While I was in the grocery store today, two teenage workers who were stocking fruit were griping to each other about how much they hate their job. It wasn't hard to hear them, as they were making no effort at all to keep their conversation private. So while I was selecting my apples, I got to hear them complain how "bulls@&t" their job is, what an "idiot" their boss is, and how easy it was to get by with as little effort as possible.
I was thinking two things.
1) That's pretty stupid to do that right in front of the customers.
2) It's pretty sad that they're so disengaged.
I don't think there's anything unusual or wrong with a kid who doesn't exactly love his part time job. But a kid who's that negative about it, who's so brazen about his complaining, he's infecting the staff and even the customers around him. And I'd bet the money I spent at that store today that their attitude isn't remarkably different in the other areas of their lives.
What do you think those kids are like in class? Even if they're among the best students in the school, (they might be–I don't know), do they them seem like the kind of kids a teacher would be thankful to have in class?
What do you think they're like on the soccer team? Or in their clubs and activities? I wonder how they treat their friends.
I hear lot of students and parents complain about the seemingly arbitrary nature of college admissions today. They compare applicants at their high school and wonder how Stanford could possibly admit one but deny another whose test scores were 60 points higher.
But grades, test scores, and activities don't tell a college everything. There's a lot to be said about attitude.
Teachers are happy to write letters of recommendation for a student who never exactly set the curve in trig, but was pleasant and cheerful and always gave his best effort. The soccer coach always appreciates the kid who may not be a starter but who sets an example for the stars with his work ethic and attitude. Clubs and organizations love members who bring positivity and energy to the meetings even if they aren't in charge. Nice, positive, kids never seem to lack for friends, either. And colleges are always happy to add another kid with a good attitude to their freshman class.
So, how is your attitude?
Are you positive? Do you make classes, teams, activities and friendships better for other people because you're in them?
Or are you a complainer, someone who finds the negative, who focuses on the reasons not to like what you're doing, someone who drags others down with your negativity.
If you're the latter, maybe you need to be doing different things. Or you may just need a new attitude.