James Cagle

James Cagle

Peter J. McGuire in 1882 proposed the celebration of a “Labor Day.” By 1894, it had been adopted by 31 states, and Congress made it a national holiday that same year.

Contrary to what many people think, work isn’t bad for you, it’s the handouts that destroy one’s incentive to work that’s bad.

God gave Adam work before the fall, so work is not a result of sin and its curse. There are two things God made with His hands. He made Adam and He planted a garden (Genesis 2:8). And putting Adam to work tilling and dressing the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15) was very good, like everything else God did. God gave Adam plenty to eat in the garden but He was not going to let him be a freeloader. God gave Adam a task and responsibility because such things are necessary for our development.

I read a column written by Dale McFeatters titled, “France, a relaxed approach to work.” Dale wrote the response of Maurice Taylor, the U.S. Head of Titan International Inc., when he was approached by Arnaud Montebourg, the French minister of industry, to take over a Goodyear Plant in France that had begun shutting down. Maurice Taylor’s response was “How stupid do you think we are? The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three.” The response that the French union made to Taylor’s comment was “That’s the French way.”

My first thought when I read this, was that the French way is also quickly becoming the American way. One of the biggest problems that the business person in America faces is finding good hard-working employees, who are loyal and will give a day’s work for a day’s pay. It’s very hard to find employees who have the slightest inkling of what “work ethics” and “work culture” are. So let me tell you. 

“Work ethics” are the standards set at a place of employment that are followed by the employees, such as punctuality, taking breaks only at break times, taking care of company business when on company time, job safety, and each employee striving to do their part to meet or exceed the company’s goals; it’s a spirit of professionalism. When these and other standards are in place and adhered to a work environment is created that’s called a “work culture” that’s conducive for a company’s success. Every business without doubt, has a “work culture” good or bad, that’s created by the employees “work ethics.” Work ethics are first taught at home by giving young people responsibilities and then seeing that they are carried out in the way described.

And showing up for work does not mean showing up at one’s place of employment and then seeing how much money they can make doing nothing. The employer wants to see what the employee can do personally by their industriousness to help their vision of success become a reality. That will be hard to do if one hand is used to hold up ones pants and the other hand is used for holding up a cell phone. Those who think being cool is more important than being employed aren’t ready for work.

I just recently retired. Not because of bad health or any personal issues. My main reason for retiring was the bad work ethic young people bring to the work place. I got tired of working with people who didn’t want to work.

“A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune.” — Whately

James H. Cagle lives in Ray City, Ga., and is a former Hamilton County resident.

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