Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Is It Because of Microwaves or Marriages?

Without question, this article addresses a subject that is rarely, if ever, discussed in the context it is presented. And it is a topic that may not put a smile on the faces of many. Notwithstanding, it is a major problem and it’s time to take the covers off of an issue that may be hurting us emotionally and economically, as well as many other ways that aren’t easily detected.

When you watch the news, it becomes apparent there’s some level of dysfunction in society. Yet, it’s possible to say it’s no one’s fault. In the early 80s we gained access to microwave ovens. It allowed us to prepare or heat food in an instant. What impact did that have on society? Before that, there was the late 60s. That is when divorce laws were changed to
no fault. Soon after, the divorce rate skyrocketed. What impact has that had on society and the workforce?

With the proliferation of microwaves, we can heat leftovers in 2 minutes and defrost and cook an entire meal in 15-20. This alone has made us demand quicker, faster and faster. While it seems that convenience should have created space for a greater quality of life, it may have had the opposite effect. Did I mention the Internet, cell phones, text & instant messages?

In addition, we have a divorce rate that is well over 50%. With a law that promotes no fault, marriage has become a haven for irresponsible behavior. With a union of 2 people and little regard for responsibility, people have come to believe divorce is a solution when things aren’t going as expected. And divorce has become so pervasive in society that it has struck fear in young children. At some point, every child is exposed to a schoolmate whose parents are going through divorce. The result is children live in fear that their parents will be next. Many of them fear the idea of marriage. 

The fear isn’t limited to children. Adults also know many friends and relatives who are divorced. This creates an unnecessary fear about commitment. Unfortunately, for many Americans, our identities have been shaped by this fear of divorce. As a consequence, there is a strong possibility that a fear of commitment in one area of life impacts the ability to commit in other areas.    

What do you get when you combine the need to have things fast with irresponsible behavior that may be afraid to commit? Perhaps you get news stories that focus on dysfunctions of society. Now, consider these are the same people working in every organization in the US. At any given moment, 50% of the workforce is in divorce proceedings or headed that way. By how much does that reduce their productivity when they are distracted by marital problems? Furthermore, people are accustomed to instant results. Does this promote shortcuts in the quality of work? Perhaps short cuts and employees who are unproductive because of distractions from divorce contribute to businesses becoming unprofitable. In turn, that results in companies laying off thousands of workers. 

Are we stuck with this? Will it get worse? Or is there something we can do about it?

While there is no silver bullet, there’s something we can do to take time to understand one another. With microwaves and no fault divorces, we are trained to expect things to quickly “just happen” without responsibility on our part to make it work. However, if we take time to get to know friends, family and coworkers, we will surely learn things about them we had not imagined. At the same time, really get to know your significant other before and during a marriage. Make it your responsibility to find out who the people are in your life. More importantly, do the same with your children. One of the greatest feelings is to know that someone took time to get to know who you really are. Who will you get to know today?

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.