What My Dad used to Say

All my life I have resisted the urge to say “things were different when I was growing up” or “young people these days are not as appreciative or hard-working as they used to be.”  I didn’t want to sound like my dad.  He held positions of leadership in local government, the military and a utility company and I always thought he sounded like he was being old-fashioned and cynical.  Besides, I just knew that when I grew up things would be different.  My education, sense of tolerance, and worldly view would outweigh any negative perspectives toward my younger generation.

I must confess however I catch myself doing that now.  And I am not alone.  A story inUSA Today summed up the feelings of hundreds of human resources professionals responsible for hiring and training the next generation of American workers.  We are slipping…

Not to mention the casual and entitled approach to the job search and interview process, HR people and managers agree that the Millennial (or “Gen-Y”) generation is showing less professionalism and etiquette issues.  of those asked, almost 38% agree that there is an increase in unfocused employees and almost 45% see a worsening work ethic.

But what is the problem?  Paul Davidson of USA Today points to the use of social media, smart phones and computers by people age 18-35 who literally grew up in cyberspace.  This overuse of quick blurbs and uncommitted dialogue has left Millennials socially-stunted.

Helicopter parents are to blame, too.  It is not unusual for a parent to take their over protectiveness and fanatical involvement from the school system to the workplace.  This parental shell is leaving a newer generation less risk averse and increasingly entitled.

In the book Generation Me author Jean Twenge points to Outcome Based Education as the major foster of narcissistic behavior.  From an early age, children are taught that they are special, entitled, and safe from competition.  As the theory goes, as long as you feel OK about it, you are OK.

As employers of this generation where does this leave us for the future?  I think some of these timeless principles from UCLA’s winning Coach John Wooden help in times likes these:
“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”
“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
“It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”