I was in the dog park talking to a
gentleman who is Vice President of sales of a multi million dollar company in the US. I asked him if he experienced more difficulties with the companies youngest employees, (the millennials range in age roughly from age 28 and younger) then his generation X employees (ages 29-44 roughly) or even the Boomers (ages 45-63) ?
He said “No doubt, the millennials are very difficult to manage and their expectations are ridiculous. They usually want a starting salary of $100K a year when they have very little experience. It’s insane!”
I have been listening to a lot of clamor about this for sometime behind the closed doors of my office. Managers business owners, HR professionals, those in the DC area who work in high security/high tech companies and the like, grumble and protest about their painful experiences managing this age group as employees. I don’t see much in the literature about this topic yet it’s a HUGE problem in todays workforce. How did it happen that this age group became so very difficult and entitled?
Here are some of the other things I have heard:
“I’m sorry I don’t file”
“Umm I really need longer then one hour for lunch I need to work out”
“Does it matter what time I come Into work? It’s it more important that I get things done? Maybe it would be a good idea for me telecommute”
“I cannot work on Fridays”
The sheer sense of over self importance, harebrained expectations, negative attitude and vitriolic competition (females) with co workers are but a few of the big problems facing managers today. This age group has a very different set of challenges and issues that uproot at work then any other age group to date. The parents, mostly Baby Boomers, who raised these very bright, and tech savvy employees, “over gave” and “over shared” in parenting their children without much if any expectation in return. Often these parents were disrespected and mistreated by their children or might have felt confused as to why their child was so entitled? Not all, but most of this age group were handed everything to them rather then earning or working for whatever they wanted. The good old fashion way. It was a given that they had access to often the best experiences, privileges, education, and vacations as children and teens because the Boomers wanted to make it “easier” then it was when “they were kids”. I hear “I didn’t want my kid to work as hard as I had to”. You know the ones with paper routes at 5:00am or who worked on weekends to actually earn some money for their senior trip.
Because these parents wanted to “give more” they forgot to include the life lessons involved. Example: reciprocity. Unfortunately, a great many moral and emotional lessons were missed. Many of these millennials have an extensive amount of interpersonal difficulties. For example, negotiating conflicts at work. Now mind you I’m talking simple conflicts, that require some social skills and especially emotional tolerance. I treat this age group and it always catches me off guard when I need to explain why it’s important to “try and be respectful” to co-workers yes even if you don’t like them” Or “..this is your job, you are being paid to be there, probably not a good decision to just call off because you don’t feel like going into work because you were up until 3:00 am partying”.
Of course wanting to make your children’s life better then you is a wonderful gift. That being said, parents; please remember to teach your children what YOU learned. How & when your children demonstrate respect for you, your things, their things, their siblings and neighbors, will be a future predictor of how they treat others as adults, particularly in the workplace. If you can instill in them the following:
1. Money is earned. Should be saved and managed. Please assume you have no net if there is an emergency. Mom & Dad can’t bail you out forever.
2. Demonstrating appreciation and thanks goes a long way. It will help you more then you know and even make you more like able and invited back.
3. The universe doesn’t owe you anything. Your effort put in is a direct result of what comes out. Period.
4. Don’t expect to be given “a break” when you make a mistake and your being paid.
5. Have emotional boundaries. Not everyone wants to hear everything about you and your personal life.
No one cares that much anyway.
6. Use a filter when you talk.
7. Be kind even when you don’t feel like it.
8. Be on time.
9. If you have trouble with a co worker keep it to your self until you figure out how to handle it. Talking about that person will end up ruining your credibility.
10. Respect your parents on all holidays. Cards, small gifts, are expected. Because you are on your own doesn’t mean you get to not show the same love and respect that was shown to you.
I was in the dog park talking to a