(This post purely represents my personal views and not that of my employer)
Tonight, I watched my 7-year old daughter's beloved T-Ball Red Sox lose their semi-final playoff game for the first time in a few years. Last year, they lost in the Village championship and received some very nice silver trophies. An award well-earned. Tonight, they lost and the coaches busted out the trophies. Albeit, they are more of a bobblehead trophy, but nonetheless, a trophy. For losing.
Putting my daughter to bed tonight, she showed some signs of disappointment and tears because they lost. She understood the gravity of the game (in t-ball) and what it meant to win. While she likes the bobblehead, I know she doesn't think it represents anything. She didn't win. I never like to see my daughter cry, but I must say there was a part of me that was proud of her for recognizing that her team didn't deserve a trophy.
It got me thinking about the age of entitlement that I believe we are living in with our younger workforce (not everyone, but still a pervasive issue.) It has me thinking if the 'raise after 6-months for doing your job' set is borne from the 'trophy for everyone and nobody is a captain on this team' generation that we've bestowed upon generation y and worse, millenials. Some of the younger generations think that for just doing their job, the company owes them something more.
The fact is in the age of 10% unemployment, it takes going above and beyond in today's competitive world to win, whether at the corporate or individual level. Just showing up for work, punching a clock, doing what is asked of us and doing it well is not enough. It certainly isn't enough to ask a capitalist, for-profit enterprise for more. Go above and beyond and do it with respect, integrity and a positive attitude. Believe me, the people that you work for recognize extra-effort, but most importantly a positive atttitude which will be rewarded. And, if it isn't, leave. You are accountable for your life, your career and your actions, nobody else.
In the real-world, not everyone gets a trophy. In fact, the opposite is very true. The people that lose, that don't put in the extra-effort and expect the world to reward them because they went to college, showed up for work on time and did the work they were compensated for, are the ones that never make it to their desired levels. They are the ones that are always blaming somebody else for 'being kept down.'
So, hopefully we as adults can teach our children that even though somebody, somewhere thought it was a good idea to give the losers trophies, that isn't why we play the game. We play the game for personal pride, for achievement and for satisfaction that we were/are part of something bigger than ourselves. A team.