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The  Greatest Generation


Author:   Glenn Shepard
Date:   March 4, 2014
Category:   Management



Unemployed men in line at soup kitchens in the 1930ís dressed better than many job applicants dress today.

Click here to watch an excerpt from the live interview.

Last week when I asked my 91 year old friend Bud if I could interview him about how he narrowly escaped drowning when his ship sank in WWII, he responded “I’ve been waiting 70 years for someone to ask”.


He enlisted to go to war when he was a teenager. When I asked how many of his buddies joined him, he replied, “All of them. That’s what everyone did back then”.


That sense of duty is one of many reasons Tom Brokaw labeled them as “The Greatest Generation”. They got just about everything right and were the best we’ve ever been.


They believed in respect for authority figures. When a young man wanted to propose, he first asked the girl’s father for permission. When they entered the work force, they didn’t call their boss by their first name. (Watch reruns of the “I Love Lucy” show and notice how Lucille Ball always called her boss “Mr. Mooney”).


They were loyal and believed in one job and one marriage for a lifetime.


They dressed up to go to work, to church (called their “Sunday best”), and everywhere else. Even men in line at soup kitchens wore suits, were clean shaven, and combed their hair and shined their shoes.


Kids were taught that children should be seen and not heard, and shouldn't interrupt adults when they’re talking. (As opposed to Generation Y, which has grown up with  their parents’ lives revolving around theirs). When kids said something inappropriate, they got their mouths washed out with soap.


Adults spoke like ladies and gentlemen. Not only did people not curse in public, but they didn’t use words like “pregnant” in public. When a lady needed to go to the restroom, she used a euphemism like “Excuse me while I go powder my nose”. (As opposed to Generation X, which will tell you exactly what they’re going in the bathroom to do).


Because they saw 25% unemployment during the Great Depression, they were financially responsible and incredibly disciplined. They learned delayed gratification and saved up until they could afford to buy things.


They knew their neighbors. “Face time” for them was actually visiting people, looking them in the eyes, and shaking their hand.


Men opened doors for women, and people said things like “Thank You”.


Sadly, they’re mostly retired now. But if you're fortunate enough to have members of this generation still working for you, hang on to them for dear life because God doesn’t make them like that anymore.


To Your Success,


P.S. For those Millennials who whine about even the slightest criticism, it was my generation, the Baby Boomers, that drove the divorce rate to 50%, made debt a permanent way of life, and became an over medicated generation that started going on talk shows to whine about our problems when we actually had it better than any prior generation. None of the succeeding generations is as tough as The Greatest Generation.



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