The Importance of Teaching Work Ethics

With rare exceptions, the reason for pursuing postsecondary education is to gain employment in a career that is fulfilling in both self-worth and net worth. Technology has inundated most vocations to the point that postsecondary education is essential to job performance in entry-level position and prerequisite to promotions into more advanced levels of employment. However, the most technically adept employee who possesses the knowledge base to excel in their chosen field will find themselves unemployed if they lack work ethics.

Often when I speak with employers who have hired my graduates in the past I enquire about their evaluation of the knowledge and competence of our graduates. I am interested to know what we need to do differently. Are they as computer-savvy as they need to be? Is there equipment that we need to teach to a greater detail? Early on I was surprised that these employers had no suggestions for any improvements or additions to our technical education. What they said to me was, "Teach them that it is important to come to work on time. Tell them that there may be days when they have to stay late." Teaching work ethics has become an integral part of our program. Having to instruct adults in these principles still seems somewhat strange to me because I learned them from my parents. I never heard my parents talk about work ethics but I never saw my parents oversleep and go into work late. The few, and by few I mean two or three, times my parents missed work they were not only sick, they were hospitalized. They did the housework and the yard work and they saw the jobs through to the end. If a neighbor's garbage can or morning newspaper blew up the street they went and got it and secured it in the neighbor's yard or put it in the neighbor's hand.

The concepts of work ethics are not difficult. Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there. Accomplish the necessary tasks to the best of your ability. Be aware of what is going on with your coworker and lend a hand if it is needed. In our present economy, jobs are not plentiful. This allows employers to be selective, passing over individuals who choose not to adopt a strong work ethic. As an instructor, my goal is to prepare individuals for employment in healthcare. Accomplishing this requires that I teach the principles of good work ethics.

Rita Waller

About Rita Waller

I am a respiratory care educator in a two-year associate degree program. I have over 30 years experience as a respiratory therapist and 17 years as an educator. I love both professions, but my passion is education. I do some on-line teaching, and I enjoy developing interactive tutorials.

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