The incentive for hard work back in the days before affluence was survival. Upward mobility? That's a phrase we Baby Boomers didn't bump into until we heard it from our high school guidance counselors steering us into college. They did a good job at that. We became the first generation in America to attend college en masse.
All we knew was hustle. You either hustled or you were a pariah. No one would sit next to you at the Communion Breakfast.
Hustle, of course, is back. Actually, for any of us who has to earn a living it's standard. A client went through the ritual of apologizing one late Sunday evening with an emergency assignment. "Sorry to disturb you on Sunday." I have no idea why she said that. It was no longer professional etiquette. I didn't reply to that. All I did say was, "I will start on it right now."
This Labor Day I am honoring all my immigrant uncles who never complained about working so hard. In fact, they were jubilant about having work. All but the family drunk went on to purchase single-family homes. Unlike Millennials, we had concrete role models for how to go from absolutely nothing to the comforts of middle-class life.