Warning: if you are part of “Gen-Y,” I am giving you proper notice: you’re about to be devoured.
Just take a look at some of the recent comments received on the topic of Gen-Y in the workplace:
There is definitely a sense of entitlement and doing only what they deem they want to do, not what they need to do to grow the business.
Sarah, Retail Marketing Executive, Chicago, IL
The younger generation has not been equipped with the Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” They only learned the “do unto others” part.
Cherie, Healthcare Consultant, Mechanicsville, MD
Gen-Y is having a tough time because they expect a medal for everything. Remember, they got a trophy for losing the soccer game.
Sue, Financial Advisor, Washington, DC
Despite witnessing extraordinary exceptions with younger staffers at my client companies, I too have been known to occasionally grumble about Gen-Y’s inexperience and occasional lack of decorum:
I just want to slap that diaper-wearing, MBA-flashing, finger-pointing Holly. When I was cutting my teeth in the professional world, she was…well… cutting her teeth!
Randall Kenneth Jones, Naples, FL
Yes, I know that was not very nice but I had a weak moment.
As both of my Gen-Y children are in college now, and as I have nothing but the highest of hopes for their futures, allow me to put forward a slightly different spin on the those-darn-kids situation. Though many of us are more than happy to throw Gen Y under the bus—my question is: who was driving the bus in the first place?
Candidly, I don’t fault the youth as much as I fault their mentors. Rediscover Courtesy readers, Paula from Missouri and Anne from Arizona, were quick to put parents in the hot seat. And I agree—we raised Gen Y. But, at a certain point, our influence as parents is overtaken by peer pressure, pop culture, and the corporate cultures that collectively become the bus drivers of our children’s professional growth.
Though I have more than one example from my Gen-Y-Files of either improper or misguided behavior, I don’t fault the professional neophyte, I blame Senior Management.
It is management who hires and assigns responsibilities. Furthermore, it is management who is tasked with training, establishing accountability guidelines and, for want of a better term, providing and enforcing “rules of engagement.”
When management fails, does anyone calculate the cost to the company? Cost measured in time, resources, payroll, benefits and ultimately, lost corporate revenue due to the unchecked actions of a rogue novice employee?
As experienced business professionals, we “mature” business professionals must accept a more significant role in mentoring our young charges as they are playing an adult version of Follow the Leader. Not only is our country’s business future at stake, but our shareholders demand mature and skilled performance reflected in the bottom line.
I would remiss if I did not share my sincere apologies with Karen Richards, Elaine Cook, Marjorie O’Donnell and Ruth Baker who, through fault of their own, were faced with the daunting task of professionally guiding me through my “roaring 20s.”
Oh what a joy that must have been for each of you.
And though I am, quite ironically, a part of Generation Jones, the reality is no matter when we were born, we were all workplace newbies once.
On behalf of myself and RediscoverCourtesy.org, until next time, please watch your language.
Humorist, Editorial Writer, Speaker, and Entrepreneur Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of professional-courtesy initiative, RediscoverCourtesy.org, and the “confessional development” chronicle, AttackBunnies.com. His creative communications agency, MindZoo, is dedicated to the development of highly targeted and innovative written and visual communications for use across today’s wide spectrum of online and offline media.
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