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Beginning A New School Year

August 26, 2013 - Jane Whitmore
The summer just flew by and now it’s back to the classroom for students all over Iowa. Along with school registration, parents are purchasing new “everything” -- from notebooks to backpacks, clothing and computers. In my mind, nothing compares to the smell of a new box of crayons. Getting students off on the right foot at the beginning of the new year is imperative. As they tackle new academic challenges, students should establish good work and study habits and daily routines. You learn something every day -- if you pay attention. We have lived by that sentiment, and we do learn something every day. Sometimes we learn a new fact, other times we learn how to perform a new task, and, perhaps most special, we meet a new friend. We all work hard and we all play hard. Our work ethic comes from what we learn at home and what we learn and how we perform at school and in the workplace. The “Iowa work ethic” is known nation wide. Many states recruit teachers, nurses and other professions from Iowa because of their work ethic. It was surprising to me to read an article that says a survey exposed new college graduates’ lack of work ethic. This came from Designed Learning:?“Some may say the American work ethic has never been so low. In the last decade, the shift from ‘disciplined’ to ‘entitled’ is apparent to many managers.” They conducted a survey of 2500 human resource professionals, asking participants to evaluate the performance of today’s college graduates compared to college graduates ten years ago. The news release reads, “The survey, titled ‘The New New-Hire’, reflects the changing attitudes and work ethics of Millenniums. For example, today’s college graduates are placing more importance on work life/personal life balance than workers were ten years ago. With this in mind, many skills possessed by yesterday’s college graduates are lacking in today’s new hires. “The survey revealed that 61 percent of HR?professionals believe today’s grads are unprepared for the workplace. According to respondents, compared to ten years ago, young people are also under prepared for the workplace and less accountable for their work.” Here are some facts that surprised me: Respondents to the survey said today’s college graduates are: - Entitled and expecting to walk into leadership - Less socially tactful, flexible in face-to-face interactions - Less tolerant of cultural norms, less likely to make long-term investment in one company - Focused on flexible work schedules/perks - Less willing to adapt to a company culture, individualism reigns Also -- many human resource professionals warn management to avoid underestimating the expertise of their Millenniums. 45 percent of survey respondents say today’s college graduates are better collaborators and team builders. Today’s college graduates are, also: - More likely to take risk in order to get into leadership roles - Not prepared for the workplace as it exists, but more prepared for what it is becoming - Better able to use social media for business relationships - More likely to be satisfied with a career involving numerous employers Here’s the bottom line, “What this says about accountability,” states Bill Brewer, Designed Learning’s director of client relations, “is that when training new college graduates, improving accountability and stewardship to the greater organization has the utmost importance. Retention efforts should shift from coercion to creating a willingness to serve.” With that, we have once again learned something new today. Our work ethic is shifting -- and in some ways for the better. What does not change is, it all begins at home. We set the tone and our children will learn.


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