I received a lot of interesting feedback last week after I published an article about how various local politicians, business people, and former CAT employees felt as though they were entitled to certain actions and behavior from CAT.
On Friday (March 17), while Georgette and I were having dinner at a restaurant, we ran into a young man from the local Lebanese Community. He told us that he was laid off from CAT in August 2016. Georgette asked him how long he had worked at CAT and he said that he had worked there for more than eight years.
He said that after he was laid off, he immediately began searching for another job. Within a short period of time, he found a job at a manufacturing company in Wisconsin. He left his wife and children in Peoria and moved to Wisconsin to begin working at the new company. He sold his house in Peoria and purchased a house in Wisconsin. He told us that he was going to move his family to Wisconsin on Saturday, March 18.
When Georgette asked him if his seniority at CAT transferred over to the new company, he said no. He then followed up by saying, “You know, that’s just the way it is. I don’t have time to dwell on what I lost. I just need to keep moving forward.”
The man’s comments brought to mind something I wrote in last week’s article: “The opposite of an entitlement mentality is the strongly held belief that instead of someone owing you something, you owe it to yourself to go after what you want in life.”
It’s hard to imagine being forced to move to another state to work at another company and then selling your home, purchasing a new home, and then moving your family to the new state — all within seven months. But that option is always better than the option of incessantly complaining about your old employer, feeling sorry for yourself, waiting for someone to offer you a job, drowning out your problems with alcohol, or becoming so resentful and angry that you end up abusing your wife and children.
Concerning the prospect of drowning out your problems with alcohol and abusing family members, I ran into the wife of a local attorney last Wednesday (March 15). I asked her how her husband was doing and she said that his business is “booming.” She said that because of the CAT layoffs, he’s been overwhelmed with new clients who have hired him to represent them for their divorces, and to defend them against charges of abusing their spouses and for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Because I don’t handle those types of cases, I had no idea that the criminal defense and divorce business had picked up after the CAT layoffs. The news of this sudden increase in business brought to mind something else that I wrote last week:
All forms of entitlement thinking are dangerous and destructive. A sense of entitlement always leads to disappointment, resentment, anger, frustration, arrogance, complacency, and laziness. An entitlement mentality breeds helplessness and dependency and hinders a person’s ability to show appreciation and gratitude.
I’m not saying that it was only an entitlement mentality that led people who had been laid off from CAT to file for divorce and engage in criminal behavior. Generally speaking, people who allow their lives to fall apart because of a job loss have limited faith and coping skills. They don’t realize that every crisis should be looked at as an opportunity to develop new coping skills and to grow closer to God.
On Tuesday of last week (March 14), a gentleman posted the following comment to my article, which was posted on Adoration.com:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’” Matthew 25:34-36 (English Standard Version)
Is this passage from Matthew nothing but an ENTITLEMENT? Minimum wage and economic fairness ensuring everyone can live a safe and decent life void of terror and suffering are not entitlements. Your writing essentially argues for the entitlement of the rich and powerful to get even more rich and powerful at the expense of everyone else’s sufferings, which is NOT what Jesus would be advocating for.
The reference to a minimum wage and economic fairness will have to be addressed at another time, but the gentleman’s claim that the passage from St. Matthew proved that people who enter heaven do so because they are entitled to, was incorrect.
Those of us who were taught religion from the Baltimore Catechism learned in second grade that God created us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.
The people who were referenced in the passage from St. Matthew were welcomed into heaven because they did what they were created to do. They did not enter heaven because they were entitled to get into heaven. God rewarded them because they sacrificed and dedicated their lives to doing His will.
There’s a good reason why the Catholic Church emphasizes the importance of the “hour of death.” We are expected to know, love, and serve God until the moment of our death. There is never a time during our lives when we are finished doing God’s will. We’re not done until we breathe our last breath.
The article that I wrote last week was not an endorsement of the policies and practices of CAT. While I periodically write articles about individuals who have built multinational companies from scratch, those articles have always focused on the admirable qualities of the individual and how we can learn from or imitate those qualities.
There’s an old saying that “Success leaves clues.” Why wouldn’t we want to emulate certain qualities that have made other people successful?
I’ve never written an article that praised or held up as an example a multinational corporation whose primary purpose is to generate profits for its shareholders. That’s what CAT is and that’s what it will always be. The politicians, businessmen, and employees who work for CAT all knew this during the years that they were associated with CAT. They knew that the company could turn on them at any moment.
The point of my article was that once a company turns on a person or community, it’s up to that person or community to shake the dust off their feet and move on. It doesn’t do the person or community any good to repeatedly express rage over the company’s heartless behavior.
More on this topic next week.