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Entitlement and Success on the Job
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 07/27/2015

Ethics a At a recent luncheon, a discussion came about how American values have eroded and why there is so much emphasis placed on “entitlement” programs and services. Truth be told, I couldn’t have agreed more with my friend who seemed to be in touch with this problem and addressed it in a very appropriate way. Basically, she said that entitlement is a crisis in our country, there are too many people out of shape and overweight but they keep on eating and not changing anything about their lifestyle.

She’s right, there is an obesity crisis in our country and everybody wants to be skinny but nobody wants to go to the gym and work out or change their eating habits. Nobody wants to work hard for their individual goals to improve their health and everybody likes things to be easy without complications. To sum up our conversation, it appears that we both agreed everyone wants so many things in life, but very few are willing to work hard to achieve them.

One has to ask, what is wrong with this picture? Why are we feeling like life owes us something without working hard for it? Where is the human mind going and how is disconnect between this perception and the reality working? How did we get there and how do we end this cultural misconception? Is there a way to accomplish something important without working hard for it? I doubt it, but many seem to be convinced and believe it can happen.

We used to have this tool called empowerment. This act is designed to enable and permit others to act on your behalf or give you authority. It was to say that if you wanted something important in life, you had to work for it and earn it. Today, people are misunderstanding empowerment for entitlement and that is causing an entirely different result in the workplace.

Life and work is about setting goals – goals that require planning and hard work to be successful. Planning is the easy part, working hard is the challenge we face once we take that path to success and personal achievements. Setting goals requires structured energy and power, it requires you to do certain things you may not want to do but are required for you in order to meet that goal.

How many times have you heard someone say, “Nothing worth achieving is ever easy. It always takes smarts, guts, hard work, and perseverance.” Being successful and building a successful foundation is never easy. Once on this journey, there will be many obstacles and barriers to overcome and in the long run, it could get even harder.

The bottom line is if you want to be successful, if you want to have those things you desire in your life or your job, you should think about the work entailed and not expect any doors to open without you providing the right opportunities to create those doors. Nobody is saying you can’t be picky, in fact, it is encouraged you pick and choose what is best for your plan and not others. However, sometimes, you simply can’t avoid being challenged with difficult matters and how you overcome them is your measurement of success.

Don’t try to find shortcuts to your destination. Avoiding work can result in your own demise when the time comes to evaluate your worth and work values. In a most natural manner, these attitudes of short changing yourself rubs off on others. Finding shortcuts can leave an impression that may cause people to avoid promoting you and profiles of being negative and causing poor performance results. Be flexible, be courteous, be cooperative and most of all, be interested in how to better yourself for the long run. The sooner you learn to be flexible, to adapt, and to deal with all kinds of people, the better things will turn out for you.

Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

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