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community status and opportunity. When other countries act on the
American dream and we don't, it's inevitable that new economies will
outwork and outperform us and that the grand dream we have of an
exceptional America will fade away.
Personal responsibility is not something one can legislate for; the
common dialogue needs to reinforce notions of hard work, social
engagement, and self-direction. Without those worker attributes, you
can't build a strong labor market, regardless of how well workers are
treated. We have a great deal of work ahead of us to change the
dialogue from entitlement to hard work and self-direction, but the
time has come for us to recognize that we're producing generations of
people who, if we were less kind, would be called slackers. Since we
are kind, we believe that American families need to stop treating chil-
dren as eternal adolescents and welcome them to the world as many
of us were welcomed: with the recognition that if we don't develop
the skills to make it in this world, no one will do it for us.
The society's regard for men is somewhat equivalent to the way
women were and, in many cases, continue to be treated. Men aren't
doing well, and as they become less and less important to the work-
place, the decline we see in men seeking new skills and their retreat
from higher education will continue to have a troubling impact on
American society. Just as we recognized the needs of women through
educational opportunities and affirmative action, we need to do the
same for men, particularly minority men who fare very badly in
today's America.
The idea that people can and will do the same job for most of their
working lifetime is a complete misunderstanding of how people function.
We urge employers to offer every opportunity for people to frequently
change their work functions and to move up the ladder as fast and as far
as their skills allow. In this fast-paced world, boredom often sets in
quickly, and managers should understand that changing assignments from
time to time is the best way to reduce burnout.
We think that the competency-based management model we offer in
Chapter 8 will go a long way toward strengthening a workplace that
continues to use the carrot and the stick in its treatment of workers.
We also believe that employee assistance programs (EAPs) focused on
employees' needs are necessary, when burnout, job unhappiness, and
problems in a worker's personal life intrude. Providing mental health
for workers recognizes
just as
the body wears out
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