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Hiring Older Employees with Better Work Ethic

Updated on November 11, 2015

Some individual characteristics simply stand out when you teach a class. One characteristic that I have noticed over the past year as an IT instructor is that older workers have a higher standard work ethic. These workers feel that when you receive pay in exchange for services then you should show up to perform those services. Many younger workers do not share that attitude.

Younger workers seem to form the attitude that they are doing an organization a favor by agreeing to accept the organization's money. In other words, once hired by the organization, the organization owes them a paycheck whether the worker shows up for work or not.

How did I come to this conclusion? By observing students in my classes. Older learners show up for class every day, they complete assignments on time, and they study for tests. Younger learners, on the other hand, frequently cut class, do not complete assignments, and only pass exams when given the questions and answers. In short, younger students demonstrate the attitude that since they paid their tuition the college owes them a passing grade; along with assorted other "free stuff."

These students often complain that since they paid a certain amount of tuition that the college should provide them with everything needed to guarantee the student's success in the program.  They demand free textbooks, supplies, notebook computers, software, and whatever else they need.  They also feel that paying the tuition should guarantee them passing grades and that no effort is required on their parts.  They should be led by the hand through their programs and receive straight A's through the programs, graduate with honors, and be handed a high paying job on completion.

The purpose of a career college is to prepare learners to compete for entry into the workforce.  This preparation includes exposure to many skill sets and the programs are highly accelerated.  The learners are not expected to become experts in every topic covered but to demonstrate the ability become proficient at these skills when called upon

The habits that learners in such programs demonstrate are likely to carry over into professional life so when the learners demonstrate a tendency to cut class they will likely call off work regularly after graduation.  Older learners, on the other hand, demonstrate an entirely different ethic.  They show up for class every day, complete assignments when due, study for exams, and do not demand "free stuff."  They know the competitive nature of the workforce and hope to increase their marketability, not their level of entitlement. 

What are your thoughts?

I would love to know.


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    • Dumbledore profile imageAUTHOR

      This Old Guy 

      7 years ago from Somewhere in Ohio

      I think you hit the nail on the head. Many of these younger workers do not know what work is, however they know what money is and what they want. They feel they are entitled to whatever they want and the idea of working for what they want does not naturally come to them.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • eventsyoudesign profile image


      7 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      Good article. Why do you think that older people have a better work ethic? I know as someone who has worked for the past 30 years I have a different prospective on work than many of my younger co-workers. I believe they come from an era where they got pretty much everything they asked for and did not have to work for what they received. My younger counter parts are consistently late for work. They do only the amount of work they feel like doing. They know everything even when they do not. I just don't get it. Good article though. Teresa


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