To be certain, our economy has continued to falter as our government continues to tether us to virtually unpayable amounts of debt. The labor participation rate - that is, the percentage of adults who hold a job or are actively looking for one - dropped the most in these six years than it has since the 1970s.
In short, it’s tough out there.
Resumes sit in a basket at the Primerica booth during the Job Hunter's Boot Camp at College of San Mateo on June 7, 2011 in San Mateo, California. As the national unemployment rate sits at 9.1 percent, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) hosted a Job Hunter's Boot Camp that attracted hundreds of job seekers. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Perhaps just as bad as the economy’s state of affairs is the reality that more and more people want things simply handed to them.
I see it all the time, and especially from my generation. For minimal effort, people want maximum results - and when they don’t get it, they’re unhappy, and certainly less productive. Remember Ashton Kutchor’s Teen Choice Awards acceptance speech back in 2013? He was speaking to this generation.
“I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work,” he said, as he subsequently shared a laundry list of odd (and tough!) jobs he had held starting at age 13, reminding the crowd that he got where he was by climbing on the ladder of success he created for himself.
How many young people does that sound like? For that matter, how many people does that really sound like? When is the last time you saw someone pull themselves up by their bootstraps to get where they wanted, and needed to be?
Meet Becky G.
Rebbeca Marie Gomez, aka Becky G, performs at The Electric Factory on March 6, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Credit: Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images
To most, she’s the quintessential Disney Channel output of hip-hop fluff whose parents happened to know somebody who knew somebody in the industry. That’s not entirely off base; her lyrics (“dancing in the mirror / singing in the shower”) aren’t exactly soul-searching. But let’s dig deeper for a moment.
Becky G., or Becky Gomez as she is known by her family and friends, got into entertainment because it was the only thing she knew how to do to help her family. Gomez, now 17, recalled this moment during an interview with Rolling Stone:
"'OK, I gotta get my life together. What am I gonna do?' I pushed that on myself at a younger age than the average kid because at the time my family had lost our home. I've always been more mature for my age, so I was already understanding what they were going through. And I just thought, ‘How can I help them? I can't go and get a job bagging groceries, even.’ I would have done that, but I was only 9 years old, so I figured, why not go into entertainment? I love entertaining people.”
And so she set out to do just that.
In case you missed it, she was a 9-year-old when she made this decision.
Through her own individual efforts, she sought out child agencies and began acting in commercials, eventually working her way up to collaborating with some of the biggest names in entertainment. Her latest collaboration with Pitbull earned her a Billboard No. 1.
Now meet the world’s second richest man, Carlos Slim.
Mexican businessman Carlos Slim speaks during the 20th annual meeting of the Circulo de Montevideo Foundation in Luque, Paraguay, on July 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / NORBERTO DUARTE
Slim has recently made headlines after making a speech at a conference in Paraguay, where he advocated for a three-day work week, with the caveat being that one would work roughly 11 hours per day during those three days.
His premise? "Having four days [off] would be very important to generate new entertainment activities and other ways of being occupied.”
Undeniably, there is a need to find a balance between workaholism and doing too little. But this is simply beyond the pale.
First of all, it’s hypocritical. I hardly believe the world's second richest man got where he did by working just a few days a week.
Second of all, it is wildly impractical. In theory, a worker would put forth 33 hours worth of labor, or seven hours less than the standard work week (even less than the average work week), but the employer (presumably) would still pay the employee the same amount, for less time spent on the job and less output? And, businesses would have to compensate for a four day stall between “work weeks.”
I’m all for balance between career and family, especially in an era in which both parents often have to work. But this balance can come in other forms of individual employee/employer terms of agreement, such as working from home when possible, flexible hours, etc.
(Photo via mikeroweWORKS)
Instead, this argument is, as Greg Gutfeld put it on "The Five," “made by someone who’s unencumbered by the consequences of not working.” Moreover, as Gutfeld also wisely noted, “the most important step out of poverty is work.”
Work feeds not only the pocketbook, but it feeds the soul. It fuels the innate human desire to “matter;” something you can typically create for yourself by working hard - at whatever you do. It also staves off the equally innate human tendency towards idleness, which is - let’s be honest - what often happens when we’re not setting goals in front of ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not particularly a fan of Becky G.’s style (then again, I’m not 17), but that’s not the point. She showed incredible work ethic and drive by facing the odds head on - and beating them.
Instead of just sitting around and waiting for that welfare check to come, get up and do something about it. Defy the economy. Defy your circumstances. Emulate the work ethic of Becky G., and not the advice of Carlos Slim. Go wherever you need to go; do whatever you need to do - and as Adm. William McRaven put it in his now-famous commencement speech:
“Don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”
Mary Ramirez is a full time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com - a political commentary blog, and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree
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