Dedication evaporation

Whatever you do, make sure you find a job you want to do 14 hours a day, seven days a week."

My dad passed along that bit of career advice after my 1980 high-school graduation. It made a lot sense back then. Dad worked some 30 years doing a task he knew best: inspecting boilers.

While such work didn't inspire me to follow in his footsteps, his dedication to job and family always stuck.

Commitment has always been big to those from the World War II generation. Their children - baby boomers - didn't always buy that ideology, especially at home. Since the mid-'70s, about half of all marriages have ended in divorce.

And now it seems commitment is scarce in our high-paced, get-it-done-yesterday workplace.

As for where job dedication is heading, check out Shelley Donald Coolidge's story to the right.

The way the latest generation of workers sees it, commitment is a two-way street: Employers commit to supporting their employees; employees dedicate themselves to the success of their employer.

That wasn't the case during the last recession in the early 1990s. Employers, in their quest to survive and appease shareholders, showed the door to many committed workers.

Generation X witnessed this lack of dedication and took copious notes.

Now Gen-Xers ask: "Why work longer than 9 to 5, if, when the going gets tough, the boss sends me packing?"

Many baby boomers fail to grasp why Gen-Xers demand so much while lacking loyalty.

Shelley's story reports that Xers just want their bosses to let them know: "What's the deal?"

Maybe that question should be rephrased to say "Where's the commitment?"

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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