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Lowered Expectations - Live Like a Mensch
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Live Like a Mensch

Lowered Expectations

The other day, while enjoying a nutritious, home-cooked lunch at McDonald's, I happened to pick up a copy of the Lafayette Journal & Courier that someone had left in my booth. Glancing idly through it, I discovered that J's and my optometrist had had to bring criminal charges against one of his employees for embezzling $50,000.

J and I both love this optometrist. Not only is he a pretty funny and cool guy, he works with us to maximize that pocket lint our vision insurance offers in exchange for new glasses. So we were both rather upset on his behalf to learn that he had an embezzler for an employee, who's only defense was (and I quote), "No one said I couldn't."

In talking this over, J mentioned that one of his doctors in Columbus had a similar issue. I suspect that doctor's offices have a more difficult time detecting embezzlers because it takes so long for insurance claims and patients to come through with money. I guess every doctor needs to have a really good accountant on call.

It also made me think back on my pre-teaching career. In all the relatively lowly jobs I held from high school through starting as a teacher, my bosses often seemed to think I was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I never thought of myself as any kind of model employee. I showed up, did my job, and called when I was sick. That seemed like the bare minimum to me. But my bosses would rave about my reliability. When I worked at the library in college, my boss pulled me aside one day to tell me how much she appreciated what I was doing. Considering the fact I'd called in sick four times in one semester (ahem), I couldn't understand what the heck she was talking about. Then I thought about the habits of a couple of the other library aides--one of whom didn't bother to mention he was starting the weekend early despite being scheduled to work on Friday. This apparently happened nearly every weekend.

I now understand that most bosses have lowered expectations: "She shows up on time, stays for her entire shift, and calls in at least an hour before she's due to work. I swear, If she doesn't embezzle $50,000 from us, I'm giving her a promotion!"

Apparently, showing up, keeping my hands out of the till, and actually communicating with my bosses put me in the upper echelon of employees, which makes me sad. (It also makes me feel better about my potential employment prospects if this whole writing from home thing doesn't pan out.)

The optometrist embezzler is probably never going to be able to repay the ridiculous amount of money she stole. I just hope my eye doctor has better luck or a more comprehensive background check with the next clerk he hires.

 

 

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Comments

 

miss_super_saver said:

With rise of the 'slacker' culture and 'failure to launch' children, this seems to be the result.

I went to high school with lots of poor kids with 1/3 of class from 'wrong side of the tracks' some ending up as gangsters. The principal did a fantastic and tough job instilling work skills on the kids:  late to class you get an hour detention after school which had no other transportation options to get home than walk miles, encouraging teen moms to finish school with a daycare center onsite and no final exam if you had fewer than 5 absences. Reading 'Bridges out of Poverty' was an eye opener to this middle class kid as I never viewed these 'work skills' as lacking until reading this book for social workers and charity workers. I was sad to hear of the retirement of this principal. I now wonder what's next for these poorest of kids without these kind of roll models.

November 26, 2012 3:23 PM

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