Whatever happened to initiative?

In every job I have worked in, I have always done my best to make things easier for myself. I wonder why others do not. I understand that working is always bound my rules and procedure but surely, by making your responsibilities more efficient and communicating this back to your superiors - you're making things easier for yourself, and the company you work for?

I have seen so many others content to work away, day after day doing exactly the same thing, not questioning nor trying anything new. Coming to work, dead on time, leaving work, dead on time. Staying within a wage bracket, being complacent of a lack of progression or pay-rises and yet doing nothing to prove they're worth that extra investment. 

When I headed teams of IT engineers in my previous job, I would go from week to week having teams from brilliantly efficient to lacklustre - each paid equally. I found this contrast perplexing. 

The lack of initiative in young people is perhaps excusable due to inexperience. I was exactly the same, building that gradual "work ethic", but there is an increasing trend of those older folks and even university graduates who are clearly in a job they hate, who do nothing but complain and do nothing to make things better who can't seem to grasp the same ethic.  

It's that entitlement attitude that irks me. Those 'I've been here for X years doing the same job - I deserve a pay rise!" types. Merits are rewarded by action, not by time alone. I find myself asking why this trend is increasing?

If I where to examine this from pop culture, the answer would be "because companies are getting greedy" - but this is not fact-based - I think this stems from opinions of those without work ethic. There is an element of greed, sure - but as much as I hate to use subjective opinion I think this thought is a worthy argument - I have never stayed at a company, where I was unable to advance through my own efforts. It stands to reason that, a company that does not value it's employees is going a great disservice to itself, and the economy - and will not last. I think this trend is increasing not because companies are getting more greedy, it's because everyone is feeling more entitled, and everyone is feeling more entitled because the media perpetuates human existence as a right to quality of life

I would however add just one point to this continuing trend of entitlement that I won't go into detail about too much - government and union involvement in companies. When these two start getting involved in the free-market, it becomes a hornets nest of legality, mob rule and inefficiency that the employee ultimately suffers from - the irony being each such involvement is designed to stand up for employee's rights. There's too much ground to cover in this point so I'll stop at that.

Bit of a tangent there you may be thinking? Bit of a leap indeed - but I think the theory could stand up to scrutiny, and I would welcome debate on that. To conclude, I think the slow death of initiative in the workplace is pretty worrying for the future. All I could advise to those who are also seeing this is just to encourage it, let people know that life is too short to be wasting marketable skills. If some folks are perfectly happy to have no initiative then just leave them be - at least what they are lacking you can gain. 

Published by Amuro Rey


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