizing duty, and teamwork aiding in the belief you were accomplishing something. To this day if I wake up and there is sunlight I momentarily freak out. Now juxtapose that with my stepdaughters. They’ll ask to leave early for school requiring my wife to rise an hour earlier only for my stepdaughters to sleep roughly until the last second and still making themselves late for whatever early activity they needed to attend. Then there are my coworkers. I believe if you are not ten minutes early, you are late. Most of my coworkers seem to think thirty minutes late is acceptable. This usually leads to me prepping everything before they finally show up which then leads to me being less than convivial. I know right, me nice, NEVER.

I work fifty-sixty hours a week, not including call, which leaves me exhausted. I do intensely mental work. So when my coworkers sit around, surfing the web, chatting about their mediocre lives and exchanging crockpot recipes, I’m caught doing the work of three people. A part of me says, ‘Stop, screw’em. Let us fail.’ But the duty in me, that responsibility family and military drilled in doesn’t fade easily. I just can’t fathom laziness. How do people enjoy procrastination? How do they not take pride in their work which a symbol of their character?

At home I attempt to lead by example. After shuffling home following a ten-twelve hour day, I discover the stepdaughters haven’t done their chores. The floor hasn’t been swept, the dishes are piled in the sink, the counters are still greasy. They’re on the couch, playing on their phones, listening to music as they peripherally watch television. At least they can multitask. So I do it. In less than an hour, without so much as an ackowledgment, I clean the kitchen, take out the garbage, put the dishes in the dishwasher. They see me do it but don’t even raise a finger to help, feel no guilt whatsoever. The sheer audacity that they wait until I’m done to ask for money, ask for a ride, ask for a favor is what sends me over the edge. Maybe it’s my father that unleashes Hitlerian level scoldings or the Army coming through, but by the end of my day, I am done with being run down while the rest of the world comes that one step closer to becoming vegetables. I tear into them about their bathroom, their bedrooms, the rest of their chores. They get up only after threats of loss of their phones, of seeing their friends, and, sometimes, their limbs, they snap to.

This is the problem with this country, this lack of work ethic. Fast food employees (I won’t call them workers) want wages better suited to college grads, factory workers want six figures, hipsters want a ‘living wage’ so they can be free to crusade, create, and evade any commitment, while others enjoy wallowing in subsidized housing, and others leeching social benefits they somehow earned without paying the taxes that support them. This is a country where increasingly those who won’t work are nearing the majority. When they say we are a post-industrial society I agree. We have lost the industry that made us great. There is no more drive, no more pride, just a mass yearning to sell what little value they have for even less return.

I just don’t get people anymore. I dig ditches when I was eight, repo when I was fourteen, military, full-time job, and college all at the same time, and sacrificed a great deal of my youth for the stability of the education and job I have today. I know the value of hard work and have become embittered with these dregs who seem to think that rewards are entitlements and work beneath them.

There is a reason coveting is considered a sin, because you want something others have without realizing the value of what it took to get it. I don’t care if you want a phone, a car, a house. I don’t care what you want, period, because it is not my responsibility to furnish you with it. You want it, you work for it, you work for it, you earn it, you earn it you buy it, care for it, cherish it as it eternally reminds you of the importance of hard work.

The housing crisis, Wall Street bubbles, banking crises are all examples on the macro scale of people wanting but not working, not earning, not producing. The hemorrhaging of jobs, the dropping of IQs, the increase in social spending the fissures in the foundation of character in America. You people should be ashamed of yourselves putting your hand out and selling yourselves short. You shouldn’t want to become beholden to the state, you shouldn’t settle. You should challenge yourself, you should reach for those dreams, and not only surprise yourself but inspire others by your efforts from your kids to your neighbors to the community at large. Build something, grow something, improve, advance, increase the value of your life.

I push, push until I’m raw and tired, but I keep pushing. I want to achieve my utmost. Why don’t you? I just don’t get this generation.

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