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The Dangers of High Expectations and Instant Gratification

People often focus on money when comparing things: what it costs, the hourly wage, the monthly rent and so on. However, it's often just as important to consider what we expect and what others expect of us. Sure, we all like to get exactly what we want immediately, but do you really want to be the person facing those expectations?

Some major companies have recently announced their decisions to increase wages. This results in plenty of good publicity, but such news headlines seldom tell the full story. Employers are less vocal about their efforts to boost "productivity": cutting the total number of jobs by using automation and/or adding new responsibilities.

Higher pay doesn't mean much in the long run if you end up unemployed due to work-related injuries, extreme stress or layoffs. However, it isn't just employers' expectations that matter. Our own demands also make a big difference. They can affect business decisions or give a competitive advantage to companies that expect far too much.

There will be days when a restaurant takes some time to serve you, an online purchase doesn't arrive for a week, the checkout process is slow, a small business owner doesn't get back to you right away or your landlord delays an important repair. Think twice before you complain or write a negative review.

Excessively high expectations result in more stress, "on call" jobs and higher prices. Some people don't seem satisfied with a bargain unless everything happens quickly and perfectly. If they have their way, eventually the bargain no longer exists for anyone. This concept equally applies to products, services, labor and housing.

The culture of instant gratification affects us all in various ways. Perhaps your boss, client or tenant gets angry if you don't answer the phone right away. You can't take a vacation without checking for work-related messages every day. Constant mobile communication lets others interrupt and ruin any experience at any moment.

It becomes even more serious for some people. Companies pressure truck drivers to risk their lives to deliver on schedule. Businesses time workers' bathroom breaks. Employers and clients demand shorter deadlines. People rush to complete tasks and mistakes are made. Insignificant errors result in canceled contracts or the loss of employment.

Let's all try to be a little more understanding and reasonable. Sooner or later, instant gratification comes at the expense of safety and quality. No one is perfect, and everyone deserves some time for themselves. It isn't worth making ourselves or others suffer to earn more money, surpass a competitor or get those new jeans a day sooner.

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Posted September 2019 - (C) 2019