DEAR ABBY: I understand the frustration of "Takes My Job Seriously" (June 1), the supervisor who complained about her female employees requesting time off for kids' school and sports events or beauty appointments. Over the last few years I have noticed a decline in work ethic across the board.
Phone calls go unreturned, workers stand around idle and errors are made on important forms. People seem to do the minimum necessary to make it to the end of the day, and supervisors aren't much different -- they allow this behavior. Years ago, people worked hard for their money. Now they hardly work. -- GETTING THE JOB DONE
DEAR GETTING: Your letter was one of many I received filled with interesting -- and varied -- comments on this topic. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I am the owner of a recruiting company, and I agree with the writer's views on the quality of today's work force. I hear from many frustrated clients seeking employees who actually want to work for their paycheck. We have turned into an entitlement society. No one wants to take responsibility for his/her work or life any longer. And they expect big-time money for no responsibility. -- VALERIE IN GEORGIA
DEAR ABBY: "TMJS" fails to take into consideration the evolution of the work force. Not only are there more women working now, but we usually work far beyond the regular 9-to-5 grind. As a single mom, I need flexibility in my schedule to get everything done that's demanded of me at work and at home. I take my laptop home every night and work after my son goes to sleep.
"TMJS" may feel superior because I'm not in the office as much as she is, but I'll bet I work more hours per week. Technology now allows us the flexibility of choice. -- BONNIE C.
DEAR ABBY: I supervise several younger women. Studies have shown that while these employees want to do a good job, they find it equally important to have "work/life" balance. I actually think they are smarter than we are. We tend to overwork and feel guilty if we take a day for ourselves. If they take the time they have earned and use it for what they enjoy -- good for them. -- WORKAHOLIC IN FORT COLLINS
DEAR ABBY: "TMJS" should update her management training. While we mourn the loss of the way things were, there have been positive changes as well. Understanding diversity in the workplace is imperative for a successful manager. My 20-year-old would be shocked at the concept of staying in one job for 45 years -- but that was the norm in my dad's day. In this global economy, "different" does not equal "bad." -- PATTY IN LANCASTER, PA.
DEAR ABBY: "TMJS" must have entered the work force when companies still took care of loyal, longtime employees by providing good benefits and job security. It paid to go the extra mile for your employer because you knew your company would return the favor when needed.
In recent years this has changed. Workers today realize that sacrificing their personal life for their professional one does not necessarily reap any benefits. The so-called breakdown of the family unit may be the result of workers dedicating themselves more to their jobs than to their home lives. -- FAMILY FIRST IN TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: I supervise young, highly paid federal employees and expect them to work hard for the money taxpayers pay them. They seem to think their personal problems should be mine. I disagree. A job is a privilege too many people fail to appreciate until it's gone. -- SERIOUS, TOO, IN THE SOUTHWEST
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)