The Desk

June 30, 2016

Troubled Landscape: Generations

So much of the time the typical comments heard about the new work force is in relation to generations that are post Baby Boom. There are comparisons. There are complaints. There are acknowledgements of positive attributes. There are concerns about the pressures they are already beginning to endure and sympathy for their conditions. There is awareness that they are deferring many of the usual inroads into adult life.

The majority of the complaints are with regard to whether the younger workforce is actually qualified to manage the needed tasks in a responsible way. Indeed, there are many instances wherein the complaints are justified. Quality of service and quality of workmanship is missing. The customer winds up needing to explain the concepts to the one doing the serving when the situation should be the reverse.

But the stream of soft, dewy faces continues to bombard the large and small silver screens. The older faces that either bear white hair or none at all become more faint and then drop out of view. Finally, a storyteller (read scriptwriter) allows us to be part of the scene being painted and we begin to see the cycle of life happening whereas we thought we were standing in a timeless environment. We are aging; it is time for the younger, newer to prepare to over the positions we once occupied. Our roles need to change.

At one time, we considered the younger generation as self absorbed and like a petulant child that demands what has yet to be earned. In a more reflective moment, we realize the Millennials are mimicking what we ourselves did some 40 to 50 years ago. We considered ourselves quite sophisticated and adult. We knew everything and were exquisite. We deserved not only what we had but had earned (and were entitled to) even more. Not only that, today’s Millennials and every generation before them feels their compensation should be much higher so that there is the ability to put their foot out of the nest in order to create their own.

And there’s the difficulty. The compensation seems misaligned in many instances. Not only that. There seems to be too little money available to be paid to the growing numbers of those who would like to be employed. Compounding that situation is the fact that inflation continues while the dollar’s buying power continues to shrink. That phenomenon is not merely because of inflation. It is also impacted by the fact that we now live in a global economy. It is simply good business to manufacture as cheaply as possible in order to sell at the highest possible markup and reap the best profit for the efforts to get to market with quality product or service.

And then there’s the issue of quality service – and training. In the rush to fill the orders and seats that are needed to create delivery, there’s something that’s being overlooked or given short shrift. It’s a precious asset. Few appreciate just how valuable it is. It’s called training. It’s sibling is mentoring. Good training will bring about quality service. Good training (and quality practice) will bring about quality product. And good mentoring will provide the insights not available in the textbook. That mentoring will also be the barometer of when the next plateau of development needs to be approached.

There's a mixture of generations working as one entity today

Previous roles are changed as life cycles evolve.

The difficulty with this easy-to-read picture is that the workforce is now a collage of generations. Some are just commencing Life. Others are in reboot mode because their previous industry collapsed or because they were downsized and cut out in order to cut costs. Difficult as it may be, there are many who are willing to subsume their ego and thoughts about their previous status in order to be included in the numbers who are employed and actually earning a living rather than being supported by government stipends or the kindnesses of strangers and family. Everyone is going through the spin cycle in order to come out still fresh and sparkly and equipped to produce because of the quality of knowledge, skill, education, experiences, and eagerness to be all they can be – and to help the business get there.

Today’s world of work is a difficult landscape.


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January 2, 2016

Exposure and Expertise

Businessman giving an used book to another businessman, learning to survive

Businessman giving a used book to another businessman, learning to survive

There’s a constant search for the best qualified candidate to be added to your workforce. They come to the table with all the education that’s required by the job description. They have the right amount of experience performing the tasks that need to be done. They are aware of the terminology and use it in appropriate context. They are wonderful when it comes to timely execution and speed. Why do they have all of these gifts? Where can you find more of them?

No doubt some of these skills were gained in the classes they took. Still others were developed with exposure to various technologies. Still other things were learned through conversations and reading all manner of trade and recreational content.

How useful all of this knowledge proves to be depends on its source and the amount and type of education that accompanied it. If it was merely parroting something without any appreciation of what the expression means or its history, not to mention the why of its use, then it’s simply doing because you were told to do so when x, y, or z occurred.

You can break a contract but taken literally, it’s difficult to see how a piece of paper can be broken. How many who don’t have exposure to that term understand that violating the terms of the agreement can result in losing the benefits of the association? We can talk about algorithms. That’s a fine and fancy name for having different bases of measuring things that are already in daily use. We count denominations of money using a base of 10. However, we measure distances, space, and time with a base of 12. All of those are algorithms. Does the neophyte realize this? Perhaps not. They’re simply intimidated by this new word and concept that’s been put before them with no explanation.

Taking a skills test can be similar to taking a classroom evaluation of the last section that was taught. However, screening and selection tests such as the LSAT or the SAT are an entirely different thing. If the applicant has never experienced an evaluation process of that type, it shouldn’t be expected that they will perform well on literally their first exposure – unless, of course, there’s some form of genius lurking in those brain cells.

Scalia recently opined that Blacks should not be put into the better educational institutions because they have poor learning skills. That might be true were it not for the fact that educating Blacks has historically been an after thought (if that much). Like women, they were to be kept uneducated in order to have better control over the population and keep them in a state of being disenfranchised. And even in that ethnicity, plus the combinations that created racial and ethnic Creoles, there have been those who found patrons who saw the benefits of providing quality education to them. In the alternative, the population found ways to gain even the rudimentary gems of education in order to propel them into something more.

Education is a prized aspired to by all races and ethnicities. Each family sees it as the tool that will bring fulfillment of the promise of a better life and empowerment. But that promise cannot be realized if the mentoring and educating to create the employable candidate is not provided.

So develop your employee education programs to your advantage. Also develop mentoring programs with an eye toward reducing apathy while increasing engagement and productivity. The exposure to the concepts and terminology will provide you with more than just the ideal candidate for the next step on the ladder.


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September 25, 2011


Filed under: Job Search — Yvonne LaRose @ 7:19 PM
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My weekly journey for a regular appointment takes me along Sunset Boulevard. Nearly every block through business districts is populated by at least one bank. In some places there are four banks on each corner of an intersection, each a different institution from all the others. With your vision being assaulted by so many financial institutions, your mind starts considering what’s inside and what’s offered.

A bank is a bank is a bank is a bank, right? All of them allow you to bring your money to them to hold until you need to use it. All of them pay you interest for letting them use your money. All of them make loans to you for various types of commerce. Maybe that isn’t the case. Maybe that’s an oversimplification.

Whatever it is, another thing you begin to think about is what it’s like to work for one of them. It seems with the homogeneity of all of them, it wouldn’t make a lot of difference which one to choose. What goes on in one is what happens in another.

Vault offerS guides that evaluate various industries, among them is the banking industry. One of their recent newsletters disclosed some interesting facts about the top 50 banks that’s broken down into various categories. The look at how the 50 are ranked in 11 categories:

  • Business Outlook
  • Compensation
  • Culture
  • Formal Training
  • Green Initiatives
  • Hours
  • Informal Training
  • Office Space
  • Relationships with Managers
  • Satisfaction
  • Selectivity

Yes, it’s a heavily job seeker instrument and there are a lot of things that go into making a choice. Perhaps when the candidate is taking a tour of the office during one of the last interviews, these qualifications are the ones that deserve to be utmost on the radar. In addition to helping the candidate make a decision, this guide and it’s statistics are also a barometer that employers and recruiters will want to have handy so that they can talk up the best features of the institution in order to win over that brass ring, the ideal candidate.

In the area of Best to Work for in 2011, the top five (according to the survey results) are

1 1 Houlihan Lokey 9.611 Los Angeles, CA
2 NR The Blackstone Group 9.450 New York, NY
3 3 Centerview Partners 9.424 New York, NY
4 2 Moelis & Company 9.405 New York, NY
5 10 TD Securities 9.333 Toronto,

Vault tells us these rankings are “compiled using a weighted formula that reflects the issues bankers care most about, combining quality of life rankings (such as culture, satisfaction, hours and compensation) with overall prestige.” They provide their methodology for coming up with these numbers. According to the Methodology, the banking professionals who were surveyed, 38% said the company culture was the most important factor.

It’s entirely up to you as to whether you want to purchase the guides. What’s important is the fact that the information is available. Depending on how you read it, it’s a generous tool for any side of the employment desk.

It looks like not all banks are alike and don’t really do the same thing from one institution to another. They aren’t cookie cutter institutions. Do your research. Make a list of your priorities. Circle the ones that offer the most attributes on your list (or ask about them during the interview), evaluate what you have to offer, and then go after what you really want.

Make that door of opportunity a glass door so there’ll be no surprises.

November 16, 2009

Not-So-Novel Job Search Strategies

Job search strategies come and job search strategies go. Job seekers move along the age continuum. As they approach and overcome 50 years (of age), they begin to believe the hyperbole that they’re no longer useful and should be focusing on retirement rather than competing with the Gen-whatevers for plum career options. In the alternative, they buy into the notion that the only good they have left is data entry or human online search engine opportunities.

Dearie me. How far from true are these myths. The only thing holding back a mature job seeker is the amount of creativity they use for determining where to look and how much of their experience and stored skills they choose to market.

Being young and eager is an advantage. One of the benefits of youth and inexperience (so we’re still told) is the eagerness to learn and conquer new concepts. It is also the bastion of bringing new concepts to the workplace that are innovations imparted by college and university training. There are few to no bad habits that need to be unlearned in order to do things in the company way.

However, the senior job seeker, that is, the one who is over 50 years (of age) has several advantages that are most desirable to many employers. One of those advantages is having gone through many years of trial and error learn that has accompanied the training in school. That experience also carries the knowledge gained through years in the workforce in various capacities. That knowledge translates laterally to any position that the senior worker presents theirself as qualified to do.

The catch to being seen as qualified for the new position is communicating and demonstrating in the cover letter, the resume, and during the interview what lateral experience is being brought to the table and how it’s applicable to the new situation. It’s important for the senior job seeker to emphasize the things they’ve done during their career to contain costs (with demonstrable, verifiable examples) as well as revenue generating activities that resulted in good profit margins. Coupling those strategies with a few subtle comments about where being a team player turned into a team win is helpful.

Another boost is showing talking about universal concepts that allow the learning curve to be short because the only thing to really learn is the company way of doing things. The result of a short learning curve is lowered cost of hire which in turn results in cost savings and increased profits. Now that we’ve covered that logic, the other thing the senior job seeker can do during the interview phase of marketing theirself is point out how well they understand the economics of hiring compared with turning a business profit.

Since we’re still in the New Millennium economic depression (and will be there for at least another year), there are a lot of issues driving what the job seeker wants in terms of salary and benefits. The distance that must be traveled in order to get to the workplace will color whether an offer is accepted, Hiring Manager. Make certain you confer with your Human Resources professional with regard to the salary range and what factors may sweeten the pot in order to capture the honey bee to your hive.

Sometimes it will be cold, hard dollars and cents that will make the difference. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of flex time. Or there may be some non-monetary perks that are important to your candidate that help you sidestep tax obligations while still compensating your employee (yes, you definitely can get them to accept your offer, if you present something that’s tantalizing) with benefits they will enjoy. You just have to think outside the dots.

The point is, those of you who are in the job market and over 50 (years of age) need not resign yourselves to entry-level positions that only offer minimum wage. You have a lot to offer. Even if your last career or position wasn’t in sales or marketing, you need to think of yourself as a particular product and sell your product based on the benefits that make it (you) the best choice compared with all of your competitor brands.

May all your Entrances be through the doors of Success!

August 25, 2009


It was 40 years ago this morning that I began investing and the significance of making good choices became acutely underscored in regard to education, training, good listening skills, and communication. The awareness of where to network, as well as how, became another important factor at that time.

Being a member of a minority group meant, as my Second Grade teacher advised her students, being twice as good as our white counterparts so that we could be considered half as good. That meant being prepared for the rejections that would occur throughout our lives that were based on the mere color of our skin and texture of our hair no matter what the venue. But that lesson had to be taught in an indirect manner so that it felt as though it was intuited knowledge. Thus, acceptance and the true meaning of diversity, recognizing all of the races and cultures and ethnicities and blendings that caused our existence could be embraced and celebrated. That also spelled understanding discrimination without needing to endorse it nor waging a war about it. Sometimes the best way to defeat the hate is to simply wall it up in a container and then stow it.

These are all fine things to consider. It’s admirable to aim for accomplishing them as far as developing a person with a meaningful existence who will increase the value of their workplace. They will improve the community for the fact that they passed through that space and did positive things as they impacted it. They strove to do the best possible in the workplace and everywhere else. These are the factors in our investments. But its the return on investment, the ROI, that gives us the bottom line on whether the training and development was properly handled.

Do they fight resistance with all of the tools at their disposal, being selective about which to use at the proper time and in the right measure? Or do they become complacent and accept the dregs that smack of insult instead of the measure to which they have worked to earn and merit?

What type of ethics do they ultimately practice, whether in spite of or because of our training? The question also needs to be raised as to whether our input and training would have made a difference. We question whether we should have been more adamant about certain matters as our capital was being developed. There are some who would tamper with our product and interject negative influences that should not have been part of the training. Still others will attempt to approximate what they see us using but they have no sense of how to replicate the lessons. Therefore, their theft mangles the training and undermines the development regimen so that remediation is not just necessary, it is mandatory.

The issue of knowing when to let go in order to test both our own selves as to our abilities at development as well as the product to see how well it performs becomes critical as time passes. It’s important to do periodic quizes. Taking the small steps to curb disaster are easier in those small increments rather than wait until one payload is ready to be delivered and fails.

After going through all of the development and training of our investment in our future, we want to see our dividend and returns at least doubled. If they aren’t, there’s disappointment in the effort. What still needs to be considered in this regard is whether we’re using the proper measuring stick. It could be that we’re using the one for the architect when the activist logorithm is the correct rule. No matter. It’s important to have a sense of how much return we’re getting on that investment.

July 18, 2009

Losing Icons and Stretching Boundaries

Late yesterday we learned that another television news icon passed away from us to another realm. Walter Cronkite, that stalwart who delivered the news with stern professionalism, with the detachment that is expected of one who is supposed to deliver unbiased, balanced reportage.

It isn’t so much that we’re losing celebrities at a faster rate (as some have argued) as much as it’s a function of the fact that we demarcate our entry into the world of Television at approximately the same time — 1950. Until then, we had relied on radio to convey our messages. That took a different set of listening and attention skills. It required using the imagination more so that the details could be filled in. And it required a unique vocabulary of both the speaker as well as the listener so that subtle nuances could be absorbed. It also took a different set of skills for delivery. This new medium came with new challenges, protocols, boundaries, and more.

The medium of television has given way to many avenues to deliver information and keep the public aware. Look around at the new branches that are shooting out before our eyes and try to absorb the rich future they can provide us. The Internet is now used by politicians to announce their candidacy. YouTube competes with CNN to bring up-to-the-minute coverage of great public events such as debates, town hall meetings, and more.

The standards that were created for the more accepted delivery were set by those who started in radio. And it is those who carved the paths for us to follow are the leaders and hallmarks. Those people, like protocols, wear out and die. Life and progress are founded on change and adaptation. They thrive on innovation and improvement of the art in order to make the content more meaningful and drive the reach to farther places so that more can avail themselves of the message and the knowledge.

We have a responsibility to learn from those icons and replicate the standards they set for us. We also have a responsibility, as with the Olympics, to push the standard a little higher in order to deliver the best possible product. That means we need to not only pay attention but also ask questions about how and why things are done so that we can provide the answers to our audiences as they watch what we produce.

June 5, 2009

Back in the Trenches

Filed under: Management,Recruiting — Yvonne LaRose @ 11:43 PM
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Yes, it’s been a while since there were regular posts regarding any subject on this blog. The absence has been even more protracted on each of my other blogs. You’d think that I’d be much more conscientious about keeping up my writing schedule in light of the fact that I’ve been invited to blog on at least two other sites. But there are only two posts on Talent Management Tech and nothing published as of yet on Toolbox for HR.

Just to let you know, the blog on Talent Management Tech is called “From My View” and allows me to do my forecasting on various topics as they relate to talent management issues from many perspectives. Toolbox wants my words on the “how-to”s and best practices of HR. What I’ll be providing are some past words of advice and observation as reminders for all of us and then some new recommendations.

To that end, it’s time to tell you that one of the reasons for the silence is that I’m back in the trenches. This time I’m looking at the pool of talent that is available, observing practices in various types of companies, taking note of communication systems, and noting what works and what is misleading.

There’s so much grist for comment that it’s overwhelming. Broad brush strokes simply cannot be used at this time. Compounding the observations is the fact that they’re made about systems that exist on Los Angeles’ Skid Row. It isn’t the easiest of places to be in any sense. Nor is it the healthiest place to be. But Skid Row teaches one profound lesson: You have to take everything on a cases-by-case basis. There is no single statement that can be made about the collective whole of the denizen. Likewise, it would be imprudent to take the public relations statement about the organizations here and use that as gospel pertaining to what can be expected. In that regard, diversity is definitely a key word.

In this environment, it is possible to see how parents are using their skills and where skills are needed. From that emanates an appreciation of why so many of our youth are focused on the superficial aspects of tasks and seem to feel a certain entitlement that has not been earned through endeavors to merit privilege, advancement, or acknowledgment.

There are deep pockets of lack when it comes to good leadership skills. Because of the deficiencies, there are people holding responsible positions over people who are in need of many forms of services and support who simply do not have those skills but use their positions in improper ways in order to flaunt their power.

My different blogs touch on different perspectives of the management and hiring processes. The posts that deal with those topics will be placed on the appropriate blog. However, that is another explanation for why there has been such a period of silence. With so many issues wanting their time of discussion, it becomes not only confusing but overwhelming as to where to start first.

Compounding the where and what issues are also the dynamics of being in the environment. As I said, abuse of power is nearly everywhere. It attempts to compensate for the lack of skill in that area. That abuse slides into situations that then become questionable ethics, things such as intentional interference with business opportunity, harassment, and discrimination. Another thing that begins to emerge into the light of day is the fact that in many instances the untrained leaders and ones in positions of responsibility are found to word documents and reports in ways that cast a pall upon the subject of the report. In turn, the person is refused services or opportunities to which they actually have. Some call these statements “misstatements.” I have called them lies; but then, I tend to get excited when it comes to abuse for the sake of abuse and without appreciation of the short- and long-term consequences.

Out of all of these negatives, is it possible to find value-adding human capital? There are training programs here that purport to train and ready people for various types of jobs. Again, it is impossible to make a blanket statement about the population because it is so profoundly diverse. It is nearly mandatory that you take the time to become acquainted with nearly every person who completes an application in order to evaluate them on a case-by-case basis. There are some pearls, there are some who are the underpinnings of any organization, and there are some who will prove to be excellent for seasonal or contract work. The ages for the talent run the spectrum. Many of those over 50 are quite desirable but pushed into the background for various reasons. You have to hunt for what you want.

Nevertheless, there has been a long lapse of time since I last talked with you about anything relating to the employment industry. The silence is being broken.

January 13, 2008

Pushing for Excellence

It was during a period between the end of April to early May 2007 when the incident occurred. Enroute to a destination that was not performing the duties for which it was established, I stopped at a Burger King for breakfast fare and rest. This particular Burger King is located at Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and Western Avenue and it has a mural of Civil Rights Era notables and events. Among the personages represented are images of Cesar Chavez, John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Dolores Huerta, and Whitney Young. Some of the events it memorializes are the March on Washington, King’s being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and many other significant points in time during that era.

It was interesting to reflect on the images of the people, the acts for which they are remembered, their places in history and that time period in addition to what that time meant to people of color and our United States as a whole. For one who watched as the cavalcade passed before my eyes, as one who walked and survived those tumultuous times, who stood for the life that they strove to achieve for all, it was uplifting to see the mural. But I wondered how many youth of today understand what it means and those it represents.

By then, a young boy of about ten years came into the restaurant. He began to notice the mural and it seemed safe to venture the question, “Do you know who any of those people are or what they did?” He understood that there was a Civil Rights era wherein people such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Cesar Chavez, John and Robert Kennedy had roles. He only knew the history of two — King and Chavez. The reason for that was he had just learned about them in school the week before we met. And it was okay that he at least knew those two. It was a start.

Together we looked at the representation of King’s being awarded the Nobel prize. I explained the significance of the prize to him and the various categories for which people can win. But I omitted little pieces of information — some intentionally and some because I simply did not know it. I asked the boy to look up for me what must be done to become eligible for the Nobel prize, the amount of the purse, and the categories. I then gave him my business card and asked him to email me with the information.

What I wanted him to discover was that the Nobel Prize is not some remote holy grail reserved for the elite and wealthy. What I wanted him to grasp was that with the proper knowledge and focus, it is possible that one day he could vie for that award that attests to being the best in that year for that particular discipline. I wanted him to become familiar with the award in order to gain an appreciation of why it was established and where. And I wanted him to at some point in future time realize that he too can be a catalyst of change and positive energy in his community. Yet another intangible lesson would have been the importance of accuracy and precision of presentation in order to consistently be eligible for that type, that caliber of work.

It’s now eight months later and there’s been no email that delivers the information I requested. The more important thing about the request was to get the youth thinking about what that mural represents. It is supposed to inspire pride in overcoming so many bars to progress and fulfillment. It is supposed to be a reminder of an era and impetus to not allow the movement to die away. Yet, like the unsent email, the promise of that time and the march toward equality has slowed; it seems the promised day will never arrive.

How many of us remember those times and the things for which we fought in multiple ways through numerous venues? At least that boy’s teacher took the time to educate the children about some aspect of the Civil Rights Era, even if it was a mere sampling of two or three names. After all, that was their first introduction to the matter. However, that there is no education about the Civil Rights Era is a troubling matter. I have doubts about whether any of the workers at that fast food site or any adults in the community could remember as many names as the boy and I discussed, much less the events, what they were about, the progress that’s been made since.

Socially, we’ve lost sight of many things that were part of the affirmative action movement. Unfortunately, too many view it as a tool for the unqualified to gain access where they have not earned it rather than allowing them to at least stand in line for their fair shot at the target and then having their shot measured in equal balance to all others.

Once I reached my destination, I discussed the experience and the mural with one of the employees, an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. My thoughts were multiple and ardent. They infected the listener.

That mural represents periods and dates in our history that need to be remembered. The essence of the representations and the strife that accompanied those histories need to be explained to each generation so that they have a sense of why it is so vitally important that they reach for the best that is within them and demonstrate that talent, that ability to those who have the power to say, “Yes.” The lessons of those days and the growth that they held needs to be continued and replicated.

The youth need to be given the sight of the upper branches where the prize resides. That view will facilitate their aspiring to climb the tree to its uppermost parts. We need to dare and risk. That mural represents so many things that are now falling into colloquialisms and quips instead of meaningful statements. The education about what is depicted and those things that could not be captured in that image need to be discussed on an ongoing basis so that there is knowledge of the circumstances. The discussions need to also cater to strategies to gain inroads in the places where it seems the doors are closed and locked. There needs to be education about how to negotiate in order to gain the keys to enter the doors. And there needs to be education about what to do once inside in order to claim and grow the prize.

That mural represents a struggle that was not about blame for exclusion but about self-driven desire and determination to achieve in spite of the obstacles. That mural represents those who did.

November 14, 2007

Raw Talent, Raw Material

Filed under: Education and Training — Yvonne LaRose @ 9:44 PM
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Back to our troubling topic — qualified talent and the lack of its abundance.

There are reasons for this abyssmal lack of people who can do even a marginally adequate job of performing their work. The reason is lack of training. And the lack of training comes from not just a remiss school system. It’s more than lack of parental supervision. And more comes into play than employers who take it for granted that certain ones are simply not qualified because of the color of their skin or their residency zip code.

Far too many are having it ingrained in them that they are not required to do anything that bespeaks responsibility. With comes the attitude that they deserve the privilege, whether it was earned or not. With the attitude comes the flair of expecting even a stranger to give things to them, that they may thoughtlessly drop trash when the contents of the wrapper are gone and someone else will come along and clean their litter.

This raw material that could be shaped in so many productive ways lingers and wastes away because of lack of training and lack of enforcement of standards. They walk about as though royalty who expect all to bow to their beck and call. But they simultaneously act out in boisterous ways, using profane language, not using critical thinking skills to do even the simpliest of problem solving. Instead, they wait for someone to do the thinking for them.

These individuals have not been taught to think, much less do critical thinking. It is not a wonder that the reasonings that come from these people is so flawed. And it is even less a wonder that the flawed conclusions lead them to consequences they just didn’t see that are not acceptable to anyone.

Black Tuesday’s crash of the stock market in the 1920s was one example of this total disregard for limits and boundaries. People spent money as if there were no piper at the end of the path. But the piper did exist and he did blow his pipe. As we keep moving down our path of economic woes in the mortgage industry, there is no doubt that the piper will lift his instrument to his lips once more.

The the days of The Depression of the 1930s was a time when people were ashamed of living on the doles of welfare and government stipends. They knew that these stipends were temporary assistance and not a way of life. The realized the sooner they were able to get their selves off of these rolls, the sooner they could resume their lives of esteem and respect. And what it took to get their selves off of the rolls was hard work. But not just hard work for the sake of doing something.

They took care to ascertain what it was they were supposed to be doing and how it was supposed to be done. They pulled out of someone the “why” of the job and its relation to the other factors surrounding it. They held their selves to a standard of production and perfection because those were representations of who they were and what they did.

Times change and so do attitudes. Today’s workforce is full of those who are upper class or lower class. Unfortunately, the middle class has been weeded out and essentially no longer exists. The two classes have something very much in common — lack of critical and creative thinking. They have another thing in common — expecting someone else to do their thinking for them.

Government support has given the lower class a perspective that they should wait for someone to do something for them. They do not have to lift a finger to get whatever they want. Therefore, you should not be surprised when someone from that class walks up to you, a complete stranger, and asks for $5. It’s what they expect from being able to receive charity from social welfare programs. It’s become a way of life, all that they’ve known, and therefore there is no shame in being on these roles and unlearning the thinking process.

Genteel practices of courtesy are forgotten. Swearing, profanity, and cursing are normal forms of speech. Whether there is a valid thought or not, there is an attitude that they are entitled to interrupt anyone’s speech at any time in order to interject some thought. Worse is the need to be seen at any cost. Thus, if they are allowed to become part of a discussion group, the contributions are pitiful. The volume of contributions is overwhelming.

But this is raw talent, raw material that, with proper training, could be developed into the super achiever, networker, worker, leader. It’s all a matter of training — getting their attention, expecting and demanding the best, and training to be the best.

Do these lost individuals have role models on which they can imprint themselves? Do they have leaders they can look to with reliance that they will see examples of how they should strive to manage their selves and mold their characters? To either question, the answer is “only a scant few.” Unfortunately, many of the role models are part of the big screen, small screen, and YouTube screen. What fuels those is what the money-sucking consumerism tides have determined is popular and will sell product. There is still little connection between value and earning position through education, commendable work, and devising successful strategies.

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