Back when I was in my late twenties and early thirties, I worked as a bookkeeper at a local unit of a restaurant chain. Part of my job entailed keeping employee records--payroll, absences, vacations, etc.
One afternoon, one of our high school employees, a young lady--oh, let's call her Paris-- didn't show up for work. Paris's direct supervisor, thinking that Paris may have just forgotten, called her house. Paris's mother answered the phone and said that Paris couldn't come in to work because she wanted to go to the football game. When the supervisor said that it was company policy to find a replacement if a day off was wanted, Paris's mother replied, "What's the big deal? It's only a part-time job." One of the biggest disservices a parent can do to a child, is to fail to teach them today's "R" word--responsibility.
Unfortunately, many children make it to the teen years without having learned this concept. Over the years, I have worked with many adults who also missed that important lesson. They expect employers to cater to them. I have dealt with many people who talk to their employers something like this: "I'm going to be two hours late on Thursday because it's my husband's niece's daughter's first birthday, and I need to have off all day Friday because my friend is in town. I can't work on Tuesday because that's the day my sister decided that we're going shopping." They would much rather tell a boss "no" than someone, anyone, else. What happened to, "Sorry, I can't go shopping because I have to work that day"?
Although I hated it at the time, my father stressed the importance of being responsible. Many times he would get to the phone before I did and would tell my employer, on my behalf, "Sure! She'll be right there." He would get off the phone and say, "Grab your work uniform. You just got called in." No matter what I had planned, my dad always insisted that my job took precedence. Yet for many people, a job is just a luxury.
A young girl who worked for me at a store I managed exemplified this. I explained that her job duties entailed working in front of the sales counter, so her job would be greeting customers, providing them with our product, stocking inventory and keeping the area clean. When she heard that part of her job would involve vacuuming, and watering the outdoor plants, she rebelled. " I'm not watering plants. Do you think I'm so stupid that it's all I know how to do? And what about vacuuming? I do enough of that at home. I'm not coming to work and vacuuming too!" Needless to say, we didn't keep her around long. I wanted her to be able to work in a place where she would only have to do what she wanted to do. I heard she got fired from her next job too.
Too often, people would "inform" me instead of "ask" me. I was taught to ask my employer if I needed a (rare) day off. Yet many times I would have employees who would say, "I won't be here next week because my family is going on vacation." Oh. Thanks for letting me know.
Gradually, I learned to be very specific when explaining "rules" to new hires. Believe it or not, because of experience I had to actually put the following in writing :
"Visible hickeys are not acceptable."
"Clothing must be free of holes and stains."
"Belly shirts are not to be worn and the midriff must not be exposed."
"Customers must not be able to see your underwear, including when you bend over."
"Employee is expected to be honest when filling in timesheets." [I had to include that because during a termination dispute a judge asked me why I never told the employee that she was not allowed to lie on her time card.]
"Employees are expected to be on time for their shifts." ("I don't see what the big deal is if I am late. It's not like we live in a big town.")
I have had acquaintances who have managed employees and many of them have the same issues. They are dumbfounded that people seem to have no clue how to be responsible at their jobs. People want to be paid for surfing the internet (" I don't have time to shop online at home so the only time I get to do my shopping is when I'm at work.") People want to be paid for their cigarette breaks. ( "I can't go more than an hour without a cig.") People want to be able to set their own hours without regard for what is best for the business. ("I can only work from 8:00 until noon, and then I have a 12:30 class, so I can come back at 2:00 and work for a bit but then I have another class at 4:00, and I need at least 20 hours per week. You can't meet the hours I want? Fine, then I'll go work for someone who wants good workers.") Good luck with that.
I have been very lucky in that most of the people I have worked with have been the responsible sort. They work hard. They understand that if someone pays you to do a job, you don't get to come to work and play Farmville. They sometimes (*gasp*) do things without pay, just because it's the right thing to do. They're always on time. They don't complain incessantly that the boss won't let them make personal calls at work. And guess what? They're the ones that the irresponsible people complain about. "That brown-noser! She got promoted again! I'm going to file a complaint."