Wealth Shift: The Decline of Ethics in America
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Chapter 1
Our Workplace Has Changed Over The Past 50 Years

Whenever we talk about any evolution that has occurred in the workplace, it often helps if we can first demonstrate “where we were a while ago”, compare that to “where we’ve been recently”, and then compare that even further to “where we are now”. In order to do that effectively here, we will need to start with the basic premise that all working relationships are, in fact, contractual relationships – I will agree to do this, if you will give me that.

There is no question that workplace relationships have changed significantly over the past 50 years. Most notably, we have experienced a very serious decline in how deeply we care about anything but ourselves – a fact that becomes both obvious and compelling when we reduce to writing the implied terms inherent in the lifelong commitment contract of the pre-Baby Boomer era, compare that to the dual-income contract of the Baby Boomer era, and then compare that even further to the Gen X/Gen Y accelerated movement (also known as “job-hopping”) contract of today. As a result of the rapidity of these ideological changes, not only do workers of different ages experience a significant degree of difficulty in finding common ethical ground, but supervisors everywhere are particularly challenged by having to manage the inherent expectations, disappointments, and suspicions of three conflicting generations at once.

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