While getting ready to drive my Wee One to school this morning, a story came on the news about a nurse on the East Coast who had been exposed to the Ebola virus through her work, but was balking at the 21 day quarantine, because she wasn’t showing symptoms and had so far tested negative. I don’t know all the details of the story, so I asked my mom a few questions (she’s got way more time to keep up with stuff like this than I do). She sent me the following news story:
Maine health officials said Tuesday that they are prepared to go to court to force nurse Kaci Hickox to comply with the state’s “voluntary” 21-day quarantine period for health care workers who have treated Ebola patients, as the nurse vows to defy the state.
Hickox, on Wednesday, told NBC’s “Today” that she doesn’t “plan on sticking to the guidelines” and is “appalled” by the home quarantine policies “forced” on her.
“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” she said, saying she’s in “perfectly good health.”
Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew earlier declined during a news conference to comment specifically on Hickox, who was confined against her will at a New Jersey hospital before traveling home to Maine. But Mayhew said her department and the attorney general’s office were prepared to take legal steps to enforce a quarantine if someone declines to cooperate.
“We do not want to have to legally enforce in-home quarantine,” she said. “We’re confident that selfless health workers who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect residents of their own country. However we are willing to pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers.”
Hickox’s lawyer insisted Tuesday that she was not under quarantine and said she was seeking time to decompress at an undistclosed location in Maine.
Hickox, who volunteered in Africa with Doctors Without Borders, was the first person forced into New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine for people arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport from three West African countries.
Hickox, who spent the weekend in a quarantine tent, said she never had Ebola symptoms and tested negative in a preliminary evaluation, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo were sharply criticized for ordering mandatory quarantines.
In Maine, a quarantine comes into play only when people have had contact with Ebola patients; others who’ve been to the three countries will be monitored, officials said.
On Monday, Hickox traveled from New Jersey to Maine, where her boyfriend is a senior nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Her boyfriend opted to leave Fort Kent to spend time with her during the quarantine period, officials said Tuesday.
If Hickox were to show Ebola symptoms, then her boyfriend and any others who had contact with her also would be subject to quarantine, Mayhew said.
The news of Hickox’s return to Maine swept across the town of Fort Kent and the university campus, which has 1,400 students.
Faith Morneault, a 19-year-old behavioral science student, said news that Hickox may be headed to Fort Kent had caused “a lot of panic” among students. But she said she understands her desire to go home.
“You can’t freak out in this situation. You have to understand it,” she said.
Another student, 20-year-old behavioral science major Kayla Michaud, said students also are worried because of the potential presence of Hickox’s boyfriend in the school community.
“If she’s in quarantine, is he going to be quarantined, because we don’t all want to be contaminated with the Ebola virus,” she said.
Not everyone was alarmed, however.
Paul Berube, who works at a local credit union, said he thinks some residents are “overreacting.”
“Listen, we don’t live in a Third World country. We have some of the best medical hospitals here. We’re prepared for it. We can’t stop living. We need to live one day at a time and just be happy,” said Berube, 58.
I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t she just voluntarily do the quarantine? What’s the big deal about three weeks if it means ensuring safety for yourself and the people around you? It’s 21 days!! (I would love love LOVE the idea of 21 days of peace, quiet, and solitude myself) I don’t get this sense of entitlement that seems to exist in society these days…and I probably never will. I’m not just speaking about this particular situation (I choose to believe that there are mitigating circumstances in this situation that the media and I aren’t privy to), but I’ve grown really fatigued with the general sense of entitlement that’s becoming more and more prevalent these days. If I hear one more person telling me that they DESERVE something (anything), I am going to scream or punch them in the face (likely both)…most of us need to learn that we don’t deserve a whole lot in life, and be a little bit more grateful for the things that do come our way. I wish I was just speaking about the teenagers that I see in a day, but I’m not…the adults walking amongst us are just as bad.
I will never tell someone that I deserve their respect – unless I’ve earned it. I won’t demand loyalty from those I work with – without first earning their trust and respect. I am not entitled to anything – and I’m bloody grateful when something good does come my way. Sometimes people at work will offer to do things for me because they figure that I’m entitled to it since I’m in administration – I’m always tremendously grateful, and I make sure to repay the favor tenfold…but I never embrace the idea that I am entitled to anything. It makes life better that way, you know that? When you are consistently expecting nothing, you are grateful for anything and everything that comes your way….and you are NEVER disappointed. Imagine being never disappointed? It’s kind of great. We all ought to try it more often.
I came across this article, and it is AMAZING!!! Entitled “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy“, it breaks down this whole current sense of entitlement thing perfectly. Let’s give it a look, shall we? (be sure to enjoy the pictures )
Say hi to Lucy.
Lucy is part of Generation Y, the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s. She’s also part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y.
I have a term for yuppies in the Gen Y age group — I call them Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs. A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.
So Lucy’s enjoying her GYPSY life, and she’s very pleased to be Lucy. Only issue is this one thing:
Lucy’s kind of unhappy.
To get to the bottom of why, we need to define what makes someone happy or unhappy in the first place. It comes down to a simple formula:
It’s pretty straightforward — when the reality of someone’s life is better than they had expected, they’re happy. When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they’re unhappy.
To provide some context, let’s start by bringing Lucy’s parents into the discussion:
Lucy’s parents were born in the ’50s — they’re Baby Boomers. They were raised by Lucy’s grandparents, members of the G.I. Generation, or “the Greatest Generation,” who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II, and were most definitely not GYPSYs.
Lucy’s Depression Era grandparents were obsessed with economic security and raised her parents to build practical, secure careers. They wanted her parents’ careers to have greener grass than their own, and Lucy’s parents were brought up to envision a prosperous and stable career for themselves. Something like this:
They were taught that there was nothing stopping them from getting to that lush, green lawn of a career, but that they’d need to put in years of hard work to make it happen.
After graduating from being insufferable hippies, Lucy’s parents embarked on their careers. As the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s rolled along, the world entered a time of unprecedented economic prosperity. Lucy’s parents did even better than they expected to. This left them feeling gratified and optimistic.
With a smoother, more positive life experience than that of their own parents, Lucy’s parents raised Lucy with a sense of optimism and unbounded possibility. And they weren’t alone. Baby Boomers all around the country and world told their Gen Y kids that they could be whatever they wanted to be, instilling the special protagonist identity deep within their psyches.
This left GYPSYs feeling tremendously hopeful about their careers, to the point where their parents’ goals of a green lawn of secure prosperity didn’t really do it for them. A GYPSY-worthy lawn has flowers.
This leads to our first fact about GYPSYs:
GYPSYs Are Wildly Ambitious
The GYPSY needs a lot more from a career than a nice green lawn of prosperity and security. The fact is, a green lawn isn’t quite exceptional or unique enough for a GYPSY. Where the Baby Boomers wanted to live The American Dream, GYPSYs want to live Their Own Personal Dream.
Cal Newport points out that “follow your passion” is a catchphrase that has only gotten going in the last 20 years, according to Google’s Ngram viewer, a tool that shows how prominently a given phrase appears in English print over any period of time. The same Ngram viewer shows that the phrase “a secure career” has gone out of style, just as the phrase “a fulfilling career” has gotten hot.
To be clear, GYPSYs want economic prosperity just like their parents did — they just also want to be fulfilled by their career in a way their parents didn’t think about as much.
But something else is happening too. While the career goals of Gen Y as a whole have become much more particular and ambitious, Lucy has been given a second message throughout her childhood as well:
This would probably be a good time to bring in our second fact about GYPSYs:
GYPSYs Are Delusional
“Sure,” Lucy has been taught, “everyone will go and get themselves some fulfilling career, but I am unusually wonderful and as such, my career and life path will stand out amongst the crowd.” So on top of the generation as a whole having the bold goal of a flowery career lawn, each individual GYPSY thinks that he or she is destined for something even better –
A shiny unicorn on top of the flowery lawn.
So why is this delusional? Because this is what all GYPSYs think, which defies the definition of special:
spe-cial | ‘speSHel |
better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual.
According to this definition, most people are not special — otherwise “special” wouldn’t mean anything.
Even right now, the GYPSYs reading this are thinking, “Good point… but I actually am one of the few special ones” — and this is the problem.
A second GYPSY delusion comes into play once the GYPSY enters the job market. While Lucy’s parents’ expectation was that many years of hard work would eventually lead to a great career, Lucy considers a great career an obvious given for someone as exceptional as she, and for her it’s just a matter of time and choosing which way to go. Her pre-workforce expectations look something like this:
Unfortunately, the funny thing about the world is that it turns out to not be that easy of a place, and the weird thing about careers is that they’re actually quite hard. Great careers take years of blood, sweat and tears to build — even the ones with no flowers or unicorns on them — and even the most successful people are rarely doing anything that great in their early or mid-20s.
But GYPSYs aren’t about to just accept that.
Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.” He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”
For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?” He says that “if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the ‘why,’ there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”
And since the real world has the nerve to consider merit a factor, a few years out of college Lucy finds herself here:
Lucy’s extreme ambition, coupled with the arrogance that comes along with being a bit deluded about one’s own self-worth, has left her with huge expectations for even the early years out of college. And her reality pales in comparison to those expectations, leaving her “reality – expectations” happy score coming out at a negative.
And it gets even worse. On top of all this, GYPSYs have an extra problem that applies to their whole generation:
GYPSYs Are Taunted
Sure, some people from Lucy’s parents’ high school or college classes ended up more successful than her parents did. And while they may have heard about some of it from time to time through the grapevine, for the most part they didn’t really know what was going on in too many other peoples’ careers.
Lucy, on the other hand, finds herself constantly taunted by a modern phenomenon: Facebook Image Crafting.
Social media creates a world for Lucy where A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open, B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation. This leaves Lucy feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to her misery:
So that’s why Lucy is unhappy, or at the least, feeling a bit frustrated and inadequate. In fact, she’s probably started off her career perfectly well, but to her, it feels very disappointing.
Here’s my advice for Lucy:
1) Stay wildly ambitious. The current world is bubbling with opportunity for an ambitious person to find flowery, fulfilling success. The specific direction may be unclear, but it’ll work itself out — just dive in somewhere.
2) Stop thinking that you’re special. The fact is, right now, you’re not special. You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet. You can become special by working really hard for a long time.
3) Ignore everyone else. Other people’s grass seeming greener is no new concept, but in today’s image crafting world, other people’s grass looks like a glorious meadow. The truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, and if you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others.
That equation up there really says it all….happiness = reality – expectations. I think that this is something that I (like most people, I imagine) have battled for years. I always thought that some parts of my life would turn out so differently than they have – and the disappointment of that has been quite crushing. On the other hand, some things have so wildly exceeded my expectations that I find delirious joy in them (I’m talking to you, my little Muppet child!! My job is pretty damn amazing, too! )…it’s all about the reality/expectations thing. I love what the author wrote about the bullshit that is the Facebook phenomenon…people, for the love of all that is holy, STOP BRAGGING ABOUT YOUR DAMN LIFE ON FACEBOOK, AND GET OUT THERE AND LIVE IT!!!!!!!!!!! ARRGGHH!! Okay. Rant over. Sorry.
The three pieces of advice for Lucy are great, and would serve all of us well: dream big, impossible dreams…those are the ones that end up changing the world; realize that while you may indeed be a special butterfly, that you live in a whole world FULL of butterflies, each one more special than the next…so be good to your fellow man (or woman), and realize that they are just as special as you are; and finally, ignore the goings-on of everyone around you. You do you — that’s more than enough.
PS: And stop acting like you’re entitled to anything. Be grateful, dammit!!!