Friday, January 14, 2011

Today's incentives for a job well done

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a fellow Marine staff NCO about "incentives" for a job well done. He and I joined the Marine Corps around the same time, and we both agreed our incentive to do a good job was little more than the boss giving us a pat on the back. We didn't then, nor do we now, have award or trinket fixation when doing our job.

It's sad that the same cannot be said for what seems like the vast majority of today's youth (wow do I feel old saying that). Nowadays, just to get someone to do their job to a basic level, there has to be some kind of tangible incentive in it for them over and above their base pay and benefits.

This is a completely foreign concept to me. To what does it speak though? Does it speak to how parents raise their children? Or does it speak to the influence TV has on how children are raised?

If this shift has occurred in less than 15 years, I'm honestly worried about the shift over the next 15 years.



  1. Great topic, Greg. I think it has to do with society as a whole. Think about when you played sports as a youth. If you lost, you didn't get a trophy. Now, everybody gets a trophy and everybody plays. There's no adversity for the children of today. If you weren't good enough to play, you had to work hard to get better. Sadly, that's not the case anymore. I think this carries over to the adult lives of those who were raised in that type of community. My thoughts would be that if they aren't performing at the most basic level remedial training seems to be in order. I don't know if there is a way to nail down a definite solution to this dilemma. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator would show what kind of rewards people want for extra work. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of those Gen-Xers and the Gen-Ys now. I'm sure we could see a shift in the type of reward wanted, basically, due to the way society has shifted.

  2. Thank you for your thoughts Cody! I think you nailed it right on the head!

    In today's world, "mainstream parents" spend so much time and effort trying to make their children feel as though there are no winners or losers, that as long as the child tries, they are a "winner".

    I completely agree with you that when children are raised with that mentality, they carry it into their adult lives.

    The simple fact of the matter is there always have been winners and losers, and there will always be winners and losers. I believe the children who grow up embracing that sentiment will perform better in life and be better adapted than those who grow up thinking everyone who plays the game is the same.

    In the Marine Corps, everything is a competition. From the day a recruit steps onto the yellow footprints until their last breath, a Marine embraces competition as yet another way to prove they are better than someone else at something. Whether it's in an office or on a battlefield, Marines compete against each other constantly, and in the end, the Marine Corps is better for it. That competition pushes each Marine to maintain a high level proficiency and staves off apathy.

    Remove the competition, and apathy quickly sets in. I fear this is exactly what's happened to our youth ... competition has been removed, and apathy has set in.


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