The Causey Consulting Podcast

Bonus Episode: Are Rewards for Hard Work Dead?

December 05, 2023
The Causey Consulting Podcast
Bonus Episode: Are Rewards for Hard Work Dead?
Show Notes Transcript

Subtitle: Did they exist in the first place?

Was there some utopia, some golden age where no one was exploited by Corpo America?  😒


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Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here's your host, Sara Causey.


Hello, Hello, and thanks for tuning in. I wanted to hop on and record a bonus episode to contemplate this question. Is hard work dead? Or is it that the reward for hard work is dead? Or maybe is there some third possibility that exists outside of this binary? I was inspired to do this because a video popped up on social media by Graeson Mcgaha. Hopefully I'm saying that name correctly. I'm not familiar with him. This popped up. And I thought, well, this is a very interesting topic, as it relates to the job market to corporate America to work as well as generational clickbait because we so often see, nobody wants to work anymore. All of Gen Z is lazy. All of the millennials are lazy. Nobody wants to do anything except the boomers. Gen X, we frequently are completely forgotten. Excuse me, out of this entire dialogue, which is fine with me. I don't really want to get into generational clickbait anyway, so they can forget about us, it's fine. But are these things true? Is it that hard work has vanished? Is it that the reward for hard work has vanished? Or maybe are these things, ideas that never really existed before anyway, I'm going to read the text of this video that Grayson records because I feel like he does a good job of explaining his position. So I will do that first. And then I will come back and have my analysis. I can't pay my bills off of work ethic, like no company is going to take a check for me that says 100% Paid in full off of work ethic hard work is not rewarded in this country. It is exploited. Let me explain. I was having a conversation today about work ethic hard work and how work ethic seems to be gone. And the question that came was Well, where did it go? And I don't think work ethic is gone. I think the reward for the ethic is gone. The conversation came to have you ever been passed over for a promotion? Because you're too good at what you do. You take too much pride in what you do. You excel at it. And because nobody else will do it the way you do it, they can't afford to lose you in that position. There's a lot of people out there that talk about toxic leadership, but then a lot of companies out there won't promote their people. You've got more experience in this position, and the company wouldn't get as much product out if you weren't running this piece of equipment. That's not a me problem. Is it though? Me being good at my job, but getting zero progression because I'm good at my job. That doesn't make me want to be good at my job anymore, does it? I've had a manager and a supervisor tell me that I should take pride in the fact that I haven't been promoted because I'm good at what I do. And it means they can't afford to lose me in quote. There's a book I read years ago called The way we never were by Stephanie Coontz. It came out back in the 90s. And I think, I think I may have actually read it in a college class that I took on sociology. But it pokes holes in this sort of false nostalgia of the 1950s. Americana, that everybody had it good. ever there were there was a very traditional, well defined roles for gender and marriage and family life. And there was just this beautiful golden age of domesticity. There wasn't poverty, there wasn't suffering. It was like everything was really great in the 1950s. And then it all went to hell afterwards. And she pokes holes in that theory. And I couldn't help but thinking of that book, as I was listening to this video on social media, and then also thinking about Larry wing gets book, it's called work for a reason. I'm on the 28th page of the paperback copy of that book. Let me go back and see what year this was. I mean, it's copyrighted from 2007. But he has this heading titled The work ethic of our parents. In this he writes, What happened to the work ethic of our parents, they work because they had jobs to do and because they took their commitments and their obligations seriously, they have been raised to believe that your word is your bond, and that when you tell someone you will work, you work with no argument. If someone hurts your feelings, oh, well, that's part of the job. If someone makes you mad again, that's just part of the job. If you get hurt, oh, well, at least you have a job. If you work with idiots to deal with it. If your boss is an asshole put up with it. He's the boss. My dad worked at Sears for 47 years. He started when he was 17 and got two years off to fight in World War Two. He rarely missed work even when he was sick. He didn't always love it he worked with for and around idiots every day. Although I almost never heard him complain. He worked hard every day coming home bone tired. At the end of the day, he worked in the warehouse for more than 20 years. And then after a washing machine fell on him, he was transferred inside the store to sell sporting goods. By the way, he didn't sue anyone when he got hurt on the job. He went to the hospital got better and went back to work. No hard feelings stuff happens 47 years with one company that's more than 17,000 days of showing up and I will guarantee you that not one of those days did you ever think about whether he was going to have a happy day When he got there. He never once thought of motivation and attitude and his rights. His only motivation was to do the job he had been paid to do, why he had obligations. He had a family to take care of and bills to pay. Some of those I'm sure were medical bills, God. But even more than that he had made a deal with Sears when he was 17 years old. You pay me and I'll work for you. Period. Not a complicated agreement. But when he believed in he had personal integrity, and he had made a commitment, he was proud of his job in many people's eyes. It was a menial job. They give that job to idiots today, don't believe me go into any major department store and prove it to yourself. But my dad took it seriously. He was on time he worked hard. While he was there. He gave good service because that was part of the job. And he did what he was told to do. Why? Because like it or not happy you're not motivated or not A deal is a deal. They paid he worked. But Larry, we've come a long way since then. You are right. We have come a long way. And in many cases, we have come too far. I am all for protecting people's rights. But damn, haven't we gone too far in favor of the employees. Right? Doesn't the company have rights to and quote? Well, I mean, I think we can kind of tell what side of the fence he's standing on there. And there are a plethora of reasons why I dislike this book, not the least of which is acting like if a washing machine falls on you. You don't sue anybody, you don't expect the company to take care of you. You just go to the hospital and suck it up because hey, shit happens. Yeah, we have come a long way. And wow, thank God for that. But I I'm thinking of that book the way we never were because I feel like part of this falls into some false nostalgia of the past. And I have a soft spot for that passage in particular, because my grandmother worked for Sears Roebuck for years for decades. Should we really be telling people that our mother's father's grandparents, maybe for some of you great grandparents worked in that way. And so that's what we should all be doing now. Me First of all, is it true that everybody worked in that way? I don't think so.


But should we should we go back to that where the employer knows best mean to me? You know, if I was sitting here giving a book review of that, it's like corporate bootlicking. Yeah, the employee has some rights. But damn, shouldn't we go back to the employer having more rights, they're the one giving you the money. That's all a lot of these Neo cons feel about it. They lick the boots of corporate America, I pick on Neo libs a lot because they lick the boots of the state. And for the life of me, I cannot figure out why. But it's just as bad with neo-cons because they want to lick the boots of corporate America. As though your employer really has your best interest at heart as though it shouldn't matter that if you get hurt on the job, you should just go to the hospital and suck it up. In one of the deals I was watching about the JFK pop pop on the 60th anniversary, they were talking about this guy that there was there's this dude that had a seizure in the street. But we're not really sure. Did he have a seizure? Was this part of a play act? We don't know. That's one of the conspiracy theories around the Pop Pop. Did this person cause a distraction on purpose? Or was it legitimate? But somebody had said that he went to the hospital by ambulance, but he never checked into the hospital. And his bill for going on an emergency ride in an ambulance was like $12 thought My God now it'd be like 12,000. And that's even if that's all you did, you didn't check into the hospital, you refuse care. They just rode you in the ambulance for a couple of blocks and dropped you off at the emergency room, it would probably be 12 grand. So it's like, okay, but you know, somebody saying I'm not going to sue over $5 is a hell of a lot different than somebody saying I have $50,000 or $150,000 in medical bills. And it all happened because I got hurt in unsafe conditions on the job. I mean, is this the work ethic that we're supposed to all be going back to? And if you don't have that same kind of work ethic, you're just a putz. I don't get it. No thank you as a Gen X er, I believe I will declined to go back to working that way. But I went out on my own. I mean, I could sit here and say the same thing, well, the employer ought to have all of the rights, the employer ought to be able to do whatever they want. I just don't see it that way. If we, if we want to make the argument that there's good and there's take, this should be a two way street, this should be a two sided relationship that I get, because it should be in a perfect world, which we don't live in. But in a perfect world, it would be evenly matched, nobody would really have power over the other one, it would just be a matter of like, what Larry's talking about a handshake is a handshake, your word is your bond, we made this deal. You pay me and I show up, you stop paying me I stopped showing up. And it doesn't have to be any more complicated than that. In a perfect world. Maybe maybe things would work that way. But we're not in a perfect world. And I agree with with what's being said on social media about it's called exploitation. Because it seems like with corporate America, if you if you give an inch to them, they want to take a mile. Could you say the same thing on the other side of the table? Yes, you could. When we start thinking about people who took quiet, quitting to an extreme, instead of just saying, I'm going to do my job, I'm not going to come in early and I'm not going to stay late. I'm going to come in and from eight to five, I'm going to work hard and do my job. There were people who took it too. I'm not doing jack shit. I want to sit here and get paid to do nothing. I want to get a mouse jiggler and brag on social media about how I'm doing nothing so that I ruin work from home for everybody else. And all I'm doing is playing into the hands of the corporate puppet masters that want to bring everybody back to the cube farm anyway. There is bad behavior on both sides of this equation. I've blogged about it before I've podcasted about it before. Remember the episode y'all throwing gas on an open fire? Some of these people it's like they cannot help themselves. They do not want to have any privacy at all. They want to go online and brag about whatever bullshit they're doing and how slick they think they are. Are some of these people bots, trolls paid shills, probably they probably are. I'm to the point. Now my mind is like a scrambled egg. Man. I'm all the time seeing double blinds and triple blinds and just thinking like this, this could just be propaganda. Because I feel like we're in an era that's rife with propaganda, that so much of what you get is this manipulation. The algorithms on all of these social media platforms know exactly what to show you exactly what to tell you to elicit a particular response. It's not done on accident. So before I returned to Grayson's video, specifically, do I think that there was some utopia? Do I think that there was some golden age where everybody lucked out? Everybody got to retire with a pension and a gold watch? As long as they worked hard? The company would treat them well, the company would do right by them. And there wouldn't be any exploitation? No, I don't think that that ever existed. There were some people, yes, some people who worked hard and then got the pension and the gold watch and they were treated well, that doesn't mean everybody had that same arrangement. I've talked before. And I've dropped articles before about how this notion of a full retirement is relatively new in American history. Because once you get back to like, generationally, for me, maybe the great grandparents, definitely the great, great grandparents and back people worked until they dropped dead. I mean, sort of like, what what Golden Age is it that you're wanting to go back to here when grandpa killed over in the in the farm field, because he just couldn't do it anymore. I mean, I think people need to get a little bit real about some of this false nostalgia for the past. So Grayson makes a really good point in this video. And it's a point that I have made before as well. You cannot pay your bills on hopes and dreams, corporate perks, a slide in the office, a jelly of the Month Club, employee engagement surveys, et cetera. And there was a company that I did a brief stint for they came in as a warm referral. And one of the things I want to say here is always vet your prospects. People think that a warm referral a warm lead, that's gold, not always, no it isn't. You need to vet a warm referral, just as thoroughly as you would vet somebody that's coming into your sales funnel totally cold and you know nothing about them. This particular company was stuck in a rut. Supposedly they wanted to get out of that rut. But in reality, no they didn't. They wanted somebody to perform signs, wonders and miracles for them. They were paying


a solid depending upon position, it was a solid 20 to 40% below market value. But they were convinced that they needed to poach somebody from a competitor company. Now, how in the hell are you going to do that? When competitor companies are paying 20 to 40%, more than you are? Well, in their mind, the perks, the benefits, the fun, I can't tell you how many times they told me Well, we always get good marks on our employee engagement surveys, people really like it here. They liked the culture. So that should carry a lot of weight. And I tried, God helped me God bless me, I tried to explain to them, we're in an inflationary cycle. Okay. We're in it. We're in an economic recession, quite potentially a silent depression. If we're all honest with each other, nobody gives a rat's patootie about your perks and your employee engagement surveys. First of all, most people are not even honest on those things. And secondly, can't nobody pay their bills with your damn assing employee employee engagement surveys, the mortgage company's not going to take that the light bill, the water bill, these peoples are gonna be taken your employee engagement surveys, pardon the dryer, I mean, get real. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too. They wanted to stay hung up on this idea that what they had to offer was just so good that they shouldn't have to offer fair compensation. And it's like, well, you need to get into the real world. I was glad that we were able to just sort of amiably part ways, and I can move on because that was that was just a joke. And that was a project that wasn't going to go anywhere there was going to be no lift off. So when Grayson is talking about how he he's not going to be able to pay his bills based off of work ethic. No, no company, no, no, Bill payer is going to accept a check that says, well just accept my hard work, just accept my work ethic. That's completely true. When he talks about exploitation, this is something else that makes my ears perk up because I recorded an episode about, in my opinion, these people who are hired to be the hype man of the company, court jester to get everybody pumped up, everybody's used up and ready to be on a team's call or whatever. Those people are being exploited. In my opinion, it's it's not bringing vibes it's bringing exploitation. And companies would do well to ask the question, why do we need that? Why is our environment so bad that we need to hire a clown? We need to hire a Hypebeast to try to elevate the vibes? Why are the vibes in the gutter anyway? I would say the same thing in this scenario as well. Like if the company is exploiting its hard workers, they need to take a good internal Look at that. And I don't give a shit what Larry Winget says about employee versus employer, right. So if you're having trouble with employee retention, you have to look inward, you absolutely have to evaluate yourself first. That's like somebody that has no friends. It's like, well, everybody else in the world, all 8 billion people on this planet are assholes. I'm great. Well, I mean, I tend to agree with Dennis Miller. I heard a stand up routine one time where he's like, I think the current asshole rate in America somewhere around 33, maybe 38%. I tend to agree with that. So it's like out of the two thirds of people that are pretty all right, pretty cash money that you can sit and have a decent conversation with. You know, if you're not able to do that, you have to take a look at what's going on with you. Why are you not able to make friends? As the saying are the proverb goes in order to have friends, you have to be a friend first. Do companies exploit hard work? And was there ever a time when hard work was really rewarded? I push back against this false nostalgia, that there was some golden era. There was some time where as long as you worked hard, all of your dreams would come true. I just don't think that's the case. Let's think back for a moment to Upton Sinclair's book the jungle. It's a fictional novel that's based on real conditions. We go to Wikipedia for a quick summary we find the jungle is a fictional novel by American muckraker author Upton Sinclair, known for his efforts to expose corruption in government and business in the early 20th century. In 1904, Sinclair spent seven weeks gathering information while working incognito in the meatpacking plants of the Chicago stockyards for the socialist newspaper appeal to reason, which published the novel in serial form in 1905. The novel was later published in book format by Doubleday in 1906. The book depicts where Working Class poverty, lack of social supports harsh and unpleasant living and working conditions and hopelessness among many workers. These elements are contrasted with the deeply rooted corruption of people in power. A review by Sinclair's contemporary writer Jack London called it Uncle Tom's Cabin of wage slavery. Sinclair's primary purpose in describing the meat industry and its working conditions was to advance socialism in the United States. However, the novel's most notable impact at the time was to promote public outcry over passages exposing health violations and unsanitary practices in the American meatpacking industry during the early 20th century, which led to sanitation reforms, including the Meat Inspection Act and quote. Now, some neocon without a doubt will be like, Yeah, but that was a long time ago, he spent seven weeks researching the book in 1904. That's been over 100 years ago, things are just so much better now. Really. So on February 20, of this year, 2023, we read company hired over 100 Children as young as 13. To clean meat processing plants Department of Labor says more than 100 children as young as 13 years old, clean, dangerous meat processing equipment using hazardous chemicals for a sanitation company contracted by major meat and poultry producer producers. The US Department of Labor announced Friday. Some underage employees also worked overnight shifts, and at least three sustained injuries on the job, the Labor Department said, Wow. But yeah, things are so much better. Now. I mean, employees have all these rights, don't you think employers don't have some rights to I mean, shit, man. It's not an even exchange. I feel like Grayson's use of the term exploitation is a pretty damn good choice of words, because it's not a fair exchange. Think about like the sexual harassment laws, the boss walks up to an employee and says you're going to do this activity for me, or I will fire you. There's an imbalance of power there. It's difficult to be able to give or not give real consent, because of the balance of power. Same thing with professor and student, there are just certain things you're not supposed to do. Because you're intimidating, you're forcing the other person to go along with it. It's not two peers, a boy and a girl meet each other and decide they want to go out on a date is a completely different situation from a boss demanding sexual contact from an employee. We have laws against these things for a reason. So for me, I come back to more of a middle path. Do I think that there was some utopian time where hard work was really rewarded? And it wasn't totally exploited by corporate America? No, no, I don't. I do not. Do I think that nobody wants to work hard anymore, and that the younger generations just have no work ethic at all? No, I don't think that either. I think that in any generation, you will have people that are just lazy people that they put a lot of their time and energy into figuring out how to run scams, how to how to get away with something, how to feel like they're pulling the wool over somebody else's eyes. In any generation, you're going to have some people who are like that, and then conversely, you'll have people that say, I want to roll up my sleeves and get something done. This is just human nature. It's just how people are. So I don't think it's fair to turn it into generational clickbait. I feel like people are more savvy now than they were in the past. I feel like that's that's what a lot of this pushback I think comes down to is that people talk. There's more dissemination of information. It's easier for for the young folks to look at what's happened to parents and grandparents and to say, I'm not going to sell my soul to accompany. There's no golden parachute coming for me. I mean, as an extra, it didn't take me long to figure that out at all. I was a young adult when all of that mess blew up with Enron. And there were people crying on television about how their pension was gone. And they were planning to retire now they can't they're gonna have to work till they drop dead. I just thought well, Damn, that ain't gonna be me. No way. I will work until I dropped dead. I better have billable hours the day I conk out and somebody in the family better make sure that client pays. But now that's my choice. That is my choice. I have decided not to believe in some fallacy that Big Brother government is going to take care of me and Social Security will be here. I don't want to be on a fixed income and be dependent on them. Hell if and no. I don't trust those bastards as far as I can throw them just like I don't trust corporate America as far as like throw it either. They're all in bed with each other. It's all just a crony capitalist Viper nest of people. I'm trying to think of a polite way to put it If you get what I'm saying they all Scratch one another's backs. How about that?


Is hard work no longer rewarded? I think it depends on the company that you're at. I have been in the exact situation that Grayson talks about where your point blank told, we're not going to promote you because we need you to badly in the role that you're in. And when I ultimately left that company, they hired four people to replace me. That's how many damn jobs I was doing for those people. Now, you would think that they would have done whatever it took to keep me and keep me happy. But they didn't they let me go and just hired the when I resigned, they didn't let me go. And in terms of firing me when I resigned, they let me go. They didn't, they didn't make any big effort to try to keep me. And by the time they did make a counteroffer, after I had gone somewhere else, it was too late. I'm like, No, man, no, but you have fun with those four people you hired to replace me, you could have paid me more, you could have given me a promotion, but you decided not to, it does take the wind out of your sails to be punished for doing too good of a job to be told you're too intrical to the operation here, you need to stay here and be a cog in this machine, we're not going to give you the opportunity to move up and to be a cog in a bigger machine and to get paid better for it. That's super frustrating. And companies who behave in that way lose their talent, and they do it a lot faster now than what would have happened 3040 years ago, what would have happened 5060 years ago, I think because people just weren't as savvy. They didn't know about as many of the games and the tricks that get played on them by corporate America, it was easier for them to be compliant. I think now you have the cronies cultivating compliance and other ways. Whether that's trust the don't ask what's in this stabbing just do it. Just do it. Don't Don't contemplate why small businesses are non essential. But big huge global conglomerates are essential. You just keep your boat at home and you wash your groceries and you spray disinfectant on everything or raw we're all going to die. I mean, they they figured out other ways of making people compliant and making them not want to question anything. This is another gift that we get from the the pop pop the whole notion of a conspiracy theorist, if you don't believe the official narrative, if you don't believe what the authorities and the officials tell you, you're just a wingnut, a conspiracy theorist, a cuckoo bird. So they have other ways of making sure that people stay compliant and stay passive. This is another reason I think why social media exists to keep people mollified to keep people quiet. We live in like this lobotomized population now where if you try to warn somebody, Hey, you're being exploited. Hey, here's what's going on. Here's the truth of the matter. You're trapped. We're in feudalism. 2.0 They don't want to hear it. They're more focused on who is Taylor Swift dating? What's going on with my sports team, which I like I like football too. I don't mind having some bread and circus. I just tried to interrupt my bread and circus with some reality. But who's Taylor Swift dating what's going on with my football team? I care more about what's on tick tock, what's the latest celebrity gossip? And you tried to get into anything substantive and they just turn off? They don't want to hear it is hard work debt? No, it isn't, is the reward for hard work debt? Maybe depends on the company that you're at. Was there some utopian place in the past where hard work was rewarded and everything was fair and just and good? And there was no exploitation? No, not only no one that that hell no. Stay safe, stay sane, and I will see you in the next episode.


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