Rewarding Bad Behavior

In March, my husband and I were filing our taxes. The week before, we received an email from the firm we were working with, detailing exactly what was needed and imploring us to be on time to our appointment. They threatened not to do our taxes if we did not have everything in order. That morning, we had a 9:30 appointment. So did another gentleman; he beat us there by a couple minutes but his affairs were in disarray. He was furiously calling the credit union to obtain his interest statement and his wife for Lord-knows-what. So, when the next representative became available, Eric and I were confident we would be taken, especially since our paperwork had been so organized. WRONG! They allowed this man to FINISH getting his ducks in a row and made us wait another forty-five minutes until we were seen. So much for following instructions and being organized!

I am tired of living in a society where we constantly reward bad behavior. There are no consequences for anything anymore. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen a child misbehaving in public and the parent offering some sort of inducement for said child to behave. “If you sit down, we can get ice cream after,” says the do-nothing parent (as the child runs around the restaurant, disturbs other patrons, and almost knocks over the waitress with a plate of hot enchiladas). No! Get off your butt and either a) make your kid sit down or b) leave the restaurant. Now, this child believes she can misbehave and be rewarded for behaving. I know every child has his or her moments, but good behavior should be the expectation. If my sister or I misbehaved in a restaurant when we were old enough to know better, my parents would have gotten up and taken us outside.

Bad behavior is also commonly rewarded in the workplace. The hard worker gets more work while the slacker does less and gets the same pay. The exemplary employee’s reward is escalating expectations, leading to resentment and burnout. The slacker is better-liked because s/he is socializing rather than doing his/her job!

Finally, we live in a country that promotes bad behavior and laziness. Some of us work hard and have to support those who do not. I’m not trying to get political (for the record – I don’t identify with either party), and welfare has its merits in some cases. When I’m home from work and tired in the early evening, I sometimes watch JUDGE JUDY, which is a great show, by the way. There was a case that recently aired about a fellow who owed child support (he claimed he didn’t know what child support was even though he had been jailed for not paying it – you can’t make this stuff up), but he didn’t work because he was disabled. He collected disability and before that unemployment. Judge Judy was dumbfounded because he seemed able-bodied enough to father four kids. He said he had asthma. She laughed (I love this lady. She is like the judge version of my mom). I know asthma can be serious for some and I don’t have an MD, but this guy looked like he could work a desk job or in retail.

I am so sick of hearing about people who repeatedly scam the system while Eric (especially him) and I work hard and don’t live above our means!


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