Tag Archives: Colleges

What’s the End Game?

Ship with Man FREE

   Why do we do what we do? What is our “why” for the pursuit of whatever visions and dreams we have? Why are we pursuing that education or career or business or book deal or art show or ministry or—fill in the blank?

   What’s the end game?

   Why are we spending our time—our days, our weeks, our years, our entire lives—pursuing that goal? Because spending them we are.

   Is our motivation self-fulfillment? Are we chasing the dream to satisfy our creative selves or simply because we love to do that “thing” —whatever it is? Or is it to escape the grind of working in some job that we hate just to pay the bills? It could be a combination of any of those—and worthy causes all. But then we have to ask ourselves what it is about that particular goal that is so attractive. And how long will it keep us entertained?  

   Is it money we’re pursuing? If so, why? Here’s a news flash: money, as an end, is not a horrible thing— although some might automatically default there. It truly depends on why we’re pursuing it. Is it to pay those bills or to save for retirement or college or to leave to our children? Or is it for a bigger home, a longer vacation, designer clothes? Is it to do the Bill and Belinda Gates thing: give vast amounts of it away? Is it to fund feeding programs for hungry people or to dig wells in bone-dry Africa or to help others struggling with medical bills or with no hope of ever going to college or trade school? Is it to provide jobs for the so many who would love to have one but don’t? Or is it just because we’re “supposed to”?

   Why are we tracking the cash?

   Is our goal to become well-known, respected—even famous? Not necessarily evil either. Again, it depends. Is it so that we can “be the boss”? Is it so that we’re invited to join the country club or some other highly-visible organization? Is it to become known in our communities or states or the nation or even the world simply for the sake or being known? Is it so that everyone—outside of Cheers—will know our name? Or is it so that we’ll have a platform of some kind in order to bring recognition or money to a problem that needs to be confronted or to a worthy cause that needs funding?

   Why are we big-fame hunting?

   Perhaps our motivation is to find meaning in life. Are we spending our lives doing whatever it is we’re doing so that we’ll finally feel “happy”? If so, what does that look like? Will we find it when we hit the pinnacle of our careers and achieve industry fame? Is it the Nobel Peace prize or the prize for literature or science or medicine? Or is it a particular number registered in the savings account? What number? Is it a killing on the stock market and if so, how much of a killing? Is it being able to buy anything our hearts desire without the blinking of an eye? Is it molding the clay day after day or fingers to the keyboard into old age? Is it starting a tiny business and seeing it grow from one employee to 50? to 100? to 1000? Is it touring world-wide and playing in concert venues to thousands, every CD going platinum? Is it getting married or having children or grandchildren? Is it becoming a mayor or governor or senator or even President of the United States?

   Is it possible for any of those things to bring happiness in and of themselves?


   If the answer is no, does that mean that any of those things are bad things?


   Fulfillment in life, purpose and destiny happens only one way: by seeking God first and then by pursuing the destiny that He has for you. It is then and only then that whatever we do, whatever we amass, whatever we achieve will bear fruit for all eternity and not simply for the five minutes that we take up space on this planet.

   Does that sound like a sermon? Maybe. But I prefer to think of it as truth.

   Why do we do what we do?





The Naughty “E” Word: Earn


Once there were two young men who had two job interviews, each interviewing for similar positions – store managers at a reputable retail store selling sports, fitness and camping/hunting equipment. Each young man had similar skills and experience: a college degree in business and two years’ experience as assistant managers in retail. For each, the interview was going well and had reached the stage where the employer and the job candidate were about to discuss compensation.

“So,” the employer said to Bill, the first candidate, “what do you need in terms of salary?”

“Well,” Bill said, “I’ve done a little research in terms of what other managers with my background and experience generally start at in this region and it averages around $30,ooo a year with medical.” Bill paused. “Does that sound reasonable?”

“It does,” the employer answered. He and Bill shook hands. “Welcome aboard.”

The second candidate, Tyler, was asked the same question by the prospective employer.

“Well,” Tyler said, “I believe that I have the skills and experience to do this job better than most other people.”

The employer raised an eyebrow.

“So,” Tyler handed the employer a slip of paper, “I’m thinking about this.”

“Hmmm,” said the employer, reading the paper. “65 – 70 thousand dollars and medical.” He stuck out his hand. “Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be in touch.” (He won’t.)

What’s the difference between these two men?

About thirty years.

It’s not that Bill is thirty years older than Tyler but rather that Bill’s interview happened about thirty years before Tyler’s. Now granted, $30k was worth far more in 1986 than it is today, but it would probably not have been worth more than about $45k today.

Now, I wish I could say that Tyler is simply a somewhat egotistical young man who has a rather over-blown sense of his worth and that his behavior is rare but – I can’t. What many employers are finding these days is that our society seems to be pushing the idea that we deserve compensations we haven’t actually earned. I see this viewpoint all too often emanating from students who believe that they deserve a high grade or a promotion simply because they’ve done some work – regardless of the quality of it. And, having seen this entitlement attitude morph over the years in society at large, I have to believe it’s the byproduct of social promotion in schools, scoreless sports’ games (so that no one feels badly), and even “automatic” grades in universities.

If you’ve never heard of “auto grades,” it’s a trend sweeping colleges and universities where professors don’t dare to give any student less than an above-average grade, again, regardless of work done – or not. This trend has been forced on higher education by students’ parents who feel that because they’re paying “big bucks” for tuition, their children are entitled to receive good grades; these parents have brought tremendous and angry pressure on universities, colleges and their instructors to give grades no lower than B’s. The sad effect has been a whole culture of people feeling entitled to all kinds of things: high grades, high salaries, promotions, automatic selection onto sports’ teams, government handouts, etc.

And let me be clear: this entitlement attitude is not limited to any particular racial or economic demographics; it’s unfortunately rampant in much of society.

Because I’m seeing a second generation of “socially promoted” students, this means that parents who were thus promoted are now teaching their own children what they learned from their own experiences: their children are “owed” spots on sports’ teams just because they tried out, kids shouldn’t have to study because it’s not “fun”, and educators and law enforcement alike should give passes on bad behavior just – well, because. After twelve years of this philosophy, kids take these expectations into the workforce. As a former employer in a small business, my husband and I would see employees who didn’t feel compelled to show up for work when hired or even to call and say that they weren’t coming in at all. And it was our job to “understand”. Unfortunately, we’re not the only business owners enjoying this problem; I hear about it from other employers all the time.

Nevertheless, will employers become softer on these entitlement attitudes among employees as older business owners retire and younger people are doing the hiring? If so, does this mean that job seekers feeling entitled to higher wages while doing less work will get them?

Probably not.

Statistics show that business owners tend to be more conservative in their thinking about expectations of employees and their work ethics than non-business owners. This means that even if it’s a 30-something doing the hiring, they’re probably still looking for someone who is reasonable in terms of starting wage, attendance at work, and effort once hired. In other words, even younger employers are not sympathetic to entitlement attitudes.

What does this mean to us if our goals include snagging that “dream job”? Maybe the best advice is to put ourselves in the prospective employer’s shoes when asking for anything. How? Consider two questions: What would an employer feel is reasonable and fair? What does research show about what is reasonable and fair? If an employer is only offering compensation that research shows is not what the market reflects to be the norm, then maybe we don’t want to work for that person after all. But, if we do decide to take the position for less pay, then we need to keep in mind that no one forced us to take the job when thereafter tempted to complain about the pay or workload. On the other hand, if research shows that we’re being unreasonable in terms of our expectations of pay and/or job requirements, then we have two choices: adjust our entitlement attitudes or keep looking for a position which can accommodate them.

If choosing the latter, good luck with that.