Phlebotomic is a blog experiment that seeks to gather multiple perspectives around a common prompt, which is provided weekly.

Last week's prompt was "Beauty"...

This week's prompt is "Path"...

26 January 2009

Victory: A Moral One

Not failure, but low aim, is crime.
-James Russell Lowell

In sports, we often refer to a moral victory - one in which the accomplishment is not dependent on the final score or who crosses the finish line, but an intangible achievement that is worth celebrating. It could be an athlete who overcame insurmountable odds to just compete in the race, a lackluster team that showed signs of improvement and camaraderie, or a personal achievement in a losing team effort. But you won't find moral victory trophies or hall of fames, yet people still cling to these subjective victories. I'm all for moral victories - finding something positive when one exerts great effort, yet not winning the game or finishing first. BUT, we still need to recognize someone won the game and someone lost. 

As "millenials" or "Gen Y" or whatever you want to call a somewhat arbitrary age cohort recently entered the workforce, we heard complaints about this generation's work ethic. They are lazy, spoiled, entitled, and need constant recognition and praise. Many people say they need a pat on the back and a "thank you" just for showing up to the job they are paid to do. This group contends that the organization needs to accommodate their needs rather than the other way around. While I think that the older generation's complaint of the young's work ethic has persisted throughout time, I don't think that this is something we should ignore. Some people explain that this entitlement attitude comes from a childhood filled with "participation" ribbons and trophies, no grades in school, lowered achievement standards. I remember receiving several 6th, 7th, 8th place swimming ribbons - granted they were purple, brown, or black - but I got them anyway because I tried. We gave everyone an "A" or "B" or even avoided giving grades at all to avoid hurting a youngster's self-esteem. Yet when they entered the "real world" they noticed some people didn't get into college, or get a job, or close a business deal, or reach an objective goal - but! Which left them perplexed, agitated, and yes - defeated.
So I propose we promote personal growth, encourage group effort, recognize progress, avoid imposing goals on others, but also not fill our youth with unrealistic visions of a world with blue ribbons and trophies for everyone. Maybe then we can all share a moral victory.   

1 comment:

  1. So, if low aim is a crime...does that make me a criminal?

    Seriously, though, this rings true. It is in failure that I have often found my greatest lessons and in lack that I find the greatest blessing.