It is now a public service campaign, an endearing ad for insurance and president Obama’s catch phrase, personal responsibility from doing well in school, to raising your kids, to paying your bills; it’s all anyone can say. People have long despised those on welfare, persons who seem to always be holding their hand out to the government, wanting them to do for them, and the recession has made it worse. Many did not agree with the bank bailouts, the auto bailouts, the mortgage bailouts; others think employment benefits should not be extended. Individuals think too many want to the government to provide them with everything food, housing, raise their kids, bail them out of bad decisions instead of them cleaning up their own mess, fixing their own mistakes. While that may all sound well and good, it’s the most unrealistic thing ever heard of particularly in the current climate; we preach personal responsibility in the absence of any other kind of responsibility, laying the burden for success or failure on the individual and the individual alone, too often blaming people for situations they did not create.

For example how are you supposed to be personal responsibility when you can’t even get a job to provide for you and yours? And how are you supposed to get a job when employers are getting away with ridiculous practices in the work place? Existing employees find themselves, all the sudden, in the unemployment line for anything, everything that is legal, done in your own home on your own time. And god forbid you are a college graduate just looking for work; CBS profiled 4 class of 2009 graduates than and now, a year later. The biology major, hoping to work in a lab, took an office job and now hopes to become a dentist; the psych and marketing major, looking for something in marketing, continues to work her minimum wage job at Best Buy to pay down thousands of dollars in student loans. She is lucky to have such a job, as most of the time minimum wage avoids hiring those with any college or a degree. The architecture major signed up for the Teach for America program, just to be employed; the history major, after a low paying internship, decided to go to law school.

How are people supposed to be personally responsible when they find themselves laid off, fired after more than a decade, when they look for work apply for hundreds of jobs, reinvent themselves even and still get nothing? It is a known fact among workers that the plight is worse for those in former fields; they won’t even bother to tell you, just look at your rèsumè, think what are you doing here and promptly throw it in the trash. Take a lesser job in the same field and you are potentially subject to the same fate; another employment deathtrap, what you were paid on your pervious job or the highest paying job in your work history. Employers will automatically assume that is what you want to be paid, regardless of if you applied for a job with a posted salary range.

Personal responsibility only extends so far you, the average Joe or Josephine, are responsible enough to visit your local unemployment office, library class, job placement center looking for assistance with rèsumè updates, interview skills, computer training, but you have little control over what happens when you get there. Individuals do not control the persons who work there that have no clue how to do what they are supposed to do, who give bad advice, who give wrong answers, send people on wild goose chases. What is the reward for personal responsibility, paying your bills on time, when oh wait- you did that and the credit card company hiked your payment and reduced your credit limit anyway. No one can avoid bank fees when they can’t even find a list of them at their website or be given them upon request. Because of new regulations and restrictions on banks, several of them are doing away with things like free checking, low balance account options. Laws were just enacted requiring the credit card companies to send out easily understood statements to card holders. Diligence and saving money only applies when there is something to save; thousands, if not millions, live in a modest home, decent apartment, drive a run of the mill car and are barely making ends meet.

In truth it is time for some professional responsibility; we cannot have personal responsibility without it. Yet we preach personal responsibility like the consumer, the general public, the average citizen is supposed to be some kind of know it all genius. We are looking at the consequences of a severe lack of professional responsibility as the housing crisis continues to have a ripple effect because instead of the sellers peddling adjustable rate mortgages informing buyers now when this thing adjusts it could triple or quadruple your payments, if your not prepared to handle that then this is not the loan for you, they said whatever they had to, to get them to sign on the dotted line. Congress just passed legislation that says mortgage papers must be understandable to the average person. We see it now on all sides of The Gulf disaster government officials who were not professionally responsible in giving drilling permits or regulating the recipients of permits, who were professionally irresponsible in handling the disaster to this point. We see a company operating on foreign soil that has shown incredible professional irresponsibility by cutting corners in order to make a profit.

We have gone way past a time for professional responsibility; no more employers saying come back in a week for an interview then, when the person shows up, saying we’re not hiring. Getting a job would no longer be akin to a bad lottery or Russian roulette; those getting hired would be capable of demonstrating that they are in tune with common sense and general knowledge. Applications would reflect business intelligence by not creating questions like the following: have you ever been employed here and/or filed an application “YES/NO,” because if the applicant marks either answer, no one can tell what they are indicating. People everywhere would know what they were doing because employers would have to rejoin the lost art of training employees; no more counter lackeys at your cellphone provider who can’t even transfer information from old phone to a new one. Succeeding at a job would no longer be a case of sink or swim in the deep end or flying blind.

Employees caught repeatedly screwing up would be fired; no more of these vacant vacuums that seem to fit the stereotype of drooling idiot or dumb blond bimbo. Gone would be the rude customer service people, daydreaming cashiers, store workers ignorant of the items or services sold; management staff, heads of organizations, services and businesses would be mandated to demonstrate knowledge of the industry. Out would be magazine editors that cannot even state they offer internships or tell interested up and coming’s of possibilities in the area; out would be bosses who never catch on to policies, procedures, unfamiliar with state and other regulations pertaining to the establishment they operate. With responsibility would come accountability not only for your work performance but that of those you manage. The Securities and Exchange Commission workers caught watching porn would have been fired along with their supervisors for not paying any attention to what was going on in the office, for not blocking adult material from government computers.

It is virtually inconceivable how businesses, organizations and entities have functioned the last 20 years doing almost none of the things listed, businesses who seem to pride themselves on losing your employment application, your product order, who are likely to tell you they have an item in stock, then when you show up to purchase it, apparently someone miscounted. Service organizations seem to glory in telling you one minute that you qualify for something and the next you don’t, are the first to lose your paperwork into a vortex seemingly meant just for such documents. Attitudes across the board being along the lines of people will always need X service or our product is so good we don’t need to worry irritating our customers, we don’t need to care if the papers get lost, care if the people working here exude stupidity over competence.

People have their hand out to the government so much not because they don’t want to take responsibility, but simply because they can’t. People are out there with their hand out saying I can’t get a job; give me welfare to feed my kids, keep my lights on, a roof over my head. People have their hand out to the government saying please, I have 2 minimum wage jobs and can’t keep the heat on; people have their hand out to the government saying please extent my unemployment benefits, give me time to get a job, the economy ate my last one. People are saying please Mr. Government I’m trying to keep my home help; one because that’s what experts everywhere are saying to do, and two they are pleading: I now owe more than my home is worth and it was the one thing I fought to have in life. People have their hand out to the government screaming do something this business, this service entity, is corrupt. It is high time for professional responsibility; that is the only way you can get a job, get a loan, pay your bills, provide for you and yours, something those in the responsibility pulpit refuse to admit and don’t want you to know.