Insta-gratification next?

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Here's a hypothetical for you. Let's say you're a busy nurse in a long-term care setting, and your supervisor wanders up and says, “Mrs. Jacobs in Room 203 really wants a cup of coffee. Could you take one to her?”

You almost say yes, because it's your boss and all, but come to your senses just in time. “Whoa there,” you reply. “Will I receive recognition for this selfless act that falls well outside my job description?”

“Probably not,” answers your baffled nursing director. “But she'll be very grateful.”

“Well, I'm afraid I'm too busy then,” you say, turning abruptly with an insincere “sorry.”

Sound far-fetched? The way things are going with this social media thing, I'm not so sure.

That's because I work with someone a wee bit younger than me, by about 3.5 decades. She claims that when teens these days post a photo on Instagram, they'll quickly delete it if they don't get enough ego-gratifying “likes.”

It has nothing to do with the quality or value of the content. They could be carrying a baby, a Rembrandt and a rare Lavender Albino Ball Python from a burning house. But if it doesn't immediately receive the desired approval, it will be purged.

So here's my grumpy-adult concern. Are we creating an impending pool of job candidates disinterested in doing anything without the sugar-rush of an adoring response?

If so, we're in big trouble, because this is the no-recognition profession. Not only do our people perform thankless, unseen acts of goodness about every 45 seconds 24/7, they're usually too humble to even talk about them.

Maybe when these self-absorbed job candidates come of age, someone will invent an employment search tool called Instagrat, where every posted position guarantees an instantaneous dopamine hit and roar of applause.

If that happens, you probably won't even hear about it. You'll be too busy happily delivering that cup of coffee to Room 203.