Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Going Back to Cali

(written on 10/10)

I'm in pain as I type this. My upper shoulder area was sore prior to going to bed last night and now it feels as if Jason Statham just kicked me in the neck. I guess I need a firmer pillow and not one you can fold and put in your pocket. Anyhoo, I'll get over it.

Last week, The Mrs. and I spent Sunday-to-Sunday in Carlsbad (San Diego), CA for her birthday. Not only did we have a great and relaxing time, I also slept much better than I did last night (the pillows were firm at the SeaPointe Resort)!

The one thing that I did gain even more perspective on, while vacationing there, was the value of hard work. I met and unofficially interviewed almost every housekeeping and maintenance employee at our resort. To hear them talk about the jobs situation in America was fascinating to me.

One person in particular that I met was a housekeeper named Caridad was from Mexico. She has been in the states for most of her adult life (I'm guessing she was mid-20's). I asked her, "if I were to move to Carlsbad, would I have a problem finding a job?"

She replied, "office job?"

"No, just a good job." 

"There are plenty of good jobs here, but a lot of people only want desk jobs."

Intrigued, I followed, "why is that?"

"I don't know. Americans don't like to sweat."

Of course, she followed that statement with a nervous laugh to try not to offend me. I wasn't offended at all. I knew exactly what she meant. American-born people tend to want things easy when it comes to the job. I remembered my days of working in a cell phone company's call center and seeing people complain about being "tied to the phones."

But, every other day at the resort, I watched a 50-something Hispanic woman rake even rows in the sand of a beach volleyball area. It took her 20-30 minutes to erase all of the footprints, but she did it and made sure that the rows were even.

I recall wanting some more towels for our bedroom and watching Caridad run to retrieve them. When she returned, I asked her why did she run and she simply replied, "to get them to you faster."

Really? Who does that?  Was it because I was nice to her and I spoke to her daily or just because she understands the real meaning of customer service?



Don't get me wrong. We all complain about our jobs at some point. Mainly over the people we deal with more so than the job, but we complain nonetheless.  I'm sure that even LeBron James wishes he could stay in bed late some days instead of going to the gym. Even a male photographer for Playboy Magazine probably gets tired of packing luggage to go all over the world for nude photo shoots.  Well, maybe I'm reaching there.

From the Filipino woman at the airport named Tess, who was very helpful, to the Pacific Islander Seapointe Resort front desk attendant named Olga, who had the most pleasant of attitudes, I learned something: I learned that we have people, born and raised, in this country capable of being hard workers. The difference between the U.S. and the places where these particular employees originated is the culture.

We don't teach the value of hard work like we once did. So many people have rapped/sang, ran/jumped and sex-taped their way to financial freedom that a lot of us just wait on our "big break" instead of creating it. Do you know how many kids that I know who want to be a singer/rapper, basketball/football player, reality star, etc.? A lot more than when I was in school, that's for sure.

The point that I'm trying to make is that people aren't born lazy. We're turned into lazy bums by enablers. We have companies (insert fast food restaurant here) who hire "warm bodies." Some companies could care less if you're nice to the customers.  They just need you to flip the burgers and take the money.

We have parents who do everything for their children. "Helicopter parents" who hover over their child and won't let him/her do anything on their own.  And then other people have to deal with their children once they become "adults."

We have the media who portray sluts, slackers and drunks as idols.  No need to have talent!  Just do something really stupid that people will talk about on Twitter.

Where did we go wrong? (Sigh)

I enjoyed our vacation in Carlsbad.  I hope that some day we'll be going back to Cali for another stay.  I not only enjoyed the weather and sights there, but I also learned that there are people in this country who still take pride in their work.

It's just that must of them weren't born here...

Are we too far gone as a culture to restore a hard-working attitude back into the U.S.?

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