Point/Counterpoint: Participation trophies are for the weak/Thank me for my service!

The following are essays penned by Jason Wiseman, a mid-level logistics coordinator for a major corporation and former Army Air Defense Artillery officer who served five years in the active force during the late 1990s.

Point: Participation trophies are for the weak

By: Jason Wiseman

In today’s snowflake society, everyone wants something for nothing and gets their feelings hurt every time they don’t get a pat on the head just for showing up. And showing up is all most millennials are capable of, while the few that actually do good work expect a brass band and a televised address telling them how amazing they are. I’m sure your parents threw you a parade every time they remembered to flush the toilet, but this is the real world, sweetheart, no one is going to give you a trophy for your perfect attendance record.

Doing your job doesn’t make you a special unique little snowflake—it makes you a member of the team, a cog in the wheel and we, as a society, need to stop pretending that doing what you’re paid to do means you deserve a cookie. In the real world, no one cares about where you came from, what you did before, or who your parents are. It’s all about what you bring to the table and how you contribute today. So maybe spend a little less time whining and telling stories about how things were at your last job and focus on the here and now. If the younger generations spent half as much time working as they spend shamelessly fishing for “likes” on Facebook and Instagram and whatever Tik Tok is, then maybe they would make an actual impact. No one wants to hear that, though, so instead these kids will continue to spend this time sitting in their “safe spaces” crying into a pile of participation ribbons while the world moves on without them.

Counterpoint: No one thanked me for my service on Veterans Day

By: Capt (Ret.) Jason Wiseman

I’m immensely saddened, heartbroken even, that on November 11th, Veterans Day, no one adequately thanked me for my service. I mean, some people did stop by and say “Happy Veterans Day” or “thank you for your service,” but not that many, and no one from my corporate leadership team. Plus, saying thank you is the absolute least someone can do.

All veterans are heroes and I feel like we’ve forgotten that as a society, so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised that no one dropped off a card or made an announcement or anything else remotely appropriate for my level of sacrifice. I served for five years and, while I never deployed, I was ready to put my life on the line every single day if called upon.

I also come from a long line of veterans including my grandfather who was in WWII, which makes this non-acknowledgement even more of a slap in the face. I’m honestly super low-key about my service, so I guess some folks may not have realized that I’m a veteran, though most people figure it out based on my haircut, my use of knife hands, and all the stories I tell about stuff we did out at NTC. I posted about the whole thing on Facebook and a lot of the people who liked and commented on my throwback profile picture of me in uniform also totally agree that I deserve better.

People seem to think this National Defense Service Medal earned itself but I’m here to tell you that it came with a lot of early wake ups, training in the rain, time away from friends, and a whole host of other hardships I endured.