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Are we rewarding people for their bad behavior?

Updated on January 8, 2010

A passenger ran to the security point in the airport. Her flight was about to depart. She went to the gate. The agent was about to close the door. She was put in business class because there was no time to have her sit in the back of the plane which she was assigned to.

Joe filed bankruptcy to avoid paying all the credit card debts. The family goes out frequently to the local restaurants and eat. They shop everyday instead of finding a job to pay the bills.

Jane is chronically late every day. She has been with the company for ten years now. She was never reprimanded.

A student received financial aids to go to college. As long as a C average is accomplished, the college expenses will be paid. The student went out and bought all these electronic items including a Wii. Then told all his friends about that.

Look at the banks in crisis. The government stepped in and bailed them out.

Jane was beaten by her boyfriend over the years of their courtship. This time, she called the police. Police came and asked if she wanted to file charges. She said, "No."

Jane has three children with her one boyfriend. She refused to identify that on their birth certificate, so she can qualify for government financial assistance. 


Disclaimers: It is not my intention to target any specific group of people nor to show my insensitivity, but to show the cause of the problems and its roots. As long as there is someone who would take the abuse, there is an Abuser.


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    • Kathryn L Hill profile image

      Kathryn L Hill 5 years ago from LA

      Robert Sloan (of two years ago: ) should refer to the title of this hub.... If he dares.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Thanks,fastfreta. You took the words out of my mouth, LOL.

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      tim-tim I totally see your point of view, and I agree. I actually fell into one of those categories and agree because I was allowed to do it I did it. If I was robertsloan2 I would have written a hub on his objections. He actually did write one here. Very good hub, I really enjoyed it.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      I am glad that you see my point,Denno66. Thanks for visiting.

    • profile image

      Denno66 8 years ago

      It seems as though rewarding bad behavior is the the norm and not the exception to the rule anymore. How sad, but it is a sign of the moral decay of our society; a shame. Wonderfully-written hub though. :-)

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Thanks for your comments,robertsloan2.

    • robertsloan2 profile image

      robertsloan2 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      A last note. I deliberately didn't address the banks in my last comment. Individuals can decide things for themselves. They can sort out what's going on in a bad situation and start working their way out of it, sometimes at terrible risks. Different dynamics apply.

      I feel a lot freer to judge large institutions and groups because this is not someone's personal life. Policies of large institutions have enormous consequences for thousands of people, their mistakes cost massive numbers of jobs and sometimes much worse. I respected the CEO who chose to take only a dollar a year in salary and benefits until he pulled his failing bank out of its problems.

      Most of them didn't do that. Most of the individuals responsible for those decisions write in golden parachutes for themselves and don't often face much in the way of consequences for careless or rapacious behavior that affects a lot of people.

      But it gets worse.

      In some large organizations if I looked close at who was responsible for what, the structure was so crazy that ultimately no one was responsible for anything and the company survives on sheer inertia as long as it's still got enough flow-through from the public.

      Most of the people who did have bad habits in the examples above are supporting the types of corporate shenanigans that led to those banks failing. The big messy complicated problem is how to unclog the country's economic arteries and make sure there's circulation in both directions. Enough redistribution systems that the money flows at a steady sustainable pulse and they don't burn down their own markets by beggaring most of the people who are their customers.

      If you want some good Hubs on economics and the ways large corporations and banks behave as they do, check out Hubs by pgrundy. I don't know the code for putting a link to someone's Hubs but she used to work for a large bank and has a fascinating, critical glimpse into why those banks failed and what unsustainable financial practices do to the economy.

    • robertsloan2 profile image

      robertsloan2 8 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      I don't think it's as simple as rewarding people for their bad behavior. Occasionally, people luck. Other times there could be more to the situation than meets the eye.

      Every one of the circumstances you describe could be the worst case of what you're implying -- or something completely different and sensible, even its opposite.

      No one could tell the difference without knowing the people. The kid who spent some of his financial aid package on electronics could well be doing a lot of online research. The bankruptcy people might have been advised by a financial counselor to limit their entertainment budget and stay within a budget. The lady who didn't put her abuser's name on the birth certificate is protecting those kids -- the abuser also has no legal ground to stand on to get custody.

      People who commute have a route and a schedule that doesn't always suit that of the workplace. But if someone is late consistently for ten years and didn't get fired, the company is used to when she comes in and what she does when she's there. Any manager or supervisor would be more likely to respect it if she just explained about that bus route the first time it happened.

      Most of the situations described in this Hub are bad situations that people are in. It's not normal or average for someone who's in financial trouble or personal trouble or a bad relationship to be able to suck it all up, suddenly recognize everything they've done to date is wrong and end all their bad habits on one glorious day of insight.

      Alcoholics don't even do this. They may bottom out and decide to quit drinking, but if they've been sober for eight years they are aware that next week or today they could fall right back into it.

      What happens with credit and a great number of people is that they do spend, push it to the limit, respond to all the social pressure to consume -- and then an unexpected big expense tips over their lives.

      It's very rare and takes enormous character for people to face their personal troubles when they're chronic. You never know everything that's going on. Most of them have reasons that they're not going to be able to just stop everything and do only what you, outside the situation, think is the right way to deal with it.

      You can't tell who's looking for work or not. You can't tell the difference between a fat person breaking a diet and a diabetic fat person eating a brownie to stave off diabetic shock -- every diabetic I have met in my life has to keep candy at hand in order to have it at need the same way asthmatics carry inhalers.

      Look at the amount of willpower involved. It's like telling an alcoholic "Okay, you absolutely have to quit drinking or it'll kill you. With this one exception. You need to carry this one can of beer with you at all times and if you get sick with these symptoms, drink it immediately and don't have another one."

      The only way to help someone in trouble is to give them a chance to talk about it in detail and listen patiently while they work out how to handle the situation.

      I think a lot of times people expect the impossible out of most people. Expect amazing levels of self discipline and instead when anything goes wrong, start fault-finding on whoever the unlucky person was. No one plans to be late to an airport.

      Someone who showed up late to flights to try to get business class without paying extra would wind up missing flights a lot more often than they lucked.

      What I criticize is the idea that if anyone has any trouble in life, the first thing people do is look for some reason why they deserve it, so that you don't have to look at what would happen if you lost your job. That one catastrophic illness in the family could wipe out most people. Relocation expenses add to the debts a lot more than a restaurant meal.

      I think one of the biggest vices in this country never gets called on -- its tendency to Puritanically criticize anyone at any time for perceived flaws if they show the slightest weakness.

      Think about how hard it is to say to people at work who are suggesting that everyone go out together since it's Friday night, "No, that's not on my budget. We're trying to buy down our credit card debt and can only eat out once a month, I'd rather spend that one night at a restaurant with my wife, she's been patient all month too."

      Imagine the looks on their faces.

      Good behavior gets punished just as heavily.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Thanks for your comment,meganbarlow.

    • meganbarlow profile image

      meganbarlow 8 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I fully agree - awarding people for bad actions or non productivity is one of the primary roots of most of our problems. Politically, financially, and frankly, internationally.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Well said,Paradise7! Thanks for the comment. At least now I don't feel like I am the only one who thinks that way.Thanks for reading my hub.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      It was a short hub but packed a punch, especially for Americans. You're right--people get away with too much here in our society; then we all whine about the eventual consequences.

      It's disheartening, too, for all the good people who get to work on time and put in a full day's work; for all those people who are responsible citizens and mothers; for all those people who live up to their responsibilities, to see everyone getting away with everything, with no apparent consequences except to us all, much later on.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Thanks James A Watkins. It is my pleasure:)

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      I dig what you are saying. And thanks for mentioning my name in your other Hub. I am honored. :-)

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Thanks, GoldiString. Isn't that the truth?

    • GoldiString profile image

      GoldiString 8 years ago

      As long as there is someone who would take the abuse, there is an Abuser.

      - definetly agree with this. Nice hub Tim.

    • profile image

      Michael 8 years ago

      You have great insight. We must all do the right thing.


    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Thank you katyzzz and Robert. I want to be objective and make my point. Thanks for reading it and give me the support I much needed!

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 8 years ago

      Great hub. It is so sad ther are so many who abuse the system. I once was in the grocery store and the lady in front of me was paying for some of her groceries with food stamps. Normally this would have gone unntice by me but I knew she had a good paying job and her husband was one of my co-workers. go figure.

      Robert Ballard

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Point well made and true, tim-tim.

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 8 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Thanks creativeone59 & jiberish. I am glad that you both see the point. For a moment, I had second thought about writing this and did not want to create a controversial debate. Thanks for your support!

    • jiberish profile image

      jiberish 8 years ago from florida

      The people who are the enablers are more at fault. Good Hub.

    • creativeone59 profile image

      benny Faye Douglass 8 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

      Yeah, I get your point, people should be responsible for their actions, and not advantage of others in the process of doing wrong. thank you for a very good hub. creativeone59