When I was growing up, I was never led to believe that anything would just be handed to me. I never had any suspicion that I was “OWED” anything other than the support and love of my family.
As I grew, I learned that while my family was there for me, I was no longer “entitled” to anything that I did not work for. Unlike when I was younger, I now had to start working for things. Any allowance that I received was based on what I did to help around the house. If I chose not to help around the house, doing things like washing dishes, cleaning up, doing laundry, running errands, then I simply did not get any money. Just like a real job. Cleaning my own room never counted, as it was one of those things that I was supposed to keep clean on my own.
When I got my first job, mowing lawns for a couple friends of the family, my Mother began charging me a “rent” of sorts. It only worked out to be about 20% of what I made mowing, but it was enough for me to learn that when I earn a paycheck, it is not all mine. The same held true when I started my first REAL job, working for a company called GEMCO. I had, at this point, learned that I needed to keep aside a portion of my pay for rent. Granted… I did not enjoy it, but I learned long before I went out on my own that I needed to do this.
This philosophy that my mother instilled in me translated very well into my adult life. I had no misunderstandings when I first went into the workforce, I knew that I had to work for my pay. I expected no special favors or handouts. If someone gave me a second chance on something I failed at, it was because they wanted to, not because they owed it to me. If I was promoted, it was because I had worked for it.
So… Why is it that today, more and more, I see people that think that they are owed something simply by showing up or by being alive? There seems to be this attitude that no matter what they have or have not done, they expect to make top dollar and not have to work that hard to do it.
When I watch people on TV, or hear people of the radio, that say things like “The government owes this to me.” or when I hear people say that they are upset because their welfare ran out and the government owes that to them, I am truly perplexed.
It amazes me that people have somehow grown to this opinion that anyone owes them something, when they have, in many cases, done nothing to work for it. Yes, an employer owes you a paycheck and a safe place to work if you are working for them and doing your job well. If you are not doing your job well, then they would owe you a warning or two, and then, if you do not clean up your act, they would owe you a pink slip and an escort out the door. It return, you owe your boss a good day’s work with some decent level of productivity. That is it, nothing else. If you lose your job through no control of your own, the state owes you a certain period of unemployment, you pay into that, so that also, within reason, is owed to you.
I do not deny that things are different now than they were twenty or more years ago. People rarely find a job that they will spend the rest of their lives with, as was once the case. But the point is that when you go to work for a person or company, while you are there, you should still give the best you can. For that and ONLY that, you are owed a paycheck and whatever other benefits you are provided.
If you recieve public assistance (Welfare, WIC, etc…), then do not… EVER… think that you are “owed” that. Yes, there may be a very valid reason you are on public assistance, and it may or may not be entirely your fault for having to use it. But if you are able bodied or so much so that you can still work, and are not making a concerted effort to get off of assistance, then you are owed nothing.
Before you come down on me for my opinion on this, you need to know that I am no stranger to public assistance. When my mother and I first moved to Bakersfield back in 1974, she had no job and the little that she was getting for child support for me was not enough to pay the rent let alone pay for a full month’s food for us. So she applied for and got both food stamps and welfare. But she was going out on a regular basis and looking for work, and after a couple smaller jobs and the birth of my brother, she eventually, ironically enough, started working for the Department of Health and Human Services… the “Welfare Department”. So she used the system the way it was supposed to be used, to get back up on her feet again.
It was partially because of growing up with a history of welfare that I have always chose not to use any public assistance. There was only even one period in my life that I used my Unemployment Benefits. Even though that IS something that we pay into, I am still hesitant to use it.
I understand that there is nothing wrong with getting something for free from time to time or having something gifted to you. But I do not expect it. Likewise people should not expect that anything is going to be given to them. No one should think that they are entitled to that which they did not earn through hard work. Anything you get through the course of your life should be earned otherwise there is no incentive to apply effort to do better.
If you are a person who sees yourself as a “giver”, then understand that you are a noble person… I will not say that you are doing wrong by committing the act of giving, but I will say that you should make sure that you are giving to the right people and for the right reason. Do not give to those that do not need it and do not give for the sake of making yourself look good to those around you. Give to the ones that are really needing it and give because it feels right in your heart.
If you are a “Taker”… one of those people that feels that simply by being born and living in the United States, you are owed something with no effort or desire to work for it on your own and there is no correctable physical or mental reason why you cannot be out there earning a paycheck, then you should be ashamed of yourself. You are a good part of what is wrong with the United States and, more than likely, part of the reason we ended up with Mr. Obama as a president.